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Lindsey Graham crosses party lines to defend Joe Manchin against attacks from Rand Paul

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* From Big Bird to Medicare: President Obama released a new TV ad Tuesday hitting Mitt Romney over his "47 percent" comments.“Victims. Dependent. That’s what Mitt Romney called forty-seven percent of Americans. Including people on Medicare. But what about his plan for you? Romney would replace guaranteed benefits with a voucher system," says the narrator of the ad, which is running in Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. Meanwhile, Sesame Workshop requested Tuesday that the Obama campaign take down its ad referring to Big Bird.  

* Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is crossing party lines to defend Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) after Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) PAC released an new TV ad criticizing the West Virginia Democrat for voting to send U.S. aid to Libya, Egypt, and Pakistan. Paul has made an effort to block aid to those countries, but Manchin has opposed his effort. Graham told reporters Manchin made the right vote. Paul's PAC is also running a spot against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). 

* Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) criticized Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) over $40 million in federal subsidies that businesses affiliated with her husband received for low-income housing developments. McCaskill's campaign said the funds posed no conflict of interest. There is no evidence the senator personally steered money to her husband's businesses. Meanwhile, Akin placed a new $56,000 ad buy, according to a Democratic strategist tracking buys. That's a figure suggesting the embattled congressman may not have a lot of money to spend. 

* Ohio Republican Senate nominee Josh Mandel raised $4.5 million during the third quarter, his best three-month haul yet. He did not immediately release his cash on hand total. 


* Romney had met one of the former Navy SEALS killed in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last month, he said at a campaign event on Tuesday. Romney arrived at  a Christmas party a couple of years back, and before realizing he was at the wrong gathering, met some guests, including Glen Doherty, the former SEAL.

* Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) leads former congresswoman Heather Wilson 51 percent to 39 percent according to a new Democratic poll conducted for his campaign. A third party candidate receives 8 percent of the vote in the survey, which was conducted by SBA Strategies from Oct. 4-7. 

* Two affiliated GOP outside groups -- the American Action Network and the Congressional Leadership Fund -- have reserved $7.5 million worth of airtime in eight key House races. AAN is set to spend $1 million in retiring Rep. Tim Johnson's (R-Ill.) district, $1.8 million on Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), $600,000 against Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.), $1.3 million on Rep. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.) and $90,000 on Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.). CLF, meanwhile, has reserved $1.4 million in the race between Reps. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) and Jim Renacci (R), $750,000 for Rep. Quico Canseco (R-Texas) and $500,000 against Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.). The groups have now reserved $12.2 million in airtime, including in some markets where they could spend it on multiple races. The group previously reserved $1.1 million worth of airtime for Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and $250,000 worth of airtime against Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.). AAN is a 501c4 center-right issue advocacy organization. CLF is the sister organization and is a super PAC.

* The National Republican Congressional Committee says it has voluntarily pulled an ad hitting Democrat Julian Schreibman. The ad attacked Schreibman's work as a defense attorney. Schreibman is challenging Rep. Chris Gibson (R) in New York's 19th District.

* The Republican Governors Association released a new TV ad tying West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) to Obama on coal. The RGA also launched a new ad criticizing New Hampshire Democratic gubernatorial nominee Maggie Hassan for pushing for higher taxes. 


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Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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