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  2. Cartoon of the day: Biden’s future
    STEVE BREEN © 2012 Creators Syndicate

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    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  3. We got some great submissions in our latest caption contest. Here, some of our favorites.

     

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  5. 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.”

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  6. The vice presidential debate: A viewer’s guide

    When is the debate, and how can I watch it?
    The debate starts at 9 pm (ET) and lasts 90 minutes. The Biden-Ryan face-off, at Centre College in Danville, Ky., will be aired live on all four networks — ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox — and the major cable news channels: CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Univision, and CNN Español, among others. It will also be live-streamed on numerous websites. (GigaOm has a comprehensive list of where to watch it online and on mobile devices.)

    Who’s the moderator?
    Martha Raddatz, the senior foreign affairs correspondent for ABC News. Conservative website The Daily Caller tried to make hay out of Obama’s attending her 1991 wedding, as a guest of her now-ex-husband Julius Genachowski, who was on the Harvard Law Review with Obama. But the article “failed to make a major impact,” says Politico's Dylan Byers — perhaps, notes CNN's Candy Crowley, because it was so obvious an attempt at “playing the refs.” (Crowley is moderating next week's presidential debate.) Ryan's spokesman said the GOP campaign has “no concern” about Raddatz. 

    Is there a theme to the debate?
    No. According to the Commission on Presidential Debates, it will “cover both foreign and domestic topics,” which leaves Raddatz an unlimited number of subjects to choose from. There are only nine slots, though, note Jason Linkins and Elyse Siegel at The Huffington Post, and “with so many domestic policy topics left untouched in the first presidential debate, and foreign policy encroaching at the veep debate, chances are viewers are going to be left wanting more.” The bulk of the issues will almost certainly be domestic, but remember, Raddatz has “walked the foreign policy beat for the entirety of the past four years,” so expect at least one question on Libya, Iran, or Afghanistan. 

    What’s the format?
    Compared with the Denver presidential debate’s, um, loose format, the Danville showdown will be positively regimented: There will be nine segments of about 10 minutes each; each candidate will have two minutes to respond to Raddatz’s question, and she will use the remaining six minutes to foster discussion on the topic.

    Who’s favored to win?
    Ryan. Voters expect the 42-year-old congressman to outshine Biden in at least three polls — by a margin of 55 percent to 39 percent (CNN/ORC International), 46 percent to 30 percent (Zogby), or 40 percent to 34 percent (Pew) — and no poll forecasts a Biden win. That is probably good news for the vice president, since it sets a pretty low bar. But Ryan has been rigorously preparing for the debate since Romney tapped him as his running mate in early August.

    Do VP debates even matter?
    The conventional wisdom is that no, vice presidential debates are mostly for sport, or, at best, a chance for the public to meet the men who will be a heartbeat away from the presidency. But that sells them short, University of Pennsylvania’s Kathleen Hall Jamieson tells The Daily Beast. As in 2004, when Vice President Dick Cheney’s strong performance helped President George W. Bush recover from his weak first debate against Sen. John Kerry, the VP showdown “can be an interlude which changes the present dialogue about the momentum of the campaign.” But if you look back, says Dan Amira at New York, newspapers say that same thing every four years. So will the Biden-Ryan showdown “be the one that finallymakes a huge difference?” Anything could happen, “especially when Joe Biden is involved” — but don’t bet on it. Besides, as political scientist Jonathan Bernstein notes, this year’s debate has its share of competition for viewers. The MLB playoffs — Yankees-Orioles (Game 4) and Tigers-A’s (Game 5) — and an NFL matchup of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans are all on at the same time.

    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  7. Cartoon of the day — All quiet on the Biden front
    STEVE KELLEY © 2012 Creators Syndicate

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    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  8. Cartoon of the day — A delicate sensibility 
    ADAM ZYGLIS © 2012 Cagle Cartoons

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    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  9. Cartoon of the day — Dumping the president
    STEVE KELLEY © 2012 Creators Syndicate

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  10. Heh. I like this comment.