Opening Act: See My Friends

CNN’s Candy Crowley conducts the second presidential debate with President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on October 16, 2012.

Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Reporter Dan Friedman reveals that he accidentally inspired the Friends of Hamas rumor by mentioning the fake group to a Republican as a hypothetical, and seeing it repeated elsewhere:

Doing my job, I erred in counting on confidentiality and the understanding that my example was farcical — and by assuming no one would print an unchecked rumor. If anyone didn’t know already: Partisan agendas, Internet reporting and old-fashioned carelessness can move complete crocks fast.

John Avlon finds a Powerpoint from House Republicans, dated July 31, 2011, that “proves” their culpability in sequestration:

It’s essentially an internal sales document from the old dealmaker Boehner to his unruly and often unreasonable Tea Party cohort. But it’s clear as day in the presentation that “sequestration” was considered a cudgel to guarantee a reduction in federal spending—the conservatives’ necessary condition for not having America default on its obligations.

The problem? The White House pitched sequestration to Harry Reid four days earlier. This remains a silly fight to have.

Sahil Kapur walks us through the challenge to the Voting Rights Act.

Presidential debate bosses are ashamed of the moderator who probably did the best job moderating.

Dana Milbank mourns the lost grand bargain.