Romney tries, fails to defend 47% comments; poll shows he failed on Libya comments; and other Tuesday stories

Published September 18, 2012 12:40PM (EDT)

This week's Romney-plosion: Mitt Romney held a press conference at 10 last night to respond to a leaked video from a fundraiser showing him dismissing 47 percent of Americans as dependent on the government. Romney took just three questions and mostly defended his comments, though he said they were inartfully worded. It likely will not satisfy the press, who want Romney to respond in more detail to the comments and state whether he agrees with the sentiment. In a devastating column, conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote the comments were “a country-club fantasy. It’s what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney.”

Last week's Romney-plosion: Voters were overwhelmingly turned off by Romney's harsh criticism of President Obama's handling of the attacks on American diplomatic posts in the Middle East, according to a new Pew poll. Just 26 percent of Americans approved of Romney's comments that Obama “sympathized” with the attackers, while 48 percent disapproved. Meanwhile, 45 percent of those polled said they approved of the president's handling of the situation, versus 36 percent who disapproved.

Afghan quagmire: After a series of deadly attacks on American-led NATO troops from Afghans in uniform, the military coalition is stopping most ground-level joint patrols with Afghan Army and police forces. The joint patrols are central to the U.S. strategy in the country, and halting them could undercut the training mission at the heart of the Western exit strategy.

$606 million and counting: Outside groups have accounted for almost half of all ad spending during this presidential general election, according to an MSNBC analysis. Groups supporting the presidential candidates but not affiliated with the campaign, including super PACs, have spent $267 million of the $605.7 million spent on television and radio ads.

Warren up: A third poll in as many days finds Democrat Elizabeth Warren pulling ahead of Republican Sen. Scott Brown after a long period of trailing behind. The Suffolk University/WHDH-TV survey released late Monday night has Warren at 48 percent and Brown at 44 percent, within the poll’s margin of error but the opposite of a similar poll in May.

Ryan's phony body image:  Paul Ryan likely lied about marathon time, and now, according to an exhaustive report from Slate, it seems he lied about his body fat percentage as well.

By Alex Seitz-Wald

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2012 Elections Income Inequality Libya Embassy Attack Mitt Romney