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Hotline Sort: The Freshman GOP Defectors Hotline Sort: The Freshman GOP Defectors

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Hotline Sort: The Freshman GOP Defectors

4. Former President George W. Bush wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today, laying out a global freedom agenda. "America does not get to choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or elsewhere. It only gets to choose what side it is on," Bush writes. "It takes courage to ignite a freedom revolution. But it also takes courage to secure a freedom revolution through structural reform. And both types of bravery deserve our support." Bush has been keeping a low profile since leaving office, but has been outspoken about the need to spread democracy and freedom abroad. While he hasn't involved himself in the presidential contest, the op-ed serves as a subtle contrast to the Obama administration, which has placed less emphasis on democracy promotion in its foreign policy agenda. 3. The super PAC headed by businessman Joe Ricketts is sharply denying that they had any involvement in pitching an advertising campaign tying President Obama to his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Ending Spending Action Fund super PAC spokesman Brian Baker said the plan by GOP adman Fred Davis was one of many solicited by the group, and it was an immediate no-go. "We run an organization based on fiscal responsibility. They know we asked for a document based on ending spending, fiscal responsibility and jobs in the economy. This is far afield from that," Baker said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." Baker reiterated on the show that the super PAC's focus is entirely on spending issues, and the Wright pitch was inconsistent with those values. Meanwhile, Ricketts' involvement in the campaign is prompting Chicago Mayor (and former Obama chief of staff) Rahm Emanuel to play hardball with the Chicago Cubs owner. It could mean plans for Wrigley Field's renovation could be at risk. 2. A new Sachs-Mason Dixon poll shows Romney with a narrow lead over President Obama, 47 to 44 percent. Some interesting crosstabs: Obama holds only a six-point lead among women voters, 47 to 41 percent, while Romney leads among independents, 47 to 41 percent. And Romney's base looks to be seniors, leading among 50-and-older voters 51 to 39 percent, while Obama leads the under-50 set by seven points, 49 to 42 percent. 1. The Romney campaign is up with its first general election ad, telling voters his plans in the first weeks of a Romney administration - approve the Keystone XL pipeline, repeal President Obama's health care law, and introduce tax cuts and tax reforms. The 30-second ad is airing in Iowa, Ohio and Virginia - three of the biggest battleground states. Per NBC's Domenico Montanaro, the ad is up in seven markets: Davenport, IA; Des Moines, IA; Roanoke, VA; Richmond, VA; Norfolk, VA; Cincinnati, OH; and Cleveland, OH. Romney is also up with a Spanish-language version of the spot. Scott Bland contributed to this report

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