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9:50 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.
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.
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 …
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.
Chris Christie / CNN:
Christie says ‘I was right’ about Romney's VP pick  —  (CNN) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was rumored to be a potential V.P. pick for Mitt Romney, gave new details Monday on the moment he learned his name would not appear on the ballot as Romney's running mate.
Discussion: Politico
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.
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
Washington Post:
Todd Akin rape comments prompt GOP to pull campaign funding, calls to exit race
Noah Bierman / Boston Globe:
Scott Brown calls on Akin to drop out of Missouri Senate race
BuzzFeed:
Todd Akin Says He Won't Drop Out
Discussion: The Raw Story
Sarah Kliff / Associated Press:
Rep. Todd Akin is wrong about rape and pregnancy, but he's not alone
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
J. Bradford DeLong / Brad DeLong:
More Lies from Niall Ferguson: Fire-His-Ass-Now Department
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.
RELATED:
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:   Obama campaign holds $123 million in cash
Reuters:
Obama campaign spent more than it raised in July
Discussion: Hot Air, The Fix and Weasel Zippers
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
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 …
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 …
Rosie.com:
my heart attack  —  while walking in a parking lot in nyack  —  “can u help me?  she asked again  —  as i walked toward her  —  “oh u r rosie odonnell”  —  yes i am  —  the ghost of christmas future  —  me - if i did not wake  —  there r no accidents i thought  —  as i braced myself and lifted her
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.
BuzzFeed:
Audit-The-Fed Language To Make GOP Platform  —  Ron Paul makes himself heard.  Romney scores victory on wind tax credits.  —  Image by RICHARD CLEMENT / Reuters  —  TAMPA, Florida — Ron Paul may not be taking the stage here next week, but his impact will certainly be felt in the Republican Party's platform.
Discussion: Business Insider
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.
BuzzFeed:
Exclusive: GOP Platform Draft Strongly Defends “Traditional Concept Of Marriage”  —  Attacks Obama administration for failing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.  An olive branch, but no policy, for gay Republicans.  —  Image by SCOTT AUDETTE / Reuters
Discussion: Daily Kos, Advocate and Election 2012
 
 
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 More Items: 
Alicia Mundy / Washington Wire:
Rabbi Shmuley Gets Boost From Adelsons
Discussion: Algemeiner.com
NOM Blog:
The National Organization for Marriage Announces Success of Starbucks Protest
Caitlin McDevitt / Reuters:
Kelsey Grammer praises Mitt Romney
Kate Wiltrout / Virginian-Pilot:
Obama calls for compromise to head off military cuts
Discussion: Politico and Weasel Zippers
Byron Tau / Politico:
Report: NBA gives more to Romney than Obama
Discussion: The Fix, The Caucus and Mediaite
BuzzFeed:
House Republican Hijinks Embarrass The Ticket
Discussion: Booman Tribune
David Leonhardt / Economix:
The 14 Potential Causes of the Income Slump
Discussion: The Atlantic Online
 Earlier Items: 
New York Times:
Majority in Poll of New Yorkers Say Police Favor Whites
Jamelle Bouie / Washington Post:
Why Romney keeps lying about Obama and welfare
Byron Tau / Politico:
Obama campaign wants to see Romney's ‘secret plan’ on Afghanistan
Discussion: CNN, The Hill, Daily Kos, USA Today and GOP 12
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