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INSIDE POLITICS

The Washington Times' political blog.

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**FILE** David Axelrod (Associated Press)

Axelrod on Romney: 'He folded'

David Axelrod, President Obama's chief messaging guru, continued the campaign's all-out push on Friday to highlight presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's changing position on whether the individual insurance mandate in Mr. Obama's health care overhaul is a penalty or a tax.

**FILE** Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson announces his bid for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination on Dec. 28, 2011, in the rotunda of the New Mexico State Capitol in Santa Fe, N.M. (Associated Press/The New Mexican)

Libertarian nominee demands poll access

The campaign of Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee, sent letters to major polling firms this week asking them to include him in any surveys they conduct as a prelude to trying to earn his way into the presidential debates this fall.

** FILE ** Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., Illinois Democrat (AP Photo)

Rep. Jackson to receive more medical care

Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., who took a leave of absence from his congressional work last month because of exhaustion, is in worse medical shape than first realized and will receive extended medical help.

**FILE** President Obama pauses July 4, 2012, during a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members at the White House. (Associated Press)

Obama camp: Mandate a penalty, not a tax

President Obama's re-election campaign said Thursday the individual mandate in his health care law is a "penalty," not a tax — though Mr. Obama's own Solicitor General argued in March the law was constitutional under Congress's taxing authority.

**FILE** President Obama speaks June 28, 2012, at the White House in Washington. (Associated Press)

Poll: Obama holds 3-point lead over Romney

President Obama holds a three-point overall lead over presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in a new poll released by CNN/ORC, though Mr. Romney holds a robust 51 percent to 43 percent lead among voters in 15 "battleground states.

Gov. Bob McDonnell

Virginia's McDonnell to chair RNC Platform Committee

Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus announced Monday that Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia has been tapped to serve as chair of the influential committee responsible for drawing up the party's platform at the Republican National Convention.