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9:00 PM ET, August 20, 2012

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 Top Items: 
David Taintor / Talking Points Memo:
Reports: Akin Advisers Make Preparations For Withdrawal Tomorrow  —  Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin's advisers are making preparations to withdraw from the race Tuesday, GOP operative Richard Grenell and RedState.com editor Erick Erickson report.
Discussion: Donklephant and Daily Kos
RELATED:
Robert Costa / National Review:
Romney: Akin's ‘Inexcusable’ Comment  —  In a phone interview this morning, Mitt Romney told National Review Online that Representative Todd Akin's recent comment on rape is “inexcusable.”  —  “Congressman's Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,” Romney said.
Alexander Burns / Politico:
Crossroads pulls out of Missouri after Akin comments  —  The conservative outside-spending powerhouse Crossroads GPS is pulling its ads from the Missouri Senate race, three sources confirmed to POLITICO.  —  The group had originally booked a new round of ads to start Wednesday but began canceling them earlier today.
National Review:
Step Aside, Todd Akin  —  Representative Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senator from Missouri, became nationally notorious yesterday for saying something stupid.  In the course of explaining why he believes abortion should be illegal even when pregnancies result from rape …
Tony Perkins / CNN:
Leading social conservatives rally to Akin's defense  —  Tampa, Florida (CNN) - While much of the Republican universe spent Monday condemning Missouri Senate hopeful Todd Akin for his comments about “legitimate rape” and abortion, one of the nation's most prominent conservative organizations rallied to his defense.
Michelle Malkin:
The Todd Akin mess  —  Ugh.  —  Over the weekend, GOP Rep. Todd Akin — the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Missouri — said some really, really stupid things.  (Twitchy has comprehensive coverage.  Click here and keep scrolling.)  —  There's no sugar-coating or whitewashing this.
BuzzFeed:
Republican Source: Akin Moving To Withdraw [UPDATED]  —  The controversial candidate is “taking concrete steps.”  UPDATE: Another Republican close to Akin says he's “in the campaign.”  —  Rep. Todd Akin, left.  —  Image by Orlin Wagner / AP  —  Missouri Republican Todd Akin …
Discussion: The PJ Tatler and The Daily Caller
Maggie Haberman / Politico:
Family Research Council head defends Akin  —  From POLITICO's James Hohmann in Tampa: … The officials at SBA List have also reportedly defended Akin, setting up a dynamic in which the party's conservative base is protecting the staunchly pro-life candidate.
Washington Post:
National GOP pulls funding from Todd Akin's Missouri race  —  National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-Tex.) informed Rep. Todd Akin on Monday that the national GOP will not spend money to help elect him to the Senate after Akin's controversial comments about “legitimate rape,” according to an NRSC aide.
Noah Bierman / Boston Globe:
Scott Brown calls on Akin to drop out of Missouri Senate race
Chris Christie / CNN:
Christie says ‘I was right’ about Romney's VP pick
Discussion: Politico
Sarah Kliff / Associated Press:
Rep. Todd Akin is wrong about rape and pregnancy, but he's not alone
BuzzFeed:
House Republican Hijinks Embarass The Ticket
Discussion: Booman Tribune
CNN:
Obama says tax return fight 'isn't overly personal'
Discussion: Politico
RealClearPolitics Video Log:
Hannity Urges Akin To Consider Dropping Out In Interview With Him
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit and Twitchy
BuzzFeed:
Todd Akin Says He Won't Drop Out
Discussion: The Raw Story
James Fallows / The Atlantic Online:
As a Harvard Alum, I Apologize  —  Yes, I know, you could imagine many sentences that would follow that headline.  But here is what I have in mind right now: A tenured professor of history at my undergraduate alma mater has written a cover story for Daily Beast/Newsweek that is so careless …
RELATED:
Dylan Byers / Politico:
Niall Ferguson's ridiculous defense  —  Niall Ferguson's selective edit of the CBO report on Obama's Affordable Care Act.  —  Niall Ferguson, author of this week's Newsweek cover story calling for Obama's ousting, has returned fire on Paul Krugman — albeit in a ridiculous, misleading …
Matthew O'Brien / The Atlantic Online:
A Full Fact-Check of Niall Ferguson's Very Bad Argument Against Obama  —  A counterfactual history of the past four years.  —  Celebrity historian Niall Ferguson doesn't like President Obama, and doesn't think you should either.  —  That's perfectly fine.  There are plenty of legitimate reasons to disapprove of the president.
