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2012: Romney plays it safe

The Washington Post on the latest WaPo-ABC poll: “Mitt Romney leads the wide-open contest for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. But a new Washington Post-ABC News poll underscores his vulnerabilities as a front-runner, as well as Sarah Palin’s lingering power to shake up the race if she decides to run.”

More: "Without Palin in the race, Romney tops the field at 30 percent to Bachmann’s 16 percent, with Paul at 11 percent. Perry is at 8 percent."

“Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee officials say they have exceeded internal benchmarks for 2012 recruitment, and today they will roll out a list of highlighted candidates running in a sample of the 41 open or Republican-held districts where a Democrat has filed or committed to run,” Roll Call writes.

BACHMANN: The Boston Globe’s Johnson: “You can ask a presidential candidate about his age (see: Ronald Reagan, John McCain). You can ask him about his physical health, especially if he suffered from cancer (see: Paul Tsongas). But when you ask about his mental fitness, it broaches exceedingly dangerous political ground, which helps explain Michelle Bachmann’s aggressive response this week to a report she suffers from debilitating migraine headaches.”

ROMNEY: The New York Times picks up on Romney’s play-it-safe strategy. That approach, it says, “has served Mr. Romney fairly well during the first seven months of the year. He has not had to accept ownership of positions being taken by Republicans in Congress. He has stuck to his message on the economy and job creation, even while navigating criticism about his health care record as governor of Massachusetts. But as the Republican presidential campaign intensifies, with Mrs. Bachmann capturing the imagination of conservative activists and Mr. Perry being forcefully recruited by Republican leaders to declare his candidacy, Mr. Romney’s determinedly low-key approach could be fraught with peril.”