Bon Voyage, Mitt Romney, Obama's Testimonials, George W. Hits Up Romney HQ, Odd Endorsement Hour (PM Note)

Weird New Trend - Republicans Endorsing Democrats in Senate Races -

Bon Voyage, Mitt Romney - Leaks and Defense Cuts - Ahead of trip abroad, offers indictment of Obama foreign policy with focus on domestic consequences - ""This isn't a partisan issue; it's a national security crisis," Romney said of reported national security leaks during his speech to the VFW convention. "This conduct is contemptible. It betrays our national interest. It compromises our men and women in the field. And it demands a full and prompt investigation by a special counsel, with explanation and consequence. Obama appointees, who are accountable to President Obama's attorney general, should not be responsible for investigating the leaks coming from the Obama White House."

Romney also spent a good chunk of time focusing on planned defense cuts which, without congressional detente, will kick in as a matter of course.

"Don't bother by the way trying to find a serious military rationale behind any of that, unless that rationale is wishful thinking. Strategy is not driving the president's massive defense cuts. In fact, his own secretary of defense warned that these reductions would be 'devastating.' And he is right," Romney said. "That devastation would start here at home. Mark my words, these cuts would only weaken an already stretched VA system and our solemn commitment that every veteran receives care second to none. If I am president of the United States, I will not allow that to happen."

Feinstein's Leak Alarms as Campaign Issue - Feinstein, who has been concerned about the leaks, was none too happy about being mentioned in Romney's speech. In a statement she said she was "disappointed by the statements made by Mr. Romney today regarding a question I was asked yesterday at the World Affairs Council. I was asked whether the White House might be responsible for recent national security leaks. I stated that I did not believe the president leaked classified information. I shouldn't have speculated beyond that, because the fact of the matter is I don't know the source of the leaks." -

Changing Tune? Obama Campaign Releases Second Testimonial Ad - We've been spending some time looking at that the new series of Obama ads - there's a new one out tonight refuting Republicans "build it" attacks. It'll be interesting to see how much these ones actually run. But this is the campaign that heretofore was known for running a TV ad of their opponent singing out of tune.

Both of the new ads, by contrast, are positive.

Ad one, on the choice in the election is here - Ad two, which accuses Republicans of taking his words out of context is here -

Jake Tapper reports they were filmed in the West Wing. Not unprecedented, but still a weird venue for a political ad taping -

Rick Klein said it seemed awfully early for this type of ad. Why? Seeing President Obama seated, talking directly to the camera, is striking in July - and only in part because it stands in such sharp contrast to the withering attacks that have defined the summer. This is a new play, one that suggests concern about the campaign's direction, and one that Team Obama is hoping to be able to carry through to the fall.

Amy Walter contrasted Obama's full-throated defense of himself to how Team Romney has dealt with questions about the candidates tax returns - Is Obama's engagement a sign that they fear the attacks are working? Or are they simply operating under the rules learned in the 2004 "Swift Boat" attacks - don't let any attack, no matter how seemingly out of context, go unanswered? And, with the economy continuing to struggle, Obama can't afford to give Romney any opportunity to go on the offense on the issue of jobs. Either way, it's interesting to note the difference between how the Obama and Romney campaigns have dealt with recent attacks. Romney, of course, has yet to put the issue of his tax records to bed, but seems content to ride out the storm. Obama, meanwhile, has decided to wade into the fight.

CBO - Obamacare Repeal Would Add to Deficit - Repealing the health care law passed in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court in June would increase the federal deficit by $109 billion over ten years, a new Congressional Budget Office analysis estimates. The primary reason for the deficit increase, the report showed, was the repeal of several tax increases within the health care law. While the repeal bill would reduce direct federal spending by $890 billion over that period, it would also slash more than $1 trillion in new taxes. The CBO estimated in 2011 that the health care law would reduce the federal deficit by $210 billion over 10 years because of the law's revenue increases. (Y!'s Chris Moody)

More Evidence There's No Appetite for Gun Laws - Chuck Schumer, who built a career on the Assault Weapons Ban, indicates the people need to speak up. Plus, House Speaker John Boehner resisted calls today from congressional Democrats to tighten gun control laws in the wake of the shooting in Aurora, Colo., last week, couching his lack of enthusiasm for new legislation with President Obama's decision not to push for new laws either. (John Parkinson)

Ann Romney to Trace Welsh Roots -

George W. Bush Stops by Romney HQ - Mitt Romney's campaign staff in Boston got an unexpected pep talk this morning when former president George W. Bush and his wife Laura stopped by. (Arlette Saenz)

Romney's VP Search Head Keeps Secrets, Even at the Dinner Table - Beth Myers, who is leading Mitt Romney's search for a running mate, rallied about 55 Republican women at a Mexican restaurant in Ashburn, Virginia, on Tuesday. (Chris Good)

Thomas Jefferson Found in Kansas- In November, Kansas residents can cast their votes for Thomas Jefferson. Not the founding father but a Libertarian, née Jack Talbert, who has changed his name to match his political idol's. (Jilian Fama)

Cutting 'Red Tape,' House GOP Pushes for Small Businesses - With the national unemployment rate stagnant around 8 percent, House Republicans this week are taking to the floor to loosen "job-killing" regulations they say hurt small businesses. (Julie Percha)

Bristol Palin Claims Son Used Different F-Word - Bristol Palin's Lifetime reality TV show "Life's a Tripp" has mainly focused on showcasing Bristol's own exploits and adventures. But after last week's episode, her son 3-year-old Tripp is now in the spotlight for an on-camera tantrum. (Meghan Kiesel)

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