Mitt Romney says he supports popular Obamacare provisions on NBC, quietly reverses hours later on conservative website. (ThinkProgress)

Why the 2012 race remains close: “Normally, a president presiding over 8 percent unemployment and a country that sees itself on the wrong track wouldn’t stand a chance. But then a candidate with Mitt Romney’s shortcomings, including his failure to ignite much enthusiasm within his own party, wouldn’t stand a chance, either,” writes Brookings’ E.J. Dionne. (Washington Post)

Room for Debate asks: What is an appropriate level of defense spending, when the federal budget is strained and the United States faces few major military threats? (New York Times)

After Hamid Karzai dumps his national security team: “Karzai has scant time to pull a new team together. Combat forces from the United States and other countries are headed for the exits. The plan is for the Afghan army and police forces to keep the Taliban, al Qaeda and all their buddies at bay,” writes Heritage’s James Carafano. (Washington Examiner)

Politico’s Arena asks: Congressional approval rating is at an all-time low. What can Congress accomplish in the coming weeks that could improve Americans’ perception? (Politico)

“Friday’s job report was a post-convention headache for President Obama. But it’s also a hangover from early in his term: He could’ve avoided this problem had he thought harder about stimulus three years ago, writes Manhattan Institute’s Nicole Gelinas. (New York Post)

Cato says goodbye to Ronald Hamowy. (Cato)