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8:45 AM ET, August 21, 2012


 Top Items: 
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Akin 44 McCaskill 43  —  Missouri voters strongly disagree with the comments Todd Akin made about abortion over the weekend, but it hasn't moved the numbers a whole lot in the Senate race.  Akin leads Claire McCaskill by a single point, 44-43.  That's basically identical to our last poll …
Alexander Burns / Politico:
Exclusive: Akin ad asks for ‘forgiveness’  —  Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin has recorded a television ad asking for “forgiveness” from the voters of his state and acknowledging that he used “the wrong words in the wrong way” when he suggested last weekend that rape rarely leads to pregnancy.
TRENDING: First on CNN: GOP prepares tough anti-abortion platform  —  Tampa, Florida (CNN) - The Republican Party is once again set to enshrine into its official platform support for “a human life amendment” to the Constitution that would outlaw abortion without making explicit exemptions for rape or incest …
Meredith Shiner / Roll Call:
Missouri: What Happens If Todd Akin Drops Out  —  (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)  —  If Rep. Todd Akin (R) does drop his Missouri Senate bid within the next 24 hours, as the GOP establishment is pressuring him to do, at least his timing will be impeccable.
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.
Evan McMorris-Santoro / Talking Points Memo:
Todd Akin Launches 'I'm Not Quitting' Ad Campaign  —  Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) has launched an online fundraising drive pegged to his pledge not to leave the Missouri Senate race, despite mounting pressure from broad swathes of the Republican and conservative establishment urging him to step down.
Clock ticking for Akin as GOP urges him to withdraw after rape comment  —  (CNN) — The Missouri GOP Senate candidate under fire for his controversial comments about rape plans to pursue his bid for office despite calls to withdraw.  —  Todd Akin faces a Tuesday deadline to withdraw from the U.S. Senate race in Missouri.
Allahpundit / Hot Air:
Hannity to Akin: You know you could cost us the Senate, right?  —  Via BuzzFeed, it's important that people like Hannity, Coulter, and the boss emeritus are leaning on this guy too, not just Romney and Reince Priebus.  Without pressure from all-stars on the right, he can dig in and turn it into a …
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 …
James Hohmann / Reuters:
Tampa platform's 5 flashpoints  —  TAMPA, Fla. — Mitt Romney's motto during two days of marathon meetings here to craft the 2012 Republican platform could be: Do no harm.  —  In order to keep the peace, his team must concede some things to the conservative base.
Discussion: CNN
Pam Belluck / New York Times:
Health Experts Dismiss Assertions on Rape  —  Representative Todd Akin's assertion that women who are victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant provoked outrage across the political spectrum, but the views he articulated are far from new in anti-abortion circles.
Alexander Burns / Politico:
Crossroads pulls out of Missouri after Akin comments
Allison Hantschel / Firedoglake:
Late Night: On Legitimacy, Or Why Akin's Comments Weren't (Just) About Rape
Discussion: CBS News and Washington Post
Team Obama spent more than it raised in July, falls behind Romney in cash-on-hand
Chris Christie / CNN:
Christie says ‘I was right’ about Romney's VP pick
Discussion: Politico
Romney calls Akin's comments on rape indefensible
New York Times:
Romney Gains Huge Cash Advantage Over Obama  —  Mitt Romney's cash advantage over President Obama and the Democrats more than doubled in July, as intense Republican fund-raising and heavy spending by Mr. Obama and his allies left Mr. Romney and the Republican National Committee with $62 million …
Aaron Blake / Washington Post:
Romney grows cash advantage on Obama  —  Mitt Romney extended his cash edge over President Obama in July and entered the final three-plus months of the campaign with about 50 percent more in the bank than the incumbent president.  —  Romney led Obama in cash on hand at the end of July $185.9 million …
Ryan J. Reilly / Talking Points Memo:
Justice Department Approves Va. Voter ID Law  —  The Justice Department approved changes to Virginia's voter ID law Monday, suggesting there is a way forward for such laws — even in states that must have election laws pre-cleared under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act …
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
Emily Schultheis / Politico:   Justice Dept. clears Virginia voter ID law
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.
New York Times:
Phyllis Diller | 1917-2012: Phyllis Diller, Sassy Comedian, Dies at 95
Discussion: Mother Jones and Boing Boing
Toby Harnden / Daily Mail:
EXCLUSIVE: Obama ‘cancelled missions to kill bin Laden THREE TIMES after getting cold feet - until Hillary Clinton stepped in’, claims explosive new book  — Leading from Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him will be published on Tuesday
Jammie Wearing Fools:   Book Says Obama Deferred to Valerie Jarrett Over Whether To Go After bin Laden: ‘Obama feared taking responsibility’
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.
Steve Benen / The Maddow Blog:
The post-truth campaign continues apace
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
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 More Items: 
Isabel Kershner / New York Times:
Israeli Teenagers Held in Attack on Palestinian Youths
Audit-The-Fed Language To Make GOP Platform
Discussion: Business Insider
Alicia Mundy / Washington Wire:
Rabbi Shmuley Gets Boost From Adelsons
Caitlin McDevitt / Reuters:
Kelsey Grammer praises Mitt Romney
 Earlier Items: 
Michelangelo Signorile / The Huffington Post:
An Open Letter to Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council: Let's Talk About Hate
Discussion: The Daily Dish and Joe. My. God.
Byron Tau / Politico:
Report: NBA gives more to Romney than Obama
Discussion: The Fix, Mediaite and The Caucus
Sandy Shore / Associated Press:
Alexis Levinson / The Daily Caller:
Shock poll: Obama could lose Illinois