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2:55 PM ET, October 15, 2012


 Top Items: 
Mark Halperin / The Page:
Moderator Role Under Scrutiny — Before the Debate  —  In a rare example of political unity, both the Romney and Obama campaigns have expressed concern to the Commission on Presidential Debates about how the moderator of the Tuesday town hall has publicly described her role, TIME has learned.
Amie Parnes / Ballot Box:
Obama to be ‘firm but respectful’
Discussion: ABCNEWS and CNN
Dylan Byers / Politico:
Candy Crowley: 'I'm going to react' at debate
Discussion: Gretawire, Mediaite and Althouse
Washington Post:
Presidential contest tight nationally ahead of second debate  —  On the eve of their second debate, President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney remain locked in a virtual dead heat nationally, with Republicans showing increased enthusiasm for their nominee after his big win in the first debate …
James Hohmann / Politico:
Battleground Poll: Mitt more likable  —  Mitt Romney is finally getting his Sally Field moment: They like him.  At least more than they used to.  —  President Barack Obama clings to a 1-percentage-point national lead in a head-to-head matchup with the GOP nominee, but the first presidential debate …
David E. Sanger / New York Times:
Jihadists Receiving Most Arms Sent to Syrian Rebels  —  WASHINGTON — Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups …
Jackson Diehl / Washington Post:
How Obama bungled the Syrian revolution
Marc A. Thiessen / Washington Post:
The new Middle East coverup: Biden caught in Syria debate falsehood
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
Oct. 14: Breaking the State-National Poll Stalemate  —  For the last week or so, we have been hoping to decode a confusing polling landscape.  President Obama still appeared to hold a narrow Electoral College lead on the basis of state-by-state surveys, while national polls were suggestive …
Tommy Thompson's son calls for sending Obama back ‘to Kenya’  —  Jason Thompson, the son of former Gov. Tommy Thompson, was caught on video Sunday suggesting at a Republican event that voters this fall could send President Barack Obama back “to Kenya.”  —  “We have the opportunity …
Wisconsin Senate Candidate's Son Says We “Have The Opportunity” To Send Obama Back To Kenya
Wall Street Journal:
Jackson Is Subject of Criminal Probe  —  Federal prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are in the final stages of a criminal probe into allegations that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. misused campaign money to decorate his house, according to people familiar with the matter.
Natasha Korecki / Chicago Sun Times:
Report: Jackson allegedly improperly used campaign money to decorate home
Discussion: Jammie Wearing Fools
Greg Sargent / Washington Post:
How Romney can win — and how Obama can avoid it  —  One thing Obama urgently needs to prevent during tomorrow's debate is this: He can't allow Mitt Romney to become the candidate of change in this race.  And that may be in the process of happening.  —  In an interview this morning …
Laura / Democracy Corps:   Getting to the bold policy offer winning now requires
Igor Volsky / ThinkProgress:
Top Romney Surrogate Says Romney ‘Should Be Exploiting’ Libya Incident For Political Gain  —  Top Mitt Romney surrogate Rudy Giuliani admitted that the GOP is accusing President Obama of covering up the violence that led to the death of an American ambassador in Libya for political gain.
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Giuliani: White House ‘trying to cover up this scandal’ in Libya until after election
Daniel Strauss / Ballot Box:
Poll finds Akin with slight lead over McCaskill  —  Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) leads Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in his bid for the Senate by a slim margin, according to a new poll.  —  Wenzel Strategies, a Republican leaning pollster, found Akin leading McCaskill 49 to 45 percent with 7 percent undecided.
Discussion: Mediaite
Jim Rutenberg / New York Times:
Gary Johnson Libertarian Candidate Worries Republicans  —  When he was running for the Republican presidential nomination last year, Gary Johnson, the former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico, drew ridicule from mainstream party members as he advocated legalized marijuana and a 43 percent cut in military spending.
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Death By Ideology  —  Mitt Romney doesn't see dead people.  But that's only because he doesn't want to see them; if he did, he'd have to acknowledge the ugly reality of what will happen if he and Paul Ryan get their way on health care.  —  Last week, speaking to The Columbus Dispatch …
New York Times:
No Shame  —  There are many unanswered questions about the vicious assault in Benghazi last month that killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.  And Congress has a responsibility to raise them.  But Republican lawmakers leading the charge on Capitol Hill seem …
Frank Rich / New York Magazine:
The Tea Party Will Win in the End  —  This is a nation that loathes government and always has.  Liberals should not be deluded: The Goldwater revolution will ultimately triumph, regardless of what happens in November.  —  Were the 2012 campaign a Hitchcock movie, Mitt Romney would be the MacGuffin …
Discussion: protein wisdom and National Review
Jonathan Martin / Politico:
The 3 states that may decide the election  —  With less than a month until Election Day, the primary battlefields for the presidential campaign can be found in just three states: Ohio, Florida and Virginia.  —  In these big three, home to a combined 60 electoral votes …
Making Mitt: The Myth Of George Romney  —  The Republican nominee's father didn't walk out of the '64 convention.  And George Romney didn't teach Mitt that you lose by being honest — he taught him that you change your positions to win.  —  Everyone agrees: Mitt Romney is not like his father.
Wall Street Journal:
Obama's Great Alaska Shutout  —  Interior bans drilling on 11.5 million acres of ‘petroleum reserve.’  —  President Obama is campaigning as a champion of the oil and gas boom he's had nothing to do with, and even as his regulators try to stifle it.  The latest example is the Interior …
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 More Items: 
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
November 7th  —  Though their agendas are hidden …
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Brady Dennis / Washington Post:
Flipping houses is once again a booming business
Discussion: The Daily Beast, Firedoglake and Gawker
Christopher Goins / CNSNews:
Michelle Obama: ‘We Are in the Midst of a Huge Recovery’
Discussion: Mediaite and Weasel Zippers
Steven Rattner / New York Times:
The Radical Is Romney, Not Ryan
Discussion: Mediaite and Prairie Weather
Mei Fong / The Atlantic Online:
Mo Yan and the Rise of Male-Oriented Chinese Literature
Discussion: The Peking Duck
Cameron Joseph / Ballot Box:
Ryan fires up the faithful in Wisconsin homecoming
Discussion: CNN
Matthew Yglesias / Slate:
Deficit Framing Run-Amok: Even Excessively Tight Fiscal Policy Is About Big Deficits
Discussion: Firedoglake
 Earlier Items: 
Josh Gerstein / Politico:
Obama: ‘We are winning in the battleground states’
Abby Rapoport / American Prospect:
True the Vote's True Agenda
Discussion: The Huffington Post
Wall Street Journal:
The Unraveling of Affirmative Action
Discussion: AEIdeas and Instapundit
Dylan Stableford / Yahoo! News:
Koch Industries, other CEOs warn employees of layoffs if Obama is reelected
Marc Caputo / Naked Politics:
FIU Hispanic FL voter poll: Obama 51- Romney 44
Paul Mirengoff / Power Line:
Axelrod bobs and weaves over Obama's level of engagement the day of the Benghazi attack