* Charlie Cook: Mitt Romney is sliding among independents, and he has put his electability in peril, because “the conservative base of the Republican Party is driving the car.”

* Ezra Klein on the real reason the stadium was empty: Romney’s economic approach would use the programs the poor depend on as a “piggy bank for tax cuts”:

In 2000, George W. Bush ran for president saying “I don’t think they ought to be balancing their budget on the backs of the poor.” In 2012, amidst a much worse economy, Romney is running for president saying exactly the opposite.

* In fairness to Romney campaign advisers, there’s some dispute over whether they were at fault for the catastrophic choice of the stadium, though ABC News reports that the Romney camp “approved” the venue.

* Jed Lewison struggles to parse the shifting explanations for what Dems are calling the “Ford Field Fumble.”

* Why Romney is the narrow favorite to win Michigan, and why that will put him in a strong position to wrap up the nomination. (Link fixed.)

* Steve Benen’s Friday tally of Romney’s most ostentatious falsehoods of the week.

* With the Senate set to debate the GOP amendment undoing the birth control mandate next week, Senate Dems are not backing off their case that this is a big time political winner for them.

* Relatedly, good stuff from Dana Milbank on why Sandra Fluke is the best witness for the GOP gender gap that the Dems could have called.

* Jonathan Bernstein debunks the right’s latest fantasy (one that Romney has trafficked in, too): The GOP’s foray into the birth control minefield was the result of a secret White House plot.

* Glenn Greenwald flays an Obama adviser for mocking Romney’s claim that he’d consult lawyers before attacking Iran, and concludes: Only weak losers care about having the legal authority to go to war.

* Digby’s take on the real reason conservatives are turning on George W. Bush: He made the conservative worldview look bad, and that’s unforgivable.

* Relatedly, Kevin Drum on why the GOP’s rightward lurch is all Bush’s fault: Republicans are determined not to get, er, fooled again.

* And your sorely needed Friday comic relief: A group of Democratic women from Georgia launches a tongue-in-cheek push to amend the state’s abortion law by banning men from getting vasectomies.

What else?