J. Bradford DeLong / Brad DeLong:
More Lies from Niall Ferguson: Fire-His-Ass-Now Department
Discussion: Economist's View
TMZ.com:
Phyllis Diller Dead — Legendary Comic Dies at 95  —  Dead at 95  —  EXCLUSIVE DETAILS  —  Comedian Phyllis Diller — who paved the way for today's female comics — died this morning, TMZ has learned.  —  Sources close to Diller tell us the comedian died in her sleep at her L.A. home, surrounded by family.
Discussion: BuzzFeed and Towleroad News #gay
Glenn Thrush / Politico:
POLITICO e-book: Obama campaign roiled by conflict  —  President Barack Obama's campaign team, celebrated four years ago for its exceptional cohesion and eyes-on-the-prize strategic focus, has been shadowed this time by a succession of political disagreements and personal rivalries that haunted the effort at the outset.
Michelangelo Signorile / The Huffington Post:
An Open Letter to Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council: Let's Talk About Hate … FRC SPLC , FRC Tony Perkins , FRC Hate Group , FRC Shooting , Family Research Council , Family Research Council Southern Poverty Law Center , Family Research Council Tony Perkins , Family Research Council Hate Group …
Discussion: GLAAD and The Daily Dish
RELATED:
BuzzFeed:
Family Research Council Backs Akin
Mackenzie Weinger / Reuters:
Study: Red states more charitable  —  Red states give more money to charity than blue states, according to a new study on Monday.  —  The eight states with residents who gave the highest share of their income to charity supported Sen. John McCain in 2008, while the seven states …
Alexis Levinson / The Daily Caller:
Shock poll: Obama could lose Illinois  —  President Barack Obama could lose his home state of Illinois in November, a new poll shows.  —  A poll conducted by Illinois-based pollster and political strategist Michael McKeon found Obama leading Republican Mitt Romney by 49 percent to 37 percent in Cook County, the home of Chicago.
Greg Sargent / Washington Post:
Obama to media: Romney's whole campaign is based on lies  —  In a surprise appearance before reporters at the White House just now, Obama made a striking, if perhaps long overdue, charge: He pushed back on GOP claims he's running a dirty campaign by arguing that Romney's entire campaign is based on flat out lies.
New York Times:
In Congress's Paralysis, a Mightier Supreme Court  —  WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court does not always have the last word.  Sure, its interpretation of the Constitution is the one that counts, and only a constitutional amendment can change things after the justices have acted in a constitutional case.
Caitlin McDevitt / Reuters:
Kelsey Grammer praises Mitt Romney  —  Actor Kelsey Grammer gave Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney his vote of confidence in a recent interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  —  Asked if he supports Romney, Grammer told the paper, “Oh, I think he'd make a terrific president.”
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
An Unserious Man  —  Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate led to a wave of pundit accolades.  Now, declared writer after writer, we're going to have a real debate about the nation's fiscal future.  This was predictable: never mind the Tea Party, Mr. Ryan's true constituency …
 
 
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 More Items: 
BuzzFeed:
Exclusive: GOP Platform Draft Strongly Defends “Traditional Concept Of Marriage”
Discussion: Daily Kos and Advocate
Kate Wiltrout / Virginian-Pilot:
Obama calls for compromise to head off military cuts
Discussion: Politico and Weasel Zippers
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
Obama campaign holds $123 million in cash
Discussion: Reuters and Weasel Zippers
Byron Tau / Politico:
Report: NBA gives more to Romney than Obama
Discussion: The Fix, Mediaite and The Caucus
Jamelle Bouie / Washington Post:
Why Romney keeps lying about Obama and welfare
Trip Gabriel / The Caucus:
Ryan Dips Into Foreign Policy
Discussion: Washington Post and Election 2012
 Earlier Items: 
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
Obama engages White House press corps for the first time in weeks
Eugene Volokh / The Volokh Conspiracy:
$60,000 Verdict for Blogging the Truth About A Person Intending to Get Him Fired — Reversed
Discussion: The Other McCain
Campbell Brown / Slate:
Confessions of a Romney Wife
Jane Mayer / New Yorker:
SCHMOOZE OR LOSE … - PHOTO BOOTH - DAILY SHOUTS …
Discussion: News Desk and Prairie Weather