Third-party group calls it quits, Mitt Romney to air his first general election ad, another birther rumor is debunked and Gary Johnson shoots a watermelon.
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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:
* Americans Elect has officially given up seeking a third-party presidential candidate, the group announced today. No candidate met the threshold in the group’s online nominating system. In a statement, Americans Elect says the rules developed are clear and “the primary process for the Americans Elect nomination has come to an end.”
* Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is airing his first general election ads in a couple days, a positive biographical spot introducing the candidate to voters, the AP reports. Data from television stations shows that the ad will run in Iowa, North Carolina, Virginia and Ohio.
* A Rasmussen poll shows state Sen. Deb Fischer (R) with a wide lead in the Nebraska Senate race over former senator Bob Kerrey (D). The automated survey of 500 likely Nebraska voters showed Fischer leading Kerrey 56 to 38 percent.
* Taking a page from the Herman Cain playbook, Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson is out with a web video in which a watermelon explodes. “This is our America. This is what Democrats and Republicans have done to it,” the title cards say. “You are Libertarian.”
* Romney stood by comments on Jeremiah Wright he made to talk radio host Sean Hannity in February. “I’m not sure which is worse, him listening to Reverend Wright or him saying that we ... must be a less Christian nation,” he said at the time. Asked about the comment today in light of a strategist’s proposal to use Wright in ads, Romney said, “I’m not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was.”
WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:
* House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said today that Republicans will not put forward their own health-care law this year as part of the party’s pledge to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. “I think what we’ll probably hopefully do is put out a vision for how we think we should fix this thing and all the catalogue of solutions that are out there,” he told the Washington Examiner. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to put out some big bill ... and then try ramming it through.”
* John Edwards’ legal team completed its defense today without calling the former presidential candidate or his ex-mistress to the stand. Instead, the defense focused on Rielle Hunter’s medical records, arguing that the videographer could not have known she was pregnant with Edwards’ child when the candidate solicited funds from a wealthy donor. Prosecutors allege that the money was meant to cover up the affair.
* Former senator George Allen (R), running for Senate again in Virginia, said today that sexual orientation should not be a factor in judicial nominations. “I’d look at their qualifications,” he said. On Wednesday the Virginia House of Delegates rejected the judicial nomination of Tracy Thorne-Begland, an openly gay prosecutor. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) made a similar statement.
* Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) gave a major speech last night in which he praised Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) but did not mention President Obama. He quoted JFK, saying “people don’t want Democratic solutions or Republican solutions, they want the right solutions.”
* A 1991 literary agency promotional booklet that describes President Obama as “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii” was a mistake (obviously.) A screenshot of the booklet has been circulating today and was featured prominently on The Drudge Report. A former agency assistant at the firm told Political Wire that it was “ nothing more than a fact checking error by me ... There was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii.”
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