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* President Obama has hit back against Mitt Romney's criticism of his administration's response to violence in Egypt and Libya, telling CBS News that Romney "seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later." Were Romney's attacks irresponsible? "I'll let the American people judge that," Obama said.

* Romney's campaign has distributed talking points to top GOP surrogates with advice about how to address questions about the GOP presidential campaign's criticism of the Obama administration's reaction to violence in Libya and Egypt. A sample question: "Did Governor Romney 'jump the gun' last night in releasing his statement?" The proposed answer? "No. It is never too soon to stand up for American values and interests."

* In a tweet, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) said "The DC Republicans pulled support from our race, but spending on pro-choice 'Republicans' in MA and ME. Is that what Republican donors want?" The Republican in Massachusetts Akin appears to be referring to is Sen. Scott Brown, who was the first Senate Republican to call for him to end his Senate bid in the wake of controversial comments about rape and pregnancy.

* The Republican Governors Association released a new TV ad hitting West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) by comparing his plan for state retirees' health care to Obama's federal health care law. The GOP ad comes two days after Tomblin released an ad saying he fought Obama on coal. Republicans spent a hefty sum trying to tie Obama to Tomblin in 2011, but it didn't work well enough to defeat him.

* Former Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine is up with a contrast spot in the Virginia Senate race that says he cut spending and balanced the budget, while former senator George Allen (R) increased spending and raised his own pay.


* The National Republican Congressional Committee has bestowed "Young Gun" status (the top tier of the committee's recruitment program) to nine new candidates, including three who recently won the GOP nomination in Arizona districts (Jonathan Paton in the 1st District, Martha McSally in the 2nd, and Vernon Parker in the 9th) and Kerry Bentivolio, the reindeer farmer and onetime underdog in the race to replace former congressman Thad McCotter in Michigan's 11th District. The other five new "Young Guns" are: Andrew Roraback in Connecticut's 5th District, Lee Anderson in Georgia's 12th District, David Joyce in Ohio's 14th District, Markwayne Mullin in Oklahoma's 2nd District, and Randy Weber in Texas's 14th District.

A WBUR poll conducted by the MassINC Polling Group shows that Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) is under 50 percent against Republican challenger Richard Tisei. Tierney, whose wife's family's legal woes have hurt his image, leads Tisei 46 percent to 34 percent.

* In his latest TV ad, Arizona Democratic Senate nominee Richard Carmona says "Republicans and Democrats both got it wrong" when it comes to health care. Running in a red state, the former surgeon general is trying keep a safe distance from his party on certain issues.

* In North Carolina Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton's (D) first general election TV ad, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee says, "I'm not slick or fancy, but I'll work hard, and I'll always shoot straight with you." In his ad, Dalton says "no more outsourcing our jobs," but Republican nominee Pat McCrory noted that Dalton has invested in companies that outsource jobs.


Just watching.

With Aaron Blake