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How will the markets do today? Are we in for another triple-digit plunge? The Dow has lost nearly 2,000 points in two weeks, and the global markets today suggest that the selloff will continue. 

So the political question is what President Obama does now. His response yesterday was calm, typical, and perhaps not at all what this crisis demands. Can he show the leadership to get out of this crisis? Or will the same old Washington blame-games rule the day?

Mitt Romney’s back on the campaign trail and he’s campaigning on the S&P downgrade. The Obama campaign knows Romney’s the one Republican with a solid chance to beat the president, and Politico reports they’re studying George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign playbook for hints on how to take down Romney. This is the kind of thing that will make Democrats queasy – but Politico reports it’s a two-prong strategy:

“The first is personal: Obama’s re-elect will portray the public Romney as inauthentic, unprincipled and, in a word used repeatedly by Obama’s advisers in about a dozen interviews, ‘weird.’…The second aspect of the campaign to define Romney is his record as CEO of Bain Capital…Obama officials intend to frame Romney as the very picture of greed in the great recession – a sort of political Gordon Gekko.”

 

In other election news, Wisconsin voters go to the polls in what may determine control of the state Senate. Six Republican state senators are facing recall challenges today. And if the Democrats win three of them (and beat back recall challenges next week) they’ll emerge with control of the Senate. It’s the culmination of the fight over Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-union policy, and it may go a long way towards shaping the presidential fight in this battleground state for next year.

 

Finally, the U.S. House of Representatives has ended its page program after 175 years. Blackberries and other technical devices have apparently made the pages obsolete.

 

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Hardball - Let Me Start

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