Philip Bump at The Atlantic Wire: "Obama supporters are tripping all over themselves, sputtering out Mitt Romney's '47 percent' line to anyone who will listen. This, they argue, is the real Romney! To his donors, when cameras aren't -- or at least aren't supposed to be -- rolling, Romney unveils his real beliefs! The phony, obsequious Romney we see on the campaign trail is revealed as the worst stereotype of a heartless conservative.
"Conservatives, for their part, are thrilled by this peek beneath the veneer. This, they argue, is the real Romney! A bit coarse, but this is the rhetoric many wish they'd see on the campaign trail. This is the Romney they love.
"That reaction from the right means that, in that room on that day, Romney was probably saying exactly the right thing. He wasn't there to be honest, he was there to accomplish his goal: getting wealthy conservative donors to pony up."
Germany's Der Spiegel translates some points of view from the German press on the turmoil in the Middle East:
• From the conservative Die Welt: "U.S. President Barack Obama's Middle East policy is in ruins. Like no president before him, he tried to win over the Arab world. After some initial hesitation, he came out clearly on the side of the democratic revolutions. ... In this context, he must accept the fact that he has snubbed old close allies such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Egyptian military. And now parts of the freed societies are turning against the country which helped bring them into being. Anti-Americanism in the Arab world has even increased to levels greater than in the Bush era. It's a bitter outcome for Obama."
• From the financial daily Handelsblatt: "Three years after Obama's speech in Cairo, which was supposed to initiate a new beginning in the Middle East, the United States now has even less support in the region than before. That's not a failure of this president. Instead, it is the consequences of an American foreign policy that for decades favored power over democracy, and a hard line over human rights -- and which will suffer from a credibility problem for a long time for precisely those reasons."
Entertainer and conservative activist Ben Stein talked to Politico about the deaths of four U.S. diplomats in Libya: "I think there's been a very, very serious breach of decorum by [Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton in not offering to resign over failure to protect her diplomats adequately. She's in charge of the ambassadors, she's in charge of the foreign service. She absolutely should not have let those people go to Benghazi, which she knew was in a state of extreme unrest, without having adequate protections. That was a very serious mistake that cost several people their lives, and she's responsible."
Former treasury counsel Steven Rattner argues in The New York Times for "death panels," that is, some form of health care rationing, otherwise "the exploding cost of Medicare will swamp the federal budget":
"The big money in Medicare is not to be found in [Rep. Paul] Ryan's competition or [President Barack] Obama's innovation, but in reducing the cost of treating people in the last year of life, which consumes more than a quarter of the program's budget.
"No one wants to lose an aging parent. And with price out of the equation, it's natural for patients and their families to try every treatment, regardless of expense or efficacy. But that imposes an enormous societal cost that few other nations have been willing to bear. Many countries whose health care systems are regularly extolled -- including Canada, Australia and New Zealand -- have systems for rationing care. ...
"At the least, the Independent Payment Advisory Board [established by the Affordable Care Act] should be allowed to offer changes in services and costs. We may shrink from such stomach-wrenching choices, but they are inescapable."
From the conservative Manhattan Institute: "Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau [week before last] on family and household incomes show that median household incomes declined by 1.5 percent nationwide in 2011. This alarming drop underscores the failure of the Obama administration's economic policies. Instead of creating jobs Americans desperately need, these policies have pushed ever more households onto the food stamps rolls."
Compiled by Greg Victor (email@example.com).