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Today’s Headlines – Sept. 11, 2012

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports exploring how, based on his recent comments, Mitt Romney’s health law replacement goals could become tricky.

The New York Times: It Will Be Tricky For Romney To Keep Best Of Health Law While Repealing It
Mitt Romney’s pledge to guarantee access to health insurance for people with longstanding medical problems confused some experts and highlighted the difficulty of repealing the new health care law while keeping some of its popular features (Pear and Goodnough, 9/10).

NPR: Mitt Romney’s Shifting Stance On Health Care
Mitt Romney seemed to make health care news in a Sunday interview on NBC’s Meet the Press. He said he might not want to repeal all of the Affordable Care Act. … Of course not getting rid of the entire Affordable Care Act is not only an express violation of the Republican Party 2012 platform, but also is at odds with Romney’s own position as detailed on the campaign’s website. So, not surprisingly, it was only a matter of hours before the campaign walked the candidate’s comments back (Rovner, 9/10).

For more headlines …

Politico: Mitt Romney Struggles With ACA Replacement Goals
By the time Mitt Romney faces President Barack Obama for their first debate next month, he’ll have to figure out a sharper way to explain what he would do to replace “Obamacare.” That’s the lesson of his “Meet the Press” experience this weekend, when he tried to tell the viewers that he’d pursue two of the most popular goals of the health care law — insurance for people with pre-existing conditions and coverage for young adults — and promptly had to reassure conservatives that he didn’t actually mean he’d leave parts of “Obamacare” in place (Norman, 9/11).

The Washington Post: Among Likely Voters, Obama-Romney Close
Last week’s Democratic National Convention helped President Obama improve his standing against Republican Mitt Romney, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, but did little to reduce voter concern about his handling of the economy. The survey shows that the race remains close among likely voters, with Obama at 49 percent and Romney at 48 percent, virtually unchanged from a poll taken just before the conventions. But among a wider sample of all registered voters, Obama holds an apparent edge, topping Romney at 50 percent to 44 percent, and has clear advantages on important issues in the campaign when compared with his rival (Balz and Cohen, 9/11).

Politico: Poll: Obama Has Double-Digit Advantage On Health Care, Medicare
According to the poll, 54 percent of likely voters think Obama would better handle the issue of health care, compared with 45 percent for Romney. Before the conventions, on Aug. 22-23, Obama led by only 1 point on the issue, 49 percent to 48 percent. On Medicare, the disparity is even more pronounced: Obama leads Romney by 11 points, 54 percent to 43 percent, compared with a 1-point lead back in the pre-convention August poll. Health care is an issue on which the public has been deeply divided, even in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling earlier this summer (Schultheis, 9/10).

Politico: Critics: We Were ‘Kind’ To Mitt On Medicare
On Sunday, President Barack Obama’s campaign used a new report from the Center for American Progress to argue that Romney’s Medicare plan would force seniors to pay more out of pocket to provide tax cuts to the wealthy while padding insurance company profits. The Romney campaign fired back, arguing that the report’s authors included a former Obama campaign adviser and a former Democratic Senate aide who worked on the Affordable Care Act. In a conference call Monday afternoon, report author David Cutler — the former Obama campaign adviser — argued that he relied on conservative estimates to conclude, among other findings, that the average senior retiring a decade from now would have to pay $59,500 more for lifetime care under the Romney plan (Millman, 9/10).

The New York Times: Nominees Leave Congressional Candidates To Stump Alone
Out on the campaign trail, President Obama talks about Medicare (Republicans would gut it), tax cuts (Mitt Romney wants to give them to rich people like himself) and Osama bin Laden (Did you know? He’s dead.). He even talks about the unemployment rate (it is still too high, but job growth has increased 30 straight months after the economic mess that greeted him when he took office). And he talks about Congress (lawmakers should get moving and pass his jobs bill). But what the president never talks about is getting more of his party members elected to the House and the Senate. And, for that matter, neither does Mr. Romney (Cooper and Peters, 9/10).

The New York Times: Missteps And Surprises Turn Battle For The Senate Into A Guessing Game
The fight for the Senate has shifted significantly over the past weeks, with fierce races breaking out in states where they were not expected and other contests dimming that were once ablaze with competition. With less than two months until Election Day, the Senate landscape is both broader and more fluid than it has been in years, with control of the upper chamber now anyone’s guess. Both parties have seen new opportunities and new challenges, but the net result is that Democrats appear to be in less danger of losing the Senate, while Republicans have a more difficult path to gaining the majority (Weisman and Steinhauer, 9/10).