Slatest PM: The #Missing2min Edition

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 19 2012 5:08 PM

Slatest PM: The #Missing2min Edition

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Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

#MISSING2MIN: Twitter is atwitter this afternoon over a gap in the now-viral video of Mitt Romney's private fundraiser speech. As we explained late last night, the person who recorded the GOP hopeful's remarks says the camera was inadvertently temporarily turned off in the middle of the dinner. In all, the amateur videographer tells MoJo's David Corn that there was at most two minutes missing between "part one" and "part two."

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SEMANTICS: Mother Jones billed yesterday's release as the full version of the tape that they received, not a full recording of the event. (Given that the tape doesn't begin with Romney walking in the door, that maybe should have been more or less self-explanatory.) That said, given all the excitement and hype that came along with the afternoon release, that nuance appears to have been lost on more than a few viewers.

CONSPIRACY!: A number of conservative journalists are crying foul over the missing minutes, which they say are yet further proof of the MSM's ever-present liberal bias. We'll let Breitbart's Joel Pollack explain: "Mother Jones has failed a basic test and broken its promise to its readers and the public. There is now reason to doubt that it provided Romney's full remarks—not just the context, but the remarks themselves. And there is new reason to suspect manipulation."

WEIGEL, CARE TO RESPOND?: "But manipulation by whom? Allow me to switch this from an exciting media bias debate to a boring question about sources. David Corn did not attend the Romney fundraiser. Neither did his main source, James Carter IV. The Romney video was obtained by 'Anne Anonymous.' She posted a clip. Carter contacted her, asking for [it]. She gave it to him. He gave it to Corn."

TO BE CLEAR: Romney has twice publicly stood by the most controversial comment that was captured on tape, his "47 percent" remark—once Monday night after the original clip was published and a second time Tuesday afternoon after the slightly-less-than-full version was posted. Late this afternoon, however, his campaign staff sent out an email blast to reporters calling the tape "debunked and selectively edited." But a closer reading of the campaign's statement by Weigel shows that it is taking issue with the portion of the tape where Romney appears to suggest he has given up on peace in the Middle East, and not with his remarks about Obama voters viewing themselves as victims.

Happy Wednesday, and welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow the entire @slatest team and @JoshVoorhees on Twitter, or fill your host's inbox with whatever is on your mind at josh.voorhees@slate.com.

ICYMI: MoJo has a handy transcript of the Romney video here. To be clear, it is a transcript of the entire video as it was published, not the entire event.

ROMNEY'S COUNTER: During yesterday's Fox News interview about the video, Romney peppered in multiple mentions of an audio clip from 1998 that was leading the Drudge Report for much of the day with an old photo of Obama and an all-caps red headline of: "'I ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN REDISTRIBUTION.'" Matthew Yglesias explains why the notion that the clip's discovery is somehow a shocking revelation is absurd. 

ROMNEY'S PRE-MORTEM?: John Dickerson: "After the presidential campaign ends, think tanks and universities will invite wise partisans to explain why their party lost and how to rebound. Some Republicans are already working on their talking points."

THE COMING WAR WITHIN THE GOP: More Dickerson: "Why on earth would any self-respecting Republican rush to make definitive claims about Romney when a president with a weak record can still be turned out of office? Presumably the people making these claims care about the future of the conservative movement. There is a first-mover's advantage to getting your theory out fast so that your ideas can help shape the post-election debate. If you want your theory to become conventional wisdom, act now! But anyone who wants to stand up and make a bold claim has to engage in a balancing act: You want to be quick enough to have the stage to yourself, but not too quick so that it looks like you are being opportunistic. It’s like criticizing a sitting president too early during a foreign-policy crisis: criticizing your own party should start at the election’s edge."

TRAYVON'S DNA: Orlando Sentinel: "State evidence released today in the George Zimmerman second-degree murder case shows new details from a state crime lab that found Zimmerman's DNA on Trayvon Martin, the teenager he shot to death, and Trayvon's DNA on him. But the gun that Zimmerman used to kill Trayvon that night—a gun that Zimmerman told police the teenager had reached for—revealed no evidence that Trayvon touched it."

HOLDER CLEARED: Politico: "An internal Justice Department investigation into the Operation Fast and Furious scandal singles out 14 different officials for criticism and possible disciplinary action. But a report out Wednesday found no evidence that the department’s top leaders knew about the gun-walking aspect of the operation when it was underway."

CHICK-FIL-A HAS A CHANGE OF HEART: Kind of, maybe: "Chick-fil-A is looking to put this summer's fast-food culture wars behind it and will no longer donate money to groups fighting to block same-sex marriage—at least that's what gay rights advocates in Chicago are saying. The chicken chain, however, is saying suspiciously little about the whole thing."

WHAT THE CHEF SAID ABOUT HIS WIFE: "I ended up cooking her."

CHECKING THE TRAPS—

Reuters: "The assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last week in which four Americans died was a 'terrorist attack' that may have had an al Qaeda connection, a top U.S. counterterrorism official told Congress on Wednesday."

WSJ: "China for the first time suggested that fallen Communist Party official Bo Xilai rebuked his police chief in late January for telling him that his wife was suspected of murdering the British businessman Neil Heywood."

NYT: "The Obama administration’s leading foreign policy ally in Congress said on Wednesday that aid to Iraq might be made contingent on cutting off flights shuttling military supplies from Iran to the repressive regime in Syria."

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