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Hotline Sort: Calling On Clinton

6) Mitt Romney released an energy plan today that "includes granting states more regulatory power over drilling on federal lands, revitalizing the nuclear power industry, and approving the Keystone XL pipeline to carry more Canadian oil to refineries in the United States." 5) The Obama campaign announced it will be the first political campaign in history to accept small donations through cell phone text messages. The program will allow supporters to send contributions of less than $50 by texting "GIVE" to 62262 -- which corresponds with the letters in "Obama." Text message contributors will see their donations charged to a given month's wireless bill. 4) Embattled Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin may not be attending the Republican National Convention in Tampa, but he met with leading conservative groups there Wednesday. Politico reports Akin met "with members of the Council for National Policy, a secretive coalition of powerful conservative and evangelical leaders, activists, and donors." Showing how the contours of the Senate race have changed, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill joked to a voter at a campaign stop: "You know, everything's pretty boring these days. ... We get no action on this campaign. Nobody's paying any attention" Meanwhile, the Romney campaign is arguing that while the Akin controversy "wreaked havoc" on the campaign's message, voters still are overwhelmingly concerned about the economy, and don't need to change strategy in response. 3) The front-page headline in today's Wall Street Journal: "Vow to Tame Partisan Rancor Eludes Obama Four Years In."

The night Barack Obama won the White House, he tried to summon forth the spirit of national unity he often invoked as a candidate, urging Americans not to think of themselves as fractured into "red states and blue states." "While the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress," he told the throng gathered in Chicago and millions more watching on TV. Almost four years later, few think those rifts have been healed. One of the central tenets of the 2008 Obama campaign was a promise to usher in an almost post-partisan era in Washington, but by most measures the capital's divisive tone has grown worse. The rancor has bled into the campaign, which has been marked by unusually negative rhetoric from both sides.

2) Ohio continues to look like a favorable state for the Obama campaign, according to a new CBS/New York Times/Quinnipiac survey which shows Obama leading Romney 50 percent to 44 percent. Ohio was a state that the Obama campaign felt pessimistic about early on in the campaign, but Romney's relatively high unfavorable ratings has bolstered the president's fortunes in the Rust Belt battleground. One silver lining for Romney in Ohio: He holds a 48-43 percent lead among independents. For more on the just-released swing-state polls in Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida, check out Hotline polling editor Steven Shepard's full overview in National Journal. 1) Bill Clinton is featured for the first time in an Obama campaign ad, and he makes the case that the president is best-equipped to manage the economy for the next four years. "This is a clear choice. The Republican plan is to cut more taxes on upper income people and go back to deregulation. That's what got us in trouble in the first place," Clinton says in the spot. "President Obama has a plan to rebuild America from the ground up, investing in innovation, education, and job training. It only works if there is a strong middle class." The Romney campaign has invoked Clinton's presidency with increasing regularity, seeking to contrast Obama's more-liberal governing record with Clinton's centrist approach. The ad is airing in eight battleground states: New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Colorado, Ohio, Iowa and Nevada.

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