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Romney goes from Etch a Sketch to sketchy (WaPo)
E.J. Dionne writes that President Obama called out Mitt Romney in the second debate for having nothing to back up his tax plan except his own promises that the math works. Is it too much to expect a candidate to meet the fact-checking standards of Wikipedia?
What Does Mitt Romney Really Want for Women? (The Nation)
NND Editor Bryce Covert is glad women finally got some attention, but even if Romney collects them in binders like prized trading cards, his views on working parents, public sector jobs, contraception, and the safety net would leave them far from mint condition.
The Five Worst Ideas Romney and Obama Agree On (Bloomberg)
Josh Barro writes that despite the wide gulf between the candidates on many issues, they've managed to find common ground on the idea that we should all have a lungful of coal dust and a blind eye toward housing. Maybe bipartisanship's not that great.
Romney's facts are curious things (WaPo)
Dana Milbank notes that Romney's claim that his five-point plan would create 12 million jobs in four years has become the centerpiece of his economic pitch, but the studies he cites don't agree -- though they do suggest a zero-point plan would work just as well.
For the Unemployed, Romney's Debate Was Full of "Wind Jobs" (HuffPo)
R.J. Eskow argues that Romney's endorsement of "wind jobs" in Iowa was in keeping with his positions on issues like environmental protection, higher education, and free trade, which are generally intangible, sometimes destructive, and constantly shifting direction.
Here's Proof That Mitt Romney Does Believe Government Creates Jobs (Daily Change)
Zaid Jilani points out that the candidate who says "Government doesn't create jobs!" like it's a nervous tic is also running ads about how many jobs will be lost if Obama cuts defense spending. Or do the jobs only count if they let the GOP play toy soldiers?
Polarization Is Here to Stay (Breakthrough Journal)
Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Mark Schmitt writes that progressives must face the reality that Obama's experiment with using dialogue and compromise to break down conservative opposition produced less impressive results than a baking soda volcano.
Blue States are from Scandinavia, Red States are from Guatemala (TNR)
Jonathan Cohn argues that the blue state/red state divide isn't just about pure partisanship or what we call a can of Coke; it's about whether we want a social contract that gives us more for more or less for less, and whether Team Less gets more anyway.
The Campaign Finance Free-For-All: How We Got to This Point (ProPublica)
Justin Elliott talks to Columbia Law professor Richard Briffault about how our campaign finance system devolved from the strict regulations put in place after Watergate to a status quo in which candidates may as well be renting out ad space on their foreheads.
Housing Prices and Income Inequality (NYT)
Binyamin Appelbaum highlights research that shows many low-skilled workers are priced out of places like New York and California that once represented the Land of Opportunity, though there's plenty of prime real estate left in the less-promising Meh Territories.