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Today’s Headlines – Oct. 10, 2011

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports about how Mitt Romney taking heat from the other GOP hopefuls, with some of the fire focusing on his Massachusetts health overhaul.

The New York Times: Many In Both Parties Want A Window Into The Deficit Reduction Panel’s Work
On one crucial point, a powerful Congressional committee seeking ways to reduce the federal budget deficit has managed to produce a rare bipartisan consensus: Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives in and out of Congress say the panel is doing too much of its work in secret. Moreover, they say, the secrecy could make it more difficult for the 12-member panel to win acceptance for its recommendations from the public and from other members of Congress (Pear, 10/10).

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The Associated Press/Washington Post: GOP Candidates Hone Their Criticism Of Romney As They Look To Trip Him Up On Home Turf
Romney’s rivals readied criticism on health care policy, cultural issues and environmental positions. Even with a focus on the economy and voters most concerned about 9.1 percent unemployment, there was scant chance Romney would be able to dodge questions about his overall record (10/11).

The Washington Post: The Fact Checker: Rick Perry’s New Ad About Mitt Romney And ‘RomneyCare’
Texas Gov. Rick Perry launched an ad Monday attacking Mitt Romney on the healthcare-reform law that not so affectionately bears his name among conservatives. The overall theme of the ad–that Romney’s health care law is intellectual father of Obama’s law–is correct. But then it goes even further than that. … We’ve already scrutinized Perry’s attack on the Romney book edits, so we won’t spend any more time on that. Suffice it to say we awarded three Pinocchios to the Texas governor for manufacturing a phony issue (Hicks, 10/11).

Politico: SCOTUS Adds Health Care Petitioner
Liberty University is the latest in a series of petitioners to ask the Supreme Court to review its case against the health care reform law. The conservative university filed its petition, along with two individuals, on Friday (Haberkorn, 10/10).

The Associated Press/ Wall Street Journal: University Asks High Court To Review Health-Law Ruling
Liberty University appealed the dismissal of its lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s health care law to the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. Mathew Staver, an attorney for the university and two individuals who sued, said a petition asking the justices to review the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling was electronically transmitted early Monday morning. He said he expects the court to decide whether to consider the case before it takes its December break (10/10).

The Washington Post: Abortion-Funding Battle To Heat Up Again This Week
After months of focusing on economic rather than social issues, the House this week is poised to take up a measure that will bring the abortion-rights debate back to the floor for the first time since May. On Friday, the House will consider H.R. 358, the “Protect Life Act.” The measure, introduced by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), would prohibit federal funds from going toward any health care plan that covers abortion services; it also would block funding from being withheld from institutions that are opposed to providing abortions (Sonmez, 10/10).

The New York Times: An Innovator Shapes An Empire
The university is widely regarded among scientists as one of the nation’s crown jewels of biomedical research, and a birthplace of biotechnology and innovation. But the public knows it less well, and Dr. Desmond-Hellmann wants to make U.C.S.F. as famous as the Mayo Clinic. The school is undergoing an enormous expansion in a difficult economy, and as a physician and scientist, she hopes to raise it to an even higher plane. As a businesswoman, she is determined to make sure it has enough money to get there (Grady, 10/10).

The Washington Post: Do Programs That Pay People To Lose Weight Really Work?
Such experiments live at the nexus of cost-benefit analysis, behavioral psychology and the obesity crisis. The best programs are carefully calculated to exploit human nature: our love of a windfall, the risk of losing a small but significant financial stake, the camaraderie of a team effort, the heat of competition. All in the hope it may push us to do something difficult and unpleasant: shed pounds (Bernstein, 10/10).

Los Angeles Times: Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Bills Expanding Drug User Access To Syringes
Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed two bills that will expand access to sterile syringes for drug users in an effort to combat the spread of hepatitis C and HIV. The first bill, written by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), allows people to buy syringes at pharmacies without a prescription. California was one of the few states where this was illegal, other than in a few pilot program areas (Marcum, 10/11).