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Off to the races: Robo call uses Boston bombing

MASSACHUSETTS: “A political action committee that issued automated campaign calls to boost Democratic US Senate candidate Stephen F. Lynch said Thursday that it would halt the advertising, after Lynch disavowed the message that seized on the tragedy at the Boston Marathon,” the Boston Globe reports.

Who is the group? “The treasurer of the group that paid for the calls is also treasurer of the ironworkers union that endorsed Lynch, the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union, AFL-CIO. Treasurer Edward McHugh said his 99 Percent PAC was just formed last month. Documents filed with the Federal Elections Commission include contributions from two local ironworkers unions.”

The script: “All of us share the shock and sorrow of the recent events in Boston. But as Americans, we’re not going to let the perpetrators of this tragedy or anyone else stop our democracy from moving forward. … “Wouldn’t it be great to have a real working person representing you in the US Senate? Not just another millionaire. Someone who truly understands the day-to day problems facing regular working families. Someone like Steve Lynch, the highly skilled and well educated ironworker who put himself through law school at night. In Congress, Steve Lynch has fought for Massachusetts working families not just when it was convenient or easy, but every day. That’s what you’d expect from an ironworker.” 

Lynch’s campaign distanced itself from the ads and said it didn’t know it was running, the Boston Globe reports. Lynch spokesman Conor Yunits in an email: “We did not know about it. We do not agree with it. We ask this group to stop immediately.”

Our colleague Jessica Taylor has more on the Markey-vs.-Lynch contest. 

MISSOURI: Local affiliate KSDK interviewed Todd Akin. He says he regrets his rape comments and would take them back if he could: "Oh, of course I would! I've relived them too many times. But that is not reality.” Asked if he regrets them, “Of course. You think what would it have been like if I hadn't done that."

But he also reflects the divide going on within the GOP – leadership told him to step aside, his base didn’t want him to: "Really what it goes back to is whether the Republican Party is going to be run by the insiders, or run by the grassroots organization. That's a question still to be determined,” he said, adding, “"I believe the party will either stand on principled positions or its going to be replaced by some other party.” He also takes a shot at Karl Rove: “Karl Rove has made himself an expert. I think I lost one race. He managed to lose about 12 of them in one night." 

Akin hinted he’s interested in a comeback: "It's one of those things that depends on the circumstances really. I don't rule anything out. I consider it a bright new future and I'm interested to see what the possibilities are." 

PENNSYLVANIA: “Though the background-check amendment co-sponsored by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., failed last week to earn enough votes to be adopted, Toomey's standing among Pennsylvania voters is now at the highest point of his three-plus-year term, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released on Friday,” National Journal’s Steven Shepard writes. 

Toomey’s approval is 48%/30%, up from 43%/32% before the background-check push in March; Sen. Bob Casey (D) gets a similar 48%/34% approval, the same as March; President Obama’s is split at 48%/48%, an improvement over his underwater 44%/51% approval last month.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Pro-Democratic House Majority PAC is up with its second ad in SC-1, hitting Sanford with a veteran accusing him of “abandoning his post.”

VIRGINIA: Ken Cuccinelli (R) is with his first TV ad, and it features his wife talking directly into camera, selling him as someone who “has spent his life standing up for the vulnerable and those in need,” “worked the night shift at a homeless shelter, spent his college days leading efforts to prevent sexual assaults, and represented those suffering from mental illness.” 

More: “As Attorney General, Ken fought to find and prosecute child predators and human traffickers. Virginia deserves a Governor who is experienced, principled, and honest. I think you’ll find that’s what Ken Cuccinelli is all about.”

The New York Times dips into the Virginia governor’s race and looks at Terry McAuliffe’s (D) involvement in GreenTech Automotive. He’s been criticized for establishing the plant in Mississippi and not Virginia, where “Officials also questioned GreenTech’s plan to attract Chinese investors using a visa program that awards green cards to foreigners who put up $500,000 or more for a start-up business. One development official wrote that she could not ‘get my head around this being anything other than a visa-for-sale scheme.’”