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12:50 AM ET, August 21, 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:
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 …
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.
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.
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 …
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 …
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.
CNN:
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 …
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.
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
Manu Raju / Politico:
Piers Morgan calls Todd Akin ‘gutless little twerp’  —  An angry Piers Morgan lashed out at Todd Akin for skipping a scheduled interview on his primetime cable news show Monday night, calling him a “gutless little twerp.”  —  According to Morgan, Akin backed out at the last minute …
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.
Pam Belluck / New York Times:
Health Experts Dismiss Assertions on Rape
CNN:
Team Obama spent more than it raised in July, falls behind Romney in cash-on-hand
Allison Hantschel / Firedoglake:
Late Night: On Legitimacy, Or Why Akin's Comments Weren't (Just) About Rape
Discussion: Washington Post and The Fix
BuzzFeed:
Republican Source: Akin Moving To Withdraw [UPDATED]
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Michelle Malkin:
The Todd Akin mess
Evan McMorris-Santoro / Talking Points Memo:
Todd Akin Launches 'I'm Not Quitting' Ad Campaign
Discussion: The Fix, Hot Air and Show Me Progress
Noah Bierman / Boston Globe:
Scott Brown calls on Akin to drop out of Missouri Senate race
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:
Aaron Blake / The Fix:
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 …
RELATED:
New York Times:   Romney Gains Huge Cash Advantage Over Obama
Reuters:
Obama campaign spent more than it raised in July
Discussion: Politico, The Hill 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.
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
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
RELATED:
Jammie Wearing Fools:
Book Says Obama Deferred to Valerie Jarrett Over Whether To Go After bin Laden: ‘Obama feared taking responsibility’
Discussion: Cold Fury
Emily Schultheis / Politico:
Justice Dept. clears Virginia voter ID law  —  The Department of Justice has cleared Virginia's new voter ID law to take effect for the November election.  —  The new law — labeled a “strict non-photo identification law” by the National Conference of State Legislatures …
Discussion: CNN
RELATED:
Ryan J. Reilly / Talking Points Memo:   Justice Department Approves Va. Voter ID Law
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.
RELATED:
Steve Benen / The Maddow Blog:
The post-truth campaign continues apace
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.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Isabel Kershner / New York Times:
Israeli Teenagers Held in Attack on Palestinian Youths
BuzzFeed:
Audit-The-Fed Language To Make GOP Platform
Discussion: Business Insider
Alicia Mundy / Washington Wire:
Rabbi Shmuley Gets Boost From Adelsons
Discussion: Algemeiner.com and Israel Matzav
NOM Blog:
The National Organization for Marriage Announces Success of Starbucks Protest
New York Times:
In Congress's Paralysis, a Mightier Supreme Court
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
Byron Tau / Politico:
Report: NBA gives more to Romney than Obama
Discussion: The Fix, Mediaite and The Caucus
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