This week three New Jersey teenage girls successfully campaigned to get—for the first time in history—an equal number of male and female journalists to conduct the upcoming presidential debates.

Also this week, women rule in Hawaii. Emily’s List congratulated U.S. Congresswoman Mazie Hirono (D-HI) on her U.S. Senate primary victory over former Rep. Ed Case and Congressional candidate Tulsi Gabbard‘s primary win over Mufi Hannemann for Hirono’s vacated seat. Hirono will face a tough general election race in November against Republican ex-governor Linda Lingle, while the Daily Kos is so sure Democrat Gabbard will be a shoe-in general election victory that they don’t even name her opponent.

And whereas Hillary Clinton was damned if she did and damned even more if she didn’t dress and act certain male-defined ways, in the Political Animals era, the time has come when women benefit from running as themselves rather than trying to show stereotypically male characteristics.

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As the Republican National Convention highlights women on its convention speaking schedule, the speculation about who Romney will choose as his running mate has crept back onto the media screen.

According to Politico, The Republican National Committee has announced that Condoleezza Rice, Mike Huckabee, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez are among those expected to address the Republican convention – all but knocking them off of the vice presidential contenders list if usual rules are followed.

Observes Politico’s Arena question today, “That leaves several expected contenders in the mix, including former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

“While Christie is rumored to be the keynote speaker, nothing has been confirmed. Despite the buzz, he has said in the past that he is not vice presidential material.”

Whoever the veep choice might be, I’ll bet Romney would love for us to be speculating on his vice presidential pick instead of where his tax returns are and whether he paid taxes during the years he refuses to disclose.

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Mitt Romney’s traveling press secretary lost his cool with reporters covering the candidate’s overseas trip. Aide Rick Gorka told reporters to “kiss my ass” and “shove it” after they shouted questions at Romney during his visit to Pilsudski Square, near the Polish Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

“Kiss my ass; this is a holy site for the Polish people,” said Gorka to reporters. “Show some respect.” Gorka then told a reporter to “shove it.” The aide later called members of the press to apologize, calling his actions “inappropriate.” Romney has not held a media availability for his traveling press corps since taking three questions outside 10 Downing Street in London last Thursday.

The Politico Arena question for today was: Was this an instance of aggressive reporters overstepping their bounds? Or do presidential candidates need to be more accessible to media outlets?

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Politico Arena asked this question today about the role of politics and political leaders following the Colorado shooting shooting tragedy Friday.  Gun control advocates are calling for a renewed examination of the nation’s firearms laws.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein  (D-Calif.) and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are among the most outspoken on the issue.  They wanted to know whether a push for stricter gun laws appropriate in this time of grief and sorrow.

My heart is so heavy with sorrow for the victims of the Colorado theater shooting that I am almost unable to respond to that question. But respond we must, as individuals and as a nation. And from my own experience with violence toward reproductive health providers, I can tell you that it is of the utmost importance for leaders to respond with solutions, not mere platitudes.

For after we care for our dead and wounded and after we grieve with their families and after all the fine words but no call to action from President Obama and Mitt Romney who wants to be President, then what?

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Geez, poor Huma Abedin. She has to bear the burden of being married to Anthony Weiner  — and now this. Anyone who has ever worked with Abedin (as I have) knows she is an extraordinarily loyal, honest, and capable public servant.

But Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) keeps drinking the Kool-aid of conspiracy theorists. And now she alleges that Abedin, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s devoted aide for many years, has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and therefore Bachmann says Abedin’s loyalty is in question.

It’s pathetic. Perhaps Bachmann really believes this stuff. More likely she misses the limelight she had when she was running for president.

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Seems like the the Republicans always want to bring in a woman when there’s a mess to clean up, and Romney certainly has a mess on his hands with his multiple stories — some call them “lies” — about his time at Bain. No wonder Condoleeza Rice’s name is being floated again as a vice presidential candidate.

True, as Sarah Palin almost acknowledged, in the experience realm, Rice brings vastly more substance than the former Alaska governor had when she was chosen as John McCain’s running mate. And in both optics and general election appeal to independents, a female African-American with Rice’s foreign policy chops and moderate leanings could boost the ticket.

Palin’s comments were in response to speculation Rice would be Romney’s vice-presidential pick, driven by conservative commentators Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh, both now touting Rice for the post.

But in the end, despite Palin’s willingness (along with Drudge and Limbaugh apparently) to cut Rice some slack on her pro-choice stance, the fact is that the person at the top of the ticket sets the agenda.

Rice’s gender would not help “balance” a man who has flip-flopped on women’s reproductive rights, now supports laws making women non-persons, and won’t even commit to support equal pay. Nor would her race peel off African-American voters from Barack Obama, especially in the wake of the enormous egg Romney laid when he spoke to the NAACP earlier this week.

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Conservative pundit Marc A. Thiessen writes in the Washington Post that Chief Justice John Roberts’ health care ruling is just the latest surprise from Supreme Court justices nominated by Republican presidents. Thiessen, a former George W. Bush speechwriter, cites various “liberal” rulings by Roberts, Justice Anthony Kennedy and former Justices David Souter and Sandra Day O’Connor: “Democrats have been virtually flawless in appointing reliable liberals to the court. Yet Republicans, more often than not, appoint justices who vote with the other side on critical decisions.”

Excuse me. Can he spell S-c-a-l-i-a?

Thiessen is saying exactly what one would expect a conservative columnist to say about the judiciary, especially when a decision has gone against them.

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When I saw the Politico question “Is political coverage biased against women?” I had one of those “Is the Pope Catholic?” responses. Remember how Hillary was treated, with all sorts of sexist comments about her cackle, cankles, clothing, and age? Got more examples?

Politico Arena Asks:

A new study of political campaign coverage finds that the media uses considerably more men than women as sources on women’s issues, the Washington Post reports.

Major TV and print news outlets turn to mainly male sources for their take on abortion, Planned Parenthood and other political women’s issues, according to a study by 4th Estate, a group that tracks campaign coverage. On topics including abortion, men were four to seven times more likely than women to be cited as sources, the study shows.

Is this information a sign that the media’s campaign coverage is losing credibility? Or should men be considered equally knowledgeable on such issues?

My Response:

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Wish I’d had more time to write about all the ways Citizens United is not about free speech. Maybe you can help me out here with your comments?

Politico Arena asks:

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has introduced a constitutional amendment aimed at overturning the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision on campaign finance. The amendment would also overturn a Supreme Court decision that struck down an Arizona law that allowed public financing of a candidate if their opponent exceeded certain spending limits.

Is this a good idea? Or would it be the first constitutional amendment since the 18th, allowing for prohibition of alcohol, which would restrict freedoms and liberties rather than enhance them – in this case free speech?

My Response:

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