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Hotline Sort: Romney's Olympic Botch Hotline Sort: Romney's Olympic Botch

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Hotline Sort: Romney's Olympic Botch

5) In Hawaii, Rep. Mazie Hirono and former Rep. Ed Case debated for the final time prior to the August 11 Democratic primary. Case painted Hirono as too liberal to represent the state, and Hirono went after Case's record on Congress, including on immigration and social issues. From the Honolulu Star-Advertiser:

In the live 90-minute television debate... the moderate Case sought to make a distinction between what he described as the "easy votes" as opposed to the "right votes." "Mazie believes that a budget is not important. Mazie believes that a budget is an inconvenience. I believe that you have to provide some fiscal responsibility and stability in order to afford Planned Parenthood - for assistance for women - in order to afford a whole range of items into the next generation." ... Hirono, an immigrant who came to Hawaii from Japan as a young girl, asked Case whether he regretted voting for "Arizona-style legislation" such as giving state authorities the power to deport illegal immigrants. Case at first said Hirono statement was not true, then later claimed she was cherry-picking through thousands of votes. He said he believes in legal immigration.

Hirono worked to counter the perception that she's too liberal this week, cutting an ad with Alaska GOP Rep. Don Young. Meanwhile, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser endorsed Hirono in the primary. 4) First in Sort: North Dakota Senate nominee Rick Berg is up with a new ad, running statewide today. The ad features four women sitting in a diner, talking about Democratic nominee Heidi Heitkamp. "There she goes again," says one woman, looking at a newspaper. "Heidi Heitkamp attacking Rick Berg." Another woman answers that Heitkamp is trying to hide her support for "Obamacare" and for President Obama. Heitkamp will need to run well ahead of the president to win in North Dakota, and Republicans are consistently tying her to Obama and the health care bill while she has drawn distinctions. 3) Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., released a new television ad featuring former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn, a Democrat who has endorsed him in his reelection battle with Elizabeth Warren. Brown's been making a bipartisan pitch in his reelection bid, and the ad is an effort to drive home the narrative that Democrats and Republicans alike are fond of him. Sullivan, speaking in the ad, hits a few of Brown's favorite themes: He calls Brown a "regular guy" and an "independent voice," and says that "Scott Brown is a person you can work with." We mentioned in Thursday's Sort that NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg is hosting a fundraiser for Brown, which is a good get for the senator who needs to flash centrist credentials at every turn. It's also worth noting, that in 2009, Bloomberg endorsed and fundraised for Democrat Alan Khazei in the special Senate election campaign that Brown won in early 2010. 2) On Thursday, Priorities USA, the super PAC backing Obama, pulled their negative Mitt Romney ad that used archival Olympic footage after the U.S. Olympic Committee registered a complaint on copyright grounds. Friday, the Obama campaign released a positive ad that will air during the Olympics' opening ceremony. The spot, called "I believe," features an Obama speech from the campaign trail where he talks about the middle class and growing the economy, and calls America "the greatest nation on Earth." 1) Romney had a lousy day in London on Thursday. Plain and simple. ABC News reports:

He hasn't been in London for two full days and already he's been verbally upbraided by London's mayor and been the subject of a snide comment by the British prime minister. He referred publicly to the head of the British spy agency MI6, which apparently in England is just not done. And he's had an unnamed staffer criticized for comments about a shared "Anglo Saxon heritage."

For Romney, it's not the comment about disconcerting early reports about the Olympics or the negative British press he's earned that is worrisome (voters won't care in the fall). It's that he swung and missed at an easy opportunity to look presidential before the many voters still unfamiliar with him. Instead, he embarrassed himself. The task of looking presidential will follow Romney all the way to November, and he can't afford outings like this in September or October. National Journal's Caren Bohan, who traveled with Obama during his 2008 overseas trip remembers a pol who burnished his leadership credentials at a time when voters were wondering -- as they are now about Romney -- whether he was up to the task of being president. Romney is kicking off his own trip well short of the benchmark the president set as a candidate four years ago.

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