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Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Early Word: Toss-Up


Today's Times

  • A New York Times/CBS News poll showed that the presidential race is still narrowly divided and highly susceptible to unexpected events, Jeff Zeleny and Megan Thee-Brenan report. While President Obama has taken a lead where Mitt Romney once had an advantage â€" the economy â€" the outcome could turn on how the candidates are perceived after their three debates in October.
  • Mitt Romney is hardly short on campaign promises or policy proposals, but on several key items, there are big blanks that he has yet to fill, Michael Cooper writes.
  • After a Kansas man withdrew his petition arguing that President Obama should not be on the ballot because he did not mee t citizenship requirements, state officials said they would try to obtain a birth certificate anyway, John Eligon reports.
  • Mitt Romney and Representative Paul D. Ryan delivered unusually varied messages on Friday, with Mr. Romney talking pop culture on morning television and his running mate pounding President Obama in caustic terms at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, Ashley Parker and Trip Gabriel report.
  • The White House budget office delivered a line by line report to Congress on Friday, detailing exactly what would happen next year if Washington refused to act on the $100 billion spending cuts scheduled to begin Jan. 2, 2013, Jonathan Weisman reports. But nothing will happen before the November elections, whose outcome will have some effect on what any future agreement would look like.
  • Though Mr. Romney has claimed to have a critical distinction from President Obama on Iran's nuclear program, he has had difficulty e xpressing their differences over where to draw the line, David E. Sanger and Ashley Parker report.

Weekly Addresses

  • President Obama reflected on the legacy of the four Americans killed in an attack on a diplomatic post in Libya this week. “They died as they lived their lives â€" defending their fellow Americans, and advancing the values that all of us hold dear,” he said, adding that “we must also send a clear and resolute message to the world: those who attack our people will find no escape from justice.”  He underscored the country's respect for all faiths, while also rejecting any excuse for attacks on embassies and consulates. Calling on the nation to remember “that our spirit cannot be broken,” he said that his administration is working with foreign governments to help protect Americans abroad, and he asked that the memory of those who died guide the country going forward.
  • Representative Allen B. West of Florida deliv ered the Republican Party's weekly address, using the recent violence in Libya to condemn Congressional inaction on sequestration.  “I cannot underestimate the amount of damage these cuts would do to our military,” he said. “Remember how critical it is that the United States projects strength, that we remain vigilant and resolute in the defense of our liberties and way of life.” He applauded his colleagues in the House for producing a “responsible plan to replace these ‘devastating' cuts,” while accusing President Obama of failing to lead Washington to a solution by opposing that plan.

Around the Web

  • Officials in Ohio believe that their “battleground” status should get them both party conventions in 2016, Politico reports.
  • Rest assured, everyone. Congressional salaries will not be affected by the sweeping sequester cuts, Politico says.
  • World Wrestling Entertainment will be deleting clips from its Web site, because “some of this footage is being misused in political environments without any context or explanation as to when it was produced,” The CT Mirror reports. Linda E. McMahon, a Republican Senate candidate and co-founder of the company, was recently targeted in ads featuring edgy footage from the days when W.W.E.'s programming was rated TV-14.

Happenings in Washington