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5:20 PM ET, August 20, 2012


 Top Items: 
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 …
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 editor Erick Erickson report.
Noah Bierman / Boston Globe:
Scott Brown calls on Akin to drop out of Missouri Senate race  —  In a rare intra-party rebuke, Senator Scott Brown called on Missouri Representative Todd Akin this morning to withdraw from the US Senate race in his state, after Akin made controversial remarks on 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.
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.
Mitt Romney Said In 2007 He Would Be “Delighted” To Sign A Bill Banning All Abortions Nationally  —  The Romney campaign released a statement criticizing Missouri Republican Senate nominee Todd Akin: “Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin's statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration …
Garance Franke-Ruta / The Atlantic Online:
A Canard That Will Not Die: ‘Legitimate Rape’ Doesn't Cause Pregnancy
Republican Source: Akin Moving To Withdraw
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Sarah Kliff / Associated Press:
Rep. Todd Akin is wrong about rape and pregnancy, but he's not alone
Evan McMorris-Santoro / Talking Points Memo:
Todd Akin: 'I've Not Yet Begun To Fight'
Kaili Joy Gray / Daily Kos:
Todd Akin clarifies he's on the same page as Paul Ryan on ‘forcible rape’
Family Research Council Backs Akin
Devin Dwyer / ABCNEWS:
Democrats Tie Ryan, Romney to Akin as ‘Dangerous’ for Women
Discussion: GOP 12 and ABCNEWS
Byron Tau / Politico:
Obama: ‘Rape is rape’
Ian Millhiser / ThinkProgress:
How Todd Akin And Paul Ryan Partnered To Redefine Rape
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 …
Niall Ferguson / The Daily Beast:
Newsweek Cover Rebuttal: Paul Krugman Is Wrong  —  The liberal New York Times blogger objected to ‘multiple errors and misrepresentations’ in this week's Newsweek cover story on Obama's record in office.  Author Niall Ferguson rebuts the charges.  —  You know you have hit the target …
J. Bradford DeLong / Brad DeLong:
More Lies from Niall Ferguson: Fire-His-Ass-Now Department  —  Niall Ferguson writes: … The “But” at the start of the second sentence in the quote tells readers two things: (i) that Obama has violated his pledge—that he promised that the ACA would not increase the deficit, but that it did …
Discussion: Economist's View
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 …
Discussion: The Daily Dish
Paul Krugman:
Unethical Commentary, Newsweek Edition
Matthew O'Brien / The Atlantic Online:   A Full Fact-Check of Niall Ferguson's Very Bad Argument Against Obama
Trip Gabriel / The Caucus:
Ryan Dips Into Foreign Policy  —  GOFFSTOWN, N.H. — Since Representative Paul D. Ryan was named the vice-presidential nominee, his schedule has included briefings on foreign policy with a top aide to Mitt Romney, with the Republican Party sensitive to the charge that neither man on the ticket has extensive national security experience.
Discussion: Washington Post and Election 2012
Obama says tax return fight 'isn't overly personal'
Discussion: Politico
Byron Tau / Politico:
Obama campaign wants to see Romney's ‘secret plan’ on Afghanistan
Discussion: CNN and GOP 12
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.
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: Towleroad News #gay
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 …
The Chronicle of Philanthropy:   America's Generosity Divide
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: 
Sandy Shore / Associated Press:
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
Henry I. Miller / Forbes:
Joe Biden's Gaffes Call For A Thorough Neurological Examination
Discussion: Hot Air and The Daily Caller
Campbell Brown / Slate:
Confessions of a Romney Wife
 Earlier Items: 
Los Angeles Times:
‘Top Gun’ director Tony Scott jumps to his death from L.A. bridge
Discussion: L.A. NOW and
Manu Raju / Politico:
Donald Trump gets ‘surprise’ convention role
Discussion: Hot Air and Outside the Beltway
Exclusive: GOP scolded after drinking, nudity in Israel