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The most devastating moment of the debate for Romney, and most memorable for President Obama, was when our President slammed him for politicizing the Benghazi attack.  Among many of Romney's false smears was the accusation that it took two weeks for Obama (and his administration) to officially call the Benghazi attack an act of terrorism. Obama, backed up with the fact that he indeed called it an 'Act of Terror' in his statements on the day after the attack in the Rose Garden on September 12th, slammed Romney hard. Candy Crowley fact-checked in the President's favor in real-time, and Romney was left looking petty, divisive and weak for his failed smear attack.

The post-debate, right-wing talking points (see Michele Malkin, Breitbart) argue that the context of President Obama's 'Act of Terror' statement in his Sept 12th remarks, was about terrorism against the United States in general, and not specifically about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. However...

Borrowing from President Clinton's 'It's Math' analogy, IT'S GRAMMAR! ... Obama's Rose Garden statements on Benghazi directly describe the attack as a terrorist act.  The entire paragraph from the transcript of President Obama's pitch-perfect Sept 12th statements from the Rose Garden below:

No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done.
The 'Acts of Terror' statement is in the TOPIC SENTENCE of the same paragraph that then goes on to specifically discuss the Benghazi attack.  "Acts of Terror" describes "this terrible act" which causes us to "mourn four more Americans."  DONE.  Thank you to my 5th grade English teacher.  The Republicans need to learn them up on some knowledge on 5th grade grammar skillz.

CNN followed up on Ms. Crowley's real-time fact check with an official post-debate Reality Check, which resulted in the same conclusion: Obama's assertion in the debate was true:

The shill organization that is ABC News and their 'fact-checker' somehow missed their 5th grade grammar class and bent-over themselves to Fact-check this into a "Mostly true for the President, but not entirely factual though". I also heard that Anderson Cooper may have also tried to excuse Romney's false smear based on 'context'.

CNN has a remarkably factual timeline of the statements that various Obama administration officials/spokespersons have made since the Benghazi attack here, starting with the President's Sept 12th remarks.  The administration has been very consistent since The President's and Secretary Clinton's first remarks that day.

Now, sit back and enjoy the entire moment again, as reported by Rachel Maddow

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Personally, I think Benghazi is a losing talking point for the Romney campaign. It makes them look like they're trying to score cheap, petty, political points on the heels of a national tragedy, and it reminds Americans how presidential President Obama, and Secretary Clinton, have been in its aftermath.

More on topic sentences below the orange terrorist fist bump :)

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Thursday's New York Times reports that Romney's most recent $3.4m outlay for television advertising in eight swing states excludes Ohio entirely:

On Wednesday, the Romney campaign reserved $3.4 million worth of advertising time in eight swing states. Nearly half of that -€” more than $1.5 million -” was for Virginia. The rest was spread across Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin. His total ad spending for the week is more than $10 million.
Though it remains to be seen how the Romney campaign spent the rest of its ad budget this week, it's hard to believe that it's ignoring Ohio entirely on the air, after spending $2.6m there last week (w/e 9/24/2012).  Perhaps Romney believes that his presence in Ohio via his 'bus tour' through the state this week was all that was needed to boost his tanking favorables. (Ha!)  Or, perhaps the Ohio bus tour, in addition to any advertising already wasted spent this week, was his last-ditch effort at improving his standing among Ohio voters before shifting his resources elsewhere.

A slew of recent Ohio polls have continued to move the Buckeye state further and further out of reach for Romney. Indeed, Nate Silver's model now gives President Obama an 82% chance of winning Ohio on November 6th, and his 'now-cast' estimates "that Mr. Obama would have a 96 percent chance of winning Ohio in an election held today".

Excluding Ohio from its most recent spending may indicate a shift in strategy by the Romney campaign to a "Plan B", also discussed by Nate Silver in his Wednesday blog post; a strategy that no other Republican in history has pulled off:  Winning the Presidency without winning Ohio.

The map ... in which Mr. Romney wins Iowa despite losing both Ohio and Wisconsin, would suffice to give him 273 electoral votes. In the simulations where Mr. Romney won the election despite losing Ohio, this was the case that came up most frequently.
I'd call this the 'hail mary' strategy, since, as Mr. Silver discusses, it would require that Romney run the table in ALL of the following swing states: Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire (in which he trails in just about  every one of them, including Nevada, a state in which Romney has "never held a lead in a public poll") .  This scenario would concede Wisconsin to Obama and result in a 273-265 win for Romney in the electoral college.  (Note that in this scenario, New Hampshire's four electoral votes move Romney over the top, though a New Hampshire loss for Romney in this scenario would drop the race into a 269-269 tie, in which the tie would then be broken by the majority in the House).

Nate Silver's confidence in Romney's ability to pull this off? Fat-chance.

