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If you love political ads, 2012 is your year. Big time.

Why Romney isn’t licked yet, in two charts

Why Mitt Romney released his 2011 tax returns today

Claire McCaskill calls Todd Akin’s views ‘extreme’ at first debate

Mitt Romney had the ‘Worst Week in Washington’ — again

Obama cracks 50 percent in three swing states

Why it’s time for Moderate Mitt


* Mitt Romney's campaign shouldn't restrain GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (Wis.), says Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). Walker said in an interview that he was "enthused when Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan because I thought that was a signal that this guy was getting serious, he was getting bold,” but he said he “hasn't seen that kind of passion I know that Paul has transferred over to our nominee.”

* Romney and Ryan are each in good health, according to assessments from their physicians. Romney takes Lipitor to lower his cholesterol but has "no physical impairments" that would complicate his ability to serve as president. Ryan suffers from airway hypersensitivity which is "occasionally treated with an as needed albuterol inhaler."

* President Obama sought to turn the tables against Romney' attacks directed at his remark at a Univision forum Thursday that "you can’t change Washington from inside." "What kind of inside job is he talking about?” Obama asked at a campaign event in Virginia, a response to Romney's pledge to "get the job done from the inside.”

* Ann Romney’s plane made an emergency landing in Colorado. Aides say that the plane was apparently filled with smoke and that nobody was hurt.

* Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has been cleared of wrongdoing by a House ethics panel that had been investigating whether she had run afoul of congressional rules when she called then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in 2008 on behalf of minority-owned banks, even as her husband held financial stake in one such institution.

* The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee outraised the National Republican Senatorial Committee in August, hauling $7.7 million to the $6.1 million raised by the Senate GOP's campaign arm. The DSCC ended the month with about $31 million in the bank, which was more than the NRSC's $28.9 million.


* At a Friday morning news conference where he was flanked by top recruits, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) said winning the House majority is "in range" for his party, but he stopped short of predicting a takeover. "We are sitting in their red zone," Israel said. Democrats need to net 25 sets in November to seize back the majority.

* Ryan received boos and applause when he addressed the AARP on Friday. He was booed when he pledged to repeal the federal health care law spearheaded by Obama.

* The NRSC is running a new TV ad in the Montana Senate race featuring a rancher who criticizes Sen. Jon Tester's  (D) vote for the estate tax. The ad makes an emotional appeal -- at one point the rancher, who said his dad just passed away, chokes up as he considers the impact of the tax on his mother.

* Former congressman Rick Hill (R) and Attorney General Steve Bullock (D) are running about even in the Montana governor's race, according to a new Mason Dixon Polling & Research survey showing Bullock at 44 percent and Hill at 43 percent.

* The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outraised the National Republican Congressional Committee in August, bringing in $11.6 million to the NRCC's $6.8 million. But the NRCC ended the month with more money in the bank -- $49.8 million, while the DCCC banked about $40 million.

* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid isn't satisfied with the tax returns Romney released on Friday, claiming Romney is "hiding something." Reid previously alleged that Romney didn't pay any taxes for a decade.


The friendly backpacker.

With Aaron Blake