1. Caption this photo! 

    REUTERS/Jason Reed

     

  2. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CNN on Monday that she takes full responsibility for security at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, where terrorists launched a Sept. 11 assault that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Mitt Romney has stepped up his criticism of President Obama over the attack, suggesting Obama hasn’t been up front about what happened. Vice President Joe Biden said in last week’s vice-presidential debate that the White House didn’t know about requests for more security ahead of the attack. Clinton said Biden and Obama wouldn’t have known, because she is the one in charge of State’s 60,000-plus people in 275 posts around the world. With the election so close, Clinton said, “I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha.”

    How will Clinton’s statement affect criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of Benghazi? Here, four consequences:

    1. This won’t deflect the GOP’s attacks
    It appears that Clinton has fallen on her sword for the president, says Margaret Hartmann at New York, although she didn’t seem eager to do it. After all, just last week State distanced itself from other officials’ assertions that extremists “‘hijacked’ a protest in Benghazi.” Regardless, if Clinton was trying to “deflect the Republicans’ attack,” it won’t work. Romney has slammed the administration for blaming the attack on “a YouTube video and a nonexistent riot,” then for accusing the GOP ticket of politicizing the tragedy. “It won’t be too hard for the Romney team to work in another line accusing Obama of shifting the blame to his popular secretary of state.” Clinton can’t let Obama off the hook, says Paul Mirengoff at PowerLine, for “the false statements by the Obama administration” after the attack. The State Department “knew that this was a terrorist attack, not a protest,” yet the administration mischaracterized it for days. “That’s on Obama, not Clinton.” 

    2. Clinton has more explaining to do
    So, Hillary says she’s responsible for diplomats’ security, says The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. “That’s nice, but it still leaves many questions, such as why her own comments to the U.N. differed so much from the substance and tone of Mr. Obama’s.” Remember, he was still talking about the Benghazi attack and the anti-Islam video in the same breath. “Saying you take ‘responsibility’ in brief interviews from faraway Peru is a long way from acting as if you’re responsible.”

    Keep reading

     

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  4. On Tuesday’s episode of NBC’s Late Night, Jimmy Fallon invited audiences to visit “Mr. Romney’s Neighborhood,” a sketch that took shots at both Romney’s rich-guy image and his repeated attacks on PBS. “Won’t you be my neighbor? There’s a good chance you already are, since I own so many homes,” says Fallon’s Romney, as he browses theFinancial Times during a shoeshine. Fallon’s satirical attack is just one of many to emerge this election season, as pranksters and parodists have latched onto everything from Romney’s one-percenter status to his seemingly identical children. 

    The 6 best Mitt Romney parody videos

     

  5. "This may go down in history as the Big Bird debate," says Nina Strochlic atThe Daily Beast. As far as the Twitter consensus went, threatening to fire Big Bird to recoup the 0.00014 percent of the federal budget that goes to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was mean, and bad politics. “Obama killed Osama Bin Laden. Romney wants to kill Big Bird. I think that says enough,” tweeted @BigBirdRomney. “If Romney had grown up with me, he wouldn’t have his numbers all screwed up,” added @BIGBIRD, capping off his tweet with a frowny-face emoticon. @FiredBigBird was on a roll, posting a photo of Big Bird holding a sign that read “Will Work for Food,” and taunting Romney: "If you think [you] REALLY won this debate just know I have nearly 27,000 followers and we all remember your 47% remarks." 

    'Unemployed Big Bird' and 3 other debate-inspired memes

     


  6. Barack Obama, during the primary season in 2008, referred to rural voters who are ‘bitter’ and ‘cling’ to their guns and religion because they had deep economic anxieties. The remarks hurt Obama in the subsequent Pennsylvania primary, and Republicans (like VP nominee Paul Ryan) still use them today to bash the president as insensitive and out of touch. There is a grain of truth in these charges, which is why they’ve stuck.

    This video is far worse on its face.

    — 

    Marc Ambinder in his latest column, The president for the upper half

    Worth a read. 

     

  7. "An anonymous post on Pastebin asking for Bitcoins? That’s basically a parody of hackers."  says Julia La Roche at Business Insider

    As if the pressure of a presidential campaign isn’t enough, Mitt Romney now faces a blackmail threat from hackers who claim to have stolen the Republican’s tax returns. They are demanding a cool $1 million, paid in Bitcoins, “an untraceable online currency popular in the criminal underworld,” says Chris Taylor at Mashable

    Is this theft even plausible? 

     

  8. The expectations for Ann Romney’s prime-time convention speech “were sky high,” says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. “Could she ‘humanize’ her husband? Could she single-handedly close the gender gap?” Time will tell, but her speech, from her beginning line — “I want to talk to you about love” — to her final appeal that her husband “will not fail,” she certainly “delivered as promised.”

    The trouble is, “she wasn’t just trying to humanize her husband, she was trying to make us love him,” says Rachael Larimore at Slate. “That’s a tall order,” and unnecessary. Mitt needs us to believe he can fix America; “we don’t need to love him.” Mrs. Romney also poured on the female-vote-trawling “a little thick” with her unsubtle “I love you, women!” says Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast. But overall she was fabulous: With her “Julie Andrews style and a Sarah Palin wink,” Ann Romney is “a performer of real talent,” and “by far the best way to soften up Romney’s image.”

    4 highlights from the first night of the GOP convention

    Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
     

  9. Recent surveys — including one by Fox News, which is not known for favoring Democrats — say Romney has been losing ground against President Obama. According to Fox, Obama would get 49 percent of the vote to Romney’s 40 percent if the election were held three months early, a healthy lead that is significant beyond the survey’s margin of error.

    Just a week ago, it seems, all of the headlines suggested the race was neck-and-neck. Why has Romney fallen back in the polls? 4 reasons Romney is slipping

     


  10. Thats the number of Twitter followers Mitt Romney gained on Saturday. 

    Before this past weekend, Romney had been picking up followers at a steady, if modest, clip — a rate of 5,000 or 6,000 a day. Then, on Friday, something changed, and suddenly he was adding 1,000 to 4,000 fans an hour. He picked up 23,926 on Friday, and 24,285 on Sunday, according to the website 140Elect.

    Is Romney buying Twitter followers?

     

  11. Romney still won’t release his tax returns and no one is sure why.

    A few popular theories: Each return provides a reminder of Romney’s Mormonism. His tax rate might have been close to zero. Romney’s income might have been extremely high.

    Or maybe he actually has something to hide.

     


  12. The idea that Romney — who is running on the strength of his record as a manager to replace Obama — could keep titles at, earn from, and own a major company for years while at the same time doing nothing to run or manage it, is not something that will be easily absorbed by your average worker. That is not how most workplaces run (those no-show jobs on The Sopranos excepted). But at the very highest levels of American business, things work differently, apparently.

    Explaining the complexities of this business arrangement to the American people will be as complicated for Romney as explaining away the overseas accounts he legally opened. It’s not the legality of the strategies that’s at issue so much as how foreign they will seem to most Americans.

    — 

    Garance Franke-Ruta at The Atlantic

    When Mitt Romney retired from Bain: 4 reasons why it matters

     


  13. While we are glad that Governor Romney recognized the power of the black electorate, he laid out an agenda that was antithetical to many of our interests. His criticism of the Affordable Care Act — legislation that will improve access to quality health care for millions — signals his fundamental misunderstanding of the needs of many African Americans.
    — 

    NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous, quoted in National Journal.

    Can Mitt Romney win without winning over minority voters?