It isn't a great plan. But when you're the Republican candidate and are down outside the margin of error in Ohio with six weeks to go, you don'€™t have any great plans.
Evidence of the Romney campaign pulling out of Ohio would almost certainly lead to a 'death spiral' for Romney, in which negative coverage ("Headlines: Romney Surrenders Ohio!") would drown out any other news or advertising for at least another week, and result in further declines for Romney nationally.

My prediction for Romney? I think Mr. T says it best:

(If you haven't read Nate Silver's 538 blog column in the NYT on Romney's chances as Ohio slips away from him, I'd highly recommend it, though I suspect most on this site are already avid readers of his column): Sept. 25: Romney’s Narrow Path Without Ohio


...and, as they say, hilarity ensues. Coming soon to Jon Stewart, I'm sure...

[Updated the title of the diary to indicate that Drudge & Fox deliberately lied or misled their audiences, smearing the President with the false attacks. (thanks Fickle).]

In recognition of International Talk Like a Pirate Day on Wednesday, the President's social media staff tweeted a picture of Obama meeting with one of his speechwriters dressed in a pirate costume in the oval office, with the caption "Arrr you in?". The actual picture was taken in May 2009.

The Drudge Report picked up on the tweet and, in an attempt to attack President Obama for not having time to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on his recent trip to New York, headlined the picture with the banner "BUT NO TIME FOR NETANYAHU..." (link: Drudge archives)  (Media Matters indicates that Drudge may have been intentionally 'misleading' the reader, instead of being 'punked', though I think that gives Drudge too much credit).

Anyway, of course having done zero research of their own or confirming the source, the dumbasses at Fox & Friends grabbed the Drudge headline and ran with this 'controversy' all Thursday morning, believing Obama had plenty of time to stage the pirate 'meeting' this week, though had "no time for Peace in the Middle East", and was "Too Busy for Israel".

TalkingPointsMemo has the comedy gold from Fox & Friends on Thursday... Steve Doofus and the other two empty chairs falsely accusing the president of choosing a sit-down with a pirate over Netanyahu:

Just a bit more after the orange terrorist fist squiggle...

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What a tool. Rather than congratulating Obama for winning a great race, fairly and graciously, with more elected delegates from those who voted in primaries and caucuses, Mark Penn, in a New York Times op-ed instead credits the superdelegates for pushing Obama over the top, and blames "low-turnout caucuses" (a talking point throughout Clinton's campaign as being "undemocratic" and "unfair"), blames the media, and blames just about anything and anyone but himself, for the loss. Barack Obama gained enough superdelegates to put him over the top. ... But she went from a lead of 120 superdelegates in early February to a deficit of 40 before last Tuesday.

Given her successes in high-turnout primary elections and defeats in low-turnout caucuses, that simple fact may just have had a lot more to do with who won than anyone imagines.


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I admire Donna Brazile, perhaps more than any member of the DNC, and if you have a chance, everyone should read her regular columns cross-posted at Brazile & Associates.  Though she initially argued (in February) that Superdelegates should wait "a little longer" to make their support public (because of the benefits of an extended campaign) she has written several recent (and much more critical) columns stating that it's time for the Democratic Party to come together, and blamed undeclared superdelegates for the continued divide in the party:

Experience tells me that if Obama is the party's nominee, the remaining superdelegates will bear as much responsibility as the Republicans (if Democrats lose in November)... Allowing this pitched battle to continue unabated might become a big roll of the dice for the Democratic Party.

Her recent columnis not as gentle on the Clinton campaign and their threat to continue beyond June 3rd...


Will Clinton close up shop soon after the June 3rd Primaries?

39%210 votes
32%176 votes
28%152 votes

| 538 votes | Vote | Results

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From the The Chicago Sun-Times and Crain's Chicago Business News

Chicago congressman Dan Lipinski is backing U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's presidential bid.

Lipinski had been one of the two remaining holdouts among Democratic superdelegates in Illinois' congressional delegation. He says he's endorsed Obama because of the candidate's emphasis on overcoming partisanship and uniting the country.

It may not be entirely unexpected; it's also not yet included in Politico's Superdelegate Count either.

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Senator Clinton's only chance to woo the remaining superdelegates, and thus secure the Democratic nomination by trumping Obama's insurmountable delegate lead, is via a perceived (and improbable) "popular vote win".  So, let's put an end to the popular vote myth right now.

Many media sources, arguably for selfish reasons, remain in lockstep with the Cinton campaign, continuing to perpetuate the claim that a lead in the so-called popular is just as important, or even more important, than a lead in the delegate count.  However, it's essentially a meaningless statistic in the nomination for the Democratic candidate, and thus the popular vote should be ignored by the superdelegates, because adding caucus results to primary results is like adding apples and oranges.

Here's why...  After the break: Not an apples-to-apples Comparison...

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