6) Politico reports that President Obama called former Surgeon General Richard Carmona last month to urge him to run for retiring Sen. Jon Kyl's, R-Ariz., seat. Former state Democratic Party Chairman Don Bivens is in the race, but it's clear that Carmona is regarded by Democrats as a more formidable candidate. Obama's involvement signals the strong desire on the part of the White House and national Democrats to recruit a credible Hispanic contender in states where changing demographics could play to their advantage. 5) Last week, we saw national Republicans and businessman Bill Maloney push hard to insert Obama into the final stretch of the West Virginia governor's race as Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin effectively kept the president at arm's length. Obama has now emerged as an issue in a key state legislative race in Virginia, as Democratic House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong is keeping his distance from Obama in a new ad in which hits back against charges he is similar to the president. "I'm pro-life, pro-gun, and I always put Virginia first," Armstrong says in the spot. Sure sounds a lot like Tomblin. 4) The president of the Campaign Media Analysis Group estimates that candidates, committees and outside groups combined could spend as much as $3.2 billion on television advertising in the 2012 election. 3) Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., has been playing defense for the last 18 hours, following an interview in which he said "Thank God" Democratic Senate frontrunner Elizabeth Warren did not take her clothes off to pay for school -- as he did when he posed shirtless for Cosmopolitan. He's taken heat from EMILY's List, among others, but two female senators from New England -- Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Susan Collins, R-Maine -- are now coming to his defense. 2) In a foreign policy speech in South Carolina Friday, Mitt Romney will say: "I am guided by one overwhelming conviction and passion: This century must be an American Century. In an American Century, America has the strongest economy and the strongest military in the world. In an American Century, America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world. National Journal's Yochi Dreazen outlines Romney's twin challenge: "differentiating himself enough from the Obama administration's handling of national security to avoid antagonizing Republican primary voters, while simultaneously avoiding the kinds of extreme positions which could harm him in a general election. 1) Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., nearly doubled up Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., raising $1.2 million and finishing the period with $3.2 million in the bank. Heller raised just $675,000, ending with $2.8 million in the bank. For a race that is expected to be very close on most markers, including fundraising, the disparity is a big victory for Berkley and a major warning signal for Heller, who as the sitting senator, cannot afford to fall further behind in the money chase.
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