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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

As the Democratic convention wraps up Thursday, the Romney campaign is preparing to launch a new round of ad buys worth $4.5 million in eight swing states, according to NBC News.

NBC News pegs his ad spending at roughly $1 million in Florida, Ohio and Virginia; $600,000 in North Carolina and additional funds in Colorado, Iowa, Nevada and New Hampsire.

Two Romney spokespersons declined requests from TPM to confirm or dispute the figures. One said the campaign does not discuss ad buys.

The news comes alongside a report that the Romney campaign and his allies have pulled their ads from the battleground states of Michigan -- the candidate's home state -- and Pennsylvania.

The NBC report notes that the Obama campaign is outspending the Romney campaign in ads, but when outside groups are factored in, the Republican nominee has the edge by $303 million to $269 million. 

Paul Ryan's counterpart on the House Budget Committee, Ranking Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), on Wednesday night attacked him for backing Bush-era billd that created a multi-trillion dollar debt.

"Congressman Ryan, America is literally in your debt," Van Hollen said.

"When President Clinton left office, America had projected surpluses of trillions of dollars over the next decade. Then came two wars, two tax cuts tilted to the wealthy and a new entitlement. Republicans didn't pay for any of it. Paul Ryan voted for all of it. On top of that, they left behind an economy in free-fall."

The Maryland Democrat bashed Romney and Ryan for embracing the "rigid ideology" of trickle down economics that he said "crashed in the real world."

Appearing on CNN Wednesday, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright decried Mitt Romney's criticism of President Obama over Israel policy "ludicrous."

"Well, I think that's one of the more ludicrous statements that was made in Tampa," she said.

Albright was referring to Romney's argument that Obama's foreign policy has been perilous for the security of Israel and enhanced the likelihood that Iran will obtain a nuclear weapon.

"And Governor Romney, I think, needs to examine what President Obama's record has been on Israel," she said. "And also to hear what many Israeli officials say in terms of President Obama's support for Israel. As you know, helping on some of the military issues, the iron dome complex. Giving Israel a military edge. I truly think that is a statement that makes absolutely no sense by Governor Romney along with a few others."

The Democratic convention hit a snag Wednesday when, under criticism, the party platform was revised to support Jerusalem being Israel's capital.

Congressional Democrats are helping their party court women voters at their national convention in Charlotte this week.

A report (PDF) released Wednesday by Democrats on the House Energy & Commerce Committee counts 55 "anti-women" bills House Republicans have passed since they took over in 2011. They range from restricting abortion rights and de-funding women's health programs to slashing food security and weakening domestic violence protections.

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House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), a champion the Bowles-Simpson deficit plan, on Wednesday attacked Paul Ryan for using the fiscal commission as a political weapon against President Obama after helping ensure its defeat.

"My friend Paul Ryan talks about fiscal responsibility, but voted to put two wars on the credit card. He voted to spend trillions of dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. He voted for a prescription drug benefit with no plan to pay for it. He abandoned the bipartisan principle that we must pay for what we buy," Hoyer said at the Democratic convention. "And he voted against the balanced deficit reduction plan produced by a bipartisan commission—a fact, by the way, that he didn't tell us in his speech last week."

He said that while Democrats tried to fix the economy, "Republicans unfortunately played politics" and rooted for Obama to fail.

"Let's review the history," he said. "Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, said that Republicans' number one priority was the defeat of President Obama. Not the defeat of terrorism, not the creation of jobs, not the reduction of our deficit and debt, not ensuring access to health care, not educating our children. But to simply defeat our president."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Wednesday night said the election is in large part a referendum on Medicare.

"Democrats will preserve and strengthen Medicare. Republicans will end the Medicare guarantee," she said at the Democratic convention. "It's just plain wrong. When you go to the polls, vote for Medicare. Vote for President Obama!"

She warned that Republicans might also try to fundamentally alter Social Security if elected: "Social Security is on the ballot. Democrats enacted it. Democrats will fight to preserve it. Some Republicans want to replace the guarantee of Social Security with the gamble of private accounts. It's just plain wrong. When you go to the polls, vote for Social Security. Vote for President Obama!"

At the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night, the White House dispatched its top health official to make the case against the Romney-Ryan plan to convert Medicare into a voucher-like system.

But Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius attacked the plan with a claim based on an outmoded analysis.

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Democrats have run from health care ever since the Affordable Care Act passed in March 2010, fearful of being burned by a political firestorm. At the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte Tuesday night, they weren't running.

The opening night of the convention featured an aggressive embrace of the party's most consequential achievement in a generation, from an emotional clip package highlighting the benefits of the law for Americans with pre-existing conditions to speeches emphatically endorsing the bill that Republicans derisively dubbed "Obamacare."

"For us Democrats, Obamacare is a badge of honor," said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services. "No matter who you are, what stage of life you're in, this law is a good thing."

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The opening night of the Democratic convention included a video tribute to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and his accomplishments -- one of which was socking it to Mitt Romney.

The most crowd-pleasing parts of the seven-minute video Tuesday night featured snippets of debates from the 1994 contest for U.S. Senate between Kennedy and Romney, which were notably unflattering for the now-Republican nominee for president.

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During the opening night of the Democratic convention, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid again swung at Mitt Romney for refusing to release more tax returns.

"When you look at the one tax return he has released it's obvious why. It's obvious why there's only been one. We learned that he pays a lower tax rate than middle-class families; we learned that he chose Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island tax shelters over American institutions," Reid said Tuesday. "We could only imagine what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the American people a dozen years of tax returns -- like his father did."

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