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Hotline Sort: Obama The Llama

7) Even as top Democratic leaders call Saturday for Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., to resign Saturday, the embattled congressman instead said he was taking a leave of absence to get professional treatment. Meanwhile, new pictures were posted by the entertainment Web site TMZ. This underscores the headache that Weiner is giving Democrats -- so long as he remains in the House, every new picture, post and development that relates to him distracts from his party's agenda and dominates the news cycle. The fact that DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz spent as much of her time on Meet the Press talking about Weiner instead of attacking the GOP on, say, Medicare, is highlights the real problems he's causing his party. 6) The first photographs of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., since she was shot in the head were released on her Facebook page Sunday. The images show the congresswoman smiling. Why release the photos now? "We've heard there is a bounty for photographs of her," Giffords spokesperson C. J. Karamargin told the New York Times. "To avoid a paparazzi situation, they wanted to get these photos out." There's been some conflicting information about the state of Giffords' recovery lately. Her chief of staff Pia Carusone sounded a downbeat note in telling the press that the congresswoman has had trouble speaking in sentences, but Wasserman Schultz offered a brighter picture of her friend's health. "Each time I've visited her, it's been two or three words, and then more and more complex," Wasserman Schultz told Roll Call. "For the first time, she said things to me that weren't just in response to what I said, and I was really surprised." 5) Who wants to run against Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich? Former Michigan GOP Chair Saul Anuzis announced on his blog Sunday that he will not mount a Senate bid. "Unfortunately I have to work for a living:) I do not have the financial wherewithal to take a year off from working and run an aggressive, fulltime campaign," he wrote. Anuzis' decision follows announcements in recent weeks by former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., and former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, who both also passed on the race. The Michigan Republican bench is looking thinner, as high-profile Republicans continue to pass on a challenge to Stabenow. 4) The Wall Street Journal reports that President Obama's re-election campaign is responding to complaints from some Democratic donors and fund-raisers that they and their policy interests have been neglected. "I don't think we have been particularly attentive to the so-called care and feeding of donors," said David Axelrod. 3) A day before the first nationally televised debate that will feature both Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney, both sides began engaging, with Pawlenty invoking the phrase "Obamneycare" in a Sunday show appearance on FOX. A Romney adviser, in turn, criticized Pawlenty for leaving a projected deficit in Minnesota. 2) Former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman won't be debating, but on Sunday on CNN said that he's on the verge of an announcement. "We're about a week and a half out," Huntsman said. 1) Romney goes into tonight's debate with some momentum, according to two new polls out early today. Both a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll and a USA Today/Gallup poll show Romney leading the GOP field with 24 percent of the vote, improving upon performances from late May in both surveys. -- Steven Shepard contributed to this post

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