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Sahil Kapur

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.

Articles by Sahil

Obama campaign senior adviser said on Fox News Sunday that the president leads Mitt Romney -- albeit slighly -- in the battleground states, but expects a close contest on Election Day.

"I think that we have a lead in this race, it's a slight lead. It's going to be a close race," he said. "We expected a close race. We're going to have a close race. And we're doing everything that we can to make our case to the American people, and Charlotte's going to be a big part of that."

Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod attacked Paul Ryan on Fox News Sunday for lamenting the failure of the Bowles-Simpson fiscal commisson that Ryan helped scuttle.

He pointed out that Ryan "voted for every single one of the policies in the last decade that are at the root of the explosion of the debt ... and [Republicans'] plans today would explode them in the future."

"They are not credible on the deficit," he said, referring to the GOP's categorical refusal to raise taxes. "They have no standing to talk about deficits."

Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that the Republican convention was "a terrible failure," arguing that Mitt Romney did not detail how he would govern economically.

Asked on Fox News Sunday whether Americans are better off than they were four years ago, he said the economy is "in a better position" in that it's not losing hundreds of thousands of jobs per month. "Are we where we need to be? No," he said.

Axelrod added that the auto workers whose companies were bailed out, and Americans who now have health care, are better off. Sticking to script, he argued that Romney's plan would help the wealthy and not the middle class.

"We're a unified party," he said, looking ahead to the Democratic convention.

A centerpiece of the Romney campaign's case for throwing President Obama out of office was curiously absent from its presidential and vice presidential nominee's speeches to the Republican convention this week.

The campaign has been under the media microscope for falsely portraying the president's policy of allowing states to find new ways to move recipients from welfare to work as "gutting welfare reform."

The word "welfare" did not appear in Mitt Romney's address Thursday night, despite the fact that his campaign has spent millions of dollars in ads inaccurately attacking the policy, and that the claim features prominently in his stump speeches.

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) can't -- or won't -- say why Mitt Romney is attacking President Obama for Medicare provider cuts that Paul Ryan's budget embraced.

In an interview with Fortune magazine published hours before Romney addressed the Republican convention Thursday, Cantor was asked about the inconsistency of the Romney campaign attacking Obama's Medicare reimbursement cuts, which were included in his vice presidential nominee's budget blueprint.

"The assumption was that, um, the, the, ah, again -- I probably can't speak to that in an exact way so I better just not," Cantor said, as quoted by Fortune.

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The media's backlash against Paul Ryan and the factually unsound premises of his Wednesday convention speech continued well into Thursday, and turned what the GOP hoped would be glowing headlines into a less lustrous mix of fawning and criticism.

"There are some things that I think were factually questionable," said Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Thursday, adding himself to the list of unexpected journalists to question the accuracy of the would-be vice president's arguments.

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"I marked at least seven or eight points I'm sure the fact checkers will have some opportunities to dispute if they want to go forward," said CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer on air after Paul Ryan's speech Wednesday night. "I'm sure they will."

The vice presidential nominee's address to the Republican convention received rave reviews from conservatives who ate up his denunciation of President Obama. The media highlighted their adulation in early stories about the speech.

But the Wisconsin congressman's speech strained facts on multiple occasions. And that has rankled more than just the usual suspects. Several mainstream outlets that have praised him in the past pointedly went after his misleading portrayals of critical issues at stake in this election.

The Associated Press took on Ryan's misleading assertions in an article headlined, "FACT CHECK: Ryan takes factual shortcuts in speech," which included a point-by-point refutation of various claims he made.



The AP article took on his claims about Medicare, the stimulus package, an auto plant in his home state and the Bowles-Simpson fiscal commission, among others.

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A former Clinton administration official -- who famously opposed the 1996 welfare reform law and publicly split with his longtime friend Bill Clinton -- is adding himself to the list of experts who decry Mitt Romney's attacks on President Obama's welfare policy as false.

"The Romney attack is a complete invention," Peter Edelman, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and former Assistant Secretary for Bill Clinton's Department of Health and Human Services, told TPM. He labeled it a "distortion" based on a "complete fabrication" in service of "pure politics."

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Two Republican governors are backing away from their expressed interest in welfare reform waivers now that Mitt Romney has made the issue a centerpiece of his campaign against President Obama.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval were among five governors who sought flexibility for the states on alternative ways to achieve the law's goal of moving recipients from welfare to work. In July, the Obama administration offered states the opportunity to receive a waiver from the 1996 law's work participation requirements under the condition that more recipients find jobs. If not, they said, the waivers will be denied or rescinded.

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Mitt Romney is advancing a new -- mostly ahistorical -- reason voters should throw President Obama out of office: A Democratic Congress gave Obama everything he wanted and he still failed to turn the economy around.

"I do believe that people of this country are looking for someone who can get the country growing again with more jobs and more take-home pay, and I think they realize this president had four years to do that," Romney told Politico in an interview published Monday. "He got every piece of legislation he wanted passed, and it didn't work. I think they want someone who has a different record, and I do."

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