It's Do or Die for Romney – (via Politico) "The kickoff presidential debate Wednesday in Denver is shaping up as do-or-die time for Mitt Romney, with the pressure intensifying this week after a flurry of swing-state polls showed President Barack Obama opening up a sizable lead. Republicans, fretting about dwindling days for Romney to turn around his campaign, fear that if their nominee doesn’t come away with a decisive first-debate victory, he’ll continue to spiral downward and lose his last, best shot for a comeback. The fear among donors and strategists: a break-even or so-so performance would subject Romney to a self-reinforcing cycle of criticism and pessimism in his own party that will send other Republicans fleeing and make it difficult for Romney to project a closing argument against Obama over the drumbeat of why-are-you-losing questions. So the Mile-High face-off has gone from merely important to critical for a challenger in need of a break."
The Lone Poll in Romney's Favor? – A new poll conducted by Susan B. Anthony List, a group devoted to electing anti-abortion candidates, indicates 54% of "likely swing voters in battleground states" (including 53% of women) say they're less likely to vote for Obama after learning that "he voted against a law to give equal treatment and constitutional protections to babies born alive after a failed abortion." According to the poll, voters also say (49% to 25% margin) that they're less likely to support Obama after being told he included taxpayer funding of abortion in Obamacare. Poll here.
The Other Side of Mitt Romney – A new photo of Mitt Romney from 1968 in France reveals the rarely seen personal side of the candidate. While serving as a Mormon missionary in France, Mitt took several photos staged by his friends and intended for his high-school girlfriend and soon-to-be-wife Ann Davies. The romantic photo certainly presents Romney in a different light.
David Cameron Flunks Letterman's History Test – David Cameron struggled to answer a series of questions on British music and the Magna Carta during his appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. 'You have found me out. That is bad, I have ended my career on your show tonight,' the prime minister said, after fluffing Letterman's mock citizenship test during the talk show. Here's what Pundit William Bauer had to say: "Why David Cameron felt the need to appear on the Letterman show is beyond my understanding. All he succeeded in doing was looking and, probably, feeling uncomfortable."
More News From Across the Pond – After much anticipation, Harry Potter author JK Rowling's new book "The Casual Vacancy," a novel concerning a parish council election in a small West Country town, has finally been released. Unfortunately for the legendary author, the early reviews have been mixed. (via The Guardian) "There are some superficial excitements here, in that the younger characters get up to things that Harry probably never dreamed of: taking drugs, swearing, self-harming, having grimy casual sex, singing along to Rihanna. The new book contains regular outbursts of four-letter words, along with the memorable phrase "that miraculously unguarded vagina" – which, leaked in a pre-publication profile, has caused a flurry of jokes on Twitter about Harry Potter and the Miraculously Unguarded Vagina. Generally, though, The Casual Vacancy is a solid, traditional and determinedly unadventurous English novel."
"We Are Hungry" – Students at Wallace County High School in Sharon Springs, Kansas have released a new video in reaction to new school nutritional rules that limit the amount of calories served. Watch the parody here. In addition, students at Cut Bank High School in Montana say they are now resorting to a second lunch at McDonald's or bringing brown bags to supplement what the school serves, because it's not enough for growing teenagers. According to Salley Young, a Montana School Nutrition Association executive board member and food service manager at Greenfield Elementary School, "New USDA school lunch guidelines, part of President Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, require doubling the servings of fruits and vegetables, with less sodium and fat and no meat for breakfast. The rules limit calories, so as First Lady Michelle Obama has said, school lunches don’t undo parents’ efforts to ensure their children eat healthy meals. The problem, however, is in the limit of protein — meats, cheese, sour cream, yogurt (but not milk) — and grains to 2 ounces each for young children and 3 ounces for high schoolers. The new rules set the minimum at only 1 oz. of protein per meal."
On TV Tonight – NBC’s Natalie Morales sits down with female soldiers from every branch of the military who say they were raped while serving their country and then were retaliated against for coming forward. She also interviews Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who has admitted this is a serious problem. Each year, more than 3,000 military men and women report being sexually assaulted by fellow service members. Officials say the number of actual assaults is far higher, closer to 19,000. The interview is on at 10:00 p.m. Check out a preview clip here.
Meet the One and Only Chris Miles – As part of our editors' blog, we'll be introducing each one of our awesome editors so you can get to know better the people behind the stories. Today, we present editor and SEO extraordinaire Chris Miles. He talks about the new media landscape, shares his favorite news sites, reveals his journalism dream job, and even shares what he does for fun. GIFs, Imgurs, and Youtube videos include. Read all about Cmiles here.
Congrats! Robert Lee was published on the front page of Townhall today, the third pundit in three days to hold that honor. Bravo to Robert for his article Presidential Polls: Romney Tax Returns and Obama Libya Response Will Shift the Race in Romney's Favor.
Top PolicyMic Stories – The Subway Ad That Calls Me a "Savage" (Linda Sarsour) – Pam Geller and her allies should strive for rational debate rather than demagoguery.
Despite Controversy Over Free Contraception for NYC High School Students, Sex Ed Program is a Step in the Right Direction (Sarah Swong) – While NYC has made birth control more accessible to teens, another report about American women's misconceptions about pregnancy reminds us that resources need to be paired with proper education.
Apple vs. Samsung: What This Bitter Rivalry Teaches Us About Obama vs. Romney (Adam Hogue) – Samsung, Wal-Mart and Mitt Romney are all considered underdogs. But, not all of them are playing their cards right.
"Last Resort" Premiere: Risky Ideas Come Together in Mainstream TV (Pete DAlessandro) – "Last Resort" follows in the "Lost" footsteps. A network show that gives cable big shots like AMC and HBO a run for their money.
What We’re Reading – Why I refuse to vote for Barack Obama (The Atlantic); Inside Obama's HQ (Financial Times); Obama's end-of-term report card (The Economist); Never talk back to a Saudi judge (The Global Mail); How not to lead the world: The UN General Assembly is a lesson on failed leadership (Foreign Policy); We've already passed the tipping point for orbital debris (Spectrum); America's 50 best cities (Business Week, hat-tip: Michael Wang).