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The Washington Times' political blog.

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** FILE ** In this July 28, 2009 photo, former astronaut Dr. Sally Ride, with Jeffrey Greason in the background, comments during a meeting of the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee. Ride, the first American woman in space, died Monday, July 23, 2012 after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 61. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Brett Coomer, File)

Obama praises Sally Ride

President Obama paid tribute to the late Sally Ride, America's first female astronaut, as "a national hero and a powerful role model."

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

Poll: Iowa Democrats want Hillary in 2016

It remains to be seen whether voters will re-elect President Obama this fall but Iowa Democrats already have Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in mind as his successor in 2016, according to a poll released Monday.

President Obama speaks July 23, 2012, at the 113th National Convention of the VFW in Reno, Nev. (Associated Press)

'Homeland' is Obama's favorite show

President Obama's favorite actor is Paul Newman and his current favorite TV show is "Homeland," a Showtime network program about a Marine returning from time as a POW who a CIA agent suspects might have been turned by al Qaeda.

**FILE** Former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, FILE)

Dean: Go over the fiscal cliff

Former Vermont Gov. and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean offered a characteristically blunt take on the "fiscal cliff" of looming spending cuts coupled with the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts on Jan. 1: Let it happen.

** FILE ** Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney campaigns in St. Louis. Now that the primaries are effectively over, Mr. Romney has turned his attention to fundraising. (Associated Press)

Corporate shells ramp up super PAC giving

Nearly 200 companies gave $8.6 million to super PACs in June, far more than in any month this year, a Washington Times analysis of new federal records showed. The total includes many repeat givers who have given a total of $18 million, and almost all in June came from 40 companies giving $50,000 or more.

**FILE** Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp. (Associated Press)

Report: Rupert Murdoch resigns newspaper board posts

International media magnate Rupert Murdoch is leaving his board posts at companies that own a number of his News Corp.'s best-known newspaper properties, including Britain's The Sun, the London Times and the London Sunday Times, according to a report in the London Telegraph.

**FILE** Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, gestures during a speech as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie listens at a fundraising event in Parsippany, N.J., Monday, Dec. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

Obama super PAC spends while Romney one lies in wait

The Romney super PAC raised $20 million from 148 people last month – half of which came from former Newt Gingrich supporter Sheldon Adelson, $2 million from profligate giver and homebuilder Bob Perry, and $1 million from a corporation connected to the Koch brothers, according to disclosures filed Friday.

Shannon Westfield, 20, (left) and Jane Kernan, 16, make calls for Mitt Romney in Fairfax wearing T-shirts with a QR code that voters can zap with their smartphones to learn more about the GOP presidential hopeful. In May, Mr. Romney's fundraising almost matched President Obama's, taking in $58 million. (Associated Press)

Romney doubles small donor base

President Obama handily outraised Mitt Romney in June campaign fundraising, disclosures showed Friday, and Mr. Obama spent four times as much on advertising. But Mr. Romney doubled his reliance on small donors, a massive feat that brings his percentage equal to that of Mr. Obama.