Mitt Romney doesn’t need to apologize for Bain, GOP candidates’ weaknesses and more [AM Briefing]

Is the GOP presidential candidate field picking one another off in a circular firing squad? (Washington Post)

Mitt Romney doesn’t need to apologize for his Bain career, says AEI’s Jim Pethokoukis. (AEI)

A look at Mitt Romney’s tax hikes while he masquerades as a free marketeer. (National Review)

The GOP candidates have been good at telling voters what their strengths are. AEI’s Michael Barone tells you the weaknesses of Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, Huntsman and Perry. Ron Paul “looks and sounds zany.” (National Review)

Room for Debate asks: Is the U.S. still the land of opportunity? (New York Times)

AEI’s Nicholas Eberstadt to Mayor Bloomberg: Sure, you’re health numbers are better, but what about your poverty and illiteracy rates? (New York Post)

Austan Goolsbee’s budget math is wrong – more than 100 percent of long-term fiscal challenge is government spending. (Cato)

Heritage’s James Carafano: Obama’s make-believe defense strategy. (Washington Examiner)

“The president’s continuing lack of leadership in response to Iran’s saber rattling brings to mind the October 1961 Berlin Crisis. There, just a few months after the communists began constructing the Berlin Wall to stop the hemorrhaging of refugees from East Germany, a confrontation developed at the Cold War’s iconic Checkpoint Charlie, located between the U.S. and Soviet sectors in Berlin, writes John Bolton. (Washington Examiner)

“No good can come from the perception of the United States in retreat, a willing accomplice in the dismantling of a regional order — Pax Americana — that has been the linchpin of Mideast security for decades. It’s a dangerously corrosive narrative, one that left unchecked will breed uncertainty, instability and even war. Disabusing friend and foe alike of its accuracy should be a top priority for Obama,” writes John Hannah, former national security advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (LA Times)

Allen McDuffee writes about politics and policy and covered think tanks for The Washington Post from 2011 to 2013. He blogs and hosts a podcast at governmentality.net and is currently working on a book about the influence of think tanks in Washington.

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