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11:00 AM ET, July 18, 2012


 Top Items: 
How The Romney Campaign Decided To Take The Gloves Off  —  Surrogates will bring up cocaine, Fast and Furious, and ties to Blagojevich, one aide says.  What Romneyland is thinking.  —  Image by Win McNamee / Getty Images  —  IRWIN, Penn.  — Standing before hundreds of roaring partisans …
National Review:
Release the Returns  —  Mitt Romney is steadfastly resisting calls to release additional years of his personal tax returns, arguing — not without good reason — that this demand is part of a fishing expedition by the Obama campaign, which hopes to exploit Romney's personal wealth …
Thomas M. Defrank / NY Daily News:
Medal-winner in Mitt Romney veep stakes won't be known until after Olympic Games  —  Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and ex-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty head list of likely running mates  —  WASHINGTON — Kicking the vice presidential sweepstakes into overdrive, Mitt Romney Tuesday announced …
Discussion: ABCNEWS, Outside the Beltway and GOP 12
Alexander Burnsand Maggie Haberman / Politico:
Conservative elites club Mitt Romney  —  In case you hadn't noticed, there are some on the right who are less than wild about Mitt Romney.  —  The former Massachusetts governor has at times been the subject of withering criticism from conservatives since he started his presidential campaign.
Discussion: CNN, Taylor Marsh and
Wall Street Journal:
Romney's Ticket Talk Is Heating Up
Discussion: BuzzFeed and Guardian
Americans view Romney's campaign more unfavorably than Obama's
Discussion: Politico and Politicker
Kate Zernike / New York Times:
Christie Balancing National Ambitions With Governorship
Discussion: GOP 12 and Washington Wire
Daniel Halper / Weekly Standard:   Star of Pro-Obama Super PAC Ad Unleashed: ‘Obama Is a Jerk, a Pantywaist, a Lightweight, a Blowhard’
New York Times:
Attack Kills Syrian Defense Minister in Damascus  —  BEIRUT, Lebanon — President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law and Syria's defense minister were killed on Wednesday when a suicide bomber attacked a crisis group of senior ministers and security chiefs meeting in central Damascus, according to state television and activists.
Bomb kills Syrian ministers at heart of Assad rule
Washington Post:   Intense fighting rocks Syrian capital, fueling perceptions of a turning point
Isabel Kershner / New York Times:
Israel Says Syria Pulls Troops from Golan to Suppress Revolt Elsewhere
Discussion: and Israel Matzav
Andrew Malcolm / Investor's Business Daily:
Memo to Dem press secretary: Probably best not to imply GOP billionaire is a pimp  —  When Jesse Ferguson showed up for work yesterday as a Democrat press secretary on Capitol Hill, he found a three-page FedEx letter waiting.  —  It was from someone named Lewis R. Clayton.
Las Vegas Sun Blogs:
Adelson to DCCC: Retract your “Chinese prostitution money” comments or I'll sue  —  In a scathing letter to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Sheldon Adelson's lawyer accused the organization of “maliciously branding Mr. Adelson as a pimp” and demanded the DCCC either retract and apologize or be sued.
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
Romney donor Adelson threatens to sue DCCC for libel
Tim Mak / Politico:
Nancy Pelosi: Democrats should skip the convention  —  House minority leader Nancy Pelosi says that Democratic members should stay home and campaign in their districts rather than go to the party's national convention in North Carolina.  —  “I'm not encouraging anyone to go to the convention …
Josh Margolin / New York Post:
Christie keynote tip  —  The word is going out quietly to Republican activists across New Jersey: If you're going to the GOP convention in Tampa next month, be sure to be there by Tuesday night, Aug. 28, because Gov. Chris Christie is going to be giving the keynote speech that night.
Maggie Haberman / Politico:
Christie reportedly eyed for RNC convention keynote
Christopher Kolk /
Anthony Weiner Shares a Family Photo  —  What's next for former New York congressman Anthony Weiner?  Baby's first birthday, of course.  —  “I'm very happy in my present life,” Weiner, 47, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive interview.  “The only next dramatic steps I'm planning on are Jordan's first …
Josh Gerstein / Politico:
Obama jobs panel lays low  —  President Barack Obama's Jobs Council hasn't met publicly for six months, even as the issue of job creation dominates the 2012 election.  —  At this point, the hiatus — which reached the half-year mark Tuesday — might be less awkward than an official meeting …
Rush Limbaugh:
The Batman Campaign?  —  RUSH: Have you heard this new movie, the Batman movie, what is it, The Dark Knight Lights Up or whatever the name is.  That's right, Dark Knight Rises.  Lights Up, same thing.  Do you know the name of the villain in this movie?  Bane.  The villain in The Dark Knight Rises is named Bane, B-a-n-e.
Associated Press:
Arpaio: Obama birth record ‘definitely fraudulent’  —  PHOENIX (AP) — Investigators for an Arizona sheriff's volunteer posse have declared that President Barack Obama's birth certificate is definitely fraudulent.  —  Members of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's posse said in March …
Javier Manjarres / The Shark Tank:
Wasserman Schultz Has Unreported Second Home in NH, Lives Large on the High Seas  —  DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and President Barack Obama's re-election campaign team have been waging a coordinated effort against Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney by repeatedly casting aspersion …
DNC Head Gets Heckled At Synagogue Rally
Discussion: Israel Matzav and Weasel Zippers
Pete Kasperowicz / The Hill:
Reps. Ron Paul, Barney Frank join forces to back bipartisan medical marijuana bill  —  A bipartisan group of House members has proposed legislation that would make it easier for people to defend themselves in federal cases for possessing marijuana, if they can show that they are using marijuana …
Gene Healy / Reason:
Obama Descends into Self-Parody  —  It's time for the president to give his hope-and-change act a rest.  —  After much soul searching, Barack Obama has figured out where his presidency has gone wrong—and he shared it with CBS's Charlie Rose and viewers across the fruited plain Sunday morning.
Jonathan Weisman / New York Times:
Senate Democrats Propose Letting All Tax Cuts Expire  —  WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats — holding firm against extending tax cuts for the rich — are proposing a novel way to circumvent the Republican pledge not to vote for any tax increase: Allow all the tax cuts to expire Jan. 1 …
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 More Items: 
John Kass / Chicago Tribune:
Who else, Mr. President? … When President Barack Obama hauled off …
Discussion: Betsy's Page
Syria: Now is the decisive battle, Muslim Brotherhood says
Matthew Yglesias / Slate:
Did Mitt Romney Take the 2009 Swiss Bank Account Amnesty
David Boroff / NY Daily News:
Possible serial foot-licker in custody after police bust 49-year-old Anthony Parri for …
Discussion: Mediaite and Riehl World View
Quinnipiac University:
More Virginia Voters Back Out-And-In UVA President, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds …
Discussion: Politico
Chas Sisk / In Session:
County GOP chapters circulate resolutions condemning Haslam
Greg Mankiw / Greg Mankiw's Blog:
Harry Reid's Wardrobe
Discussion: The Glittering Eye
 Earlier Items: 
Michael Barone / Washington Examiner:
Obama believes success is a gift from government
Discussion: Power Line
Jordy Yager / The Hill:
Ethics Committee launches probe of Dem Rep. Robert Andrews
New cyber espionage virus found targeting Iran