• Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign requested “several” years of tax returns from potential vice presidential picks, senior adviser Beth Myers, who ran the search, told reporters Saturday.
• For months, Mitt Romney repeated a common complaint about President Obama’s professional background: he’s spent his life in the political world, not the real world. While Romney’s a businessman (notwithstanding 18 years seeking public offices), Obama’s never run a business and never run a state. It makes Obama, the argument goes, a poor choice for national office. Indeed, in May, Romney went so far as to say working in the private sector for “at least three years” should be a prerequisite to national office. Now, Romney wants to put Ryan one heartbeat from the presidency, despite the fact that Ryan’s adult life bears all of the characteristics of a background Romney disdains.
• As Rachel Maddow astutely pointed out this morning in reaction, can you imagine the outrage if a Democratic candidate who had no military experience had opted to use a battleship as the backdrop for a vice presidential announcement?
Despite Mitt Romney’s efforts to court women voters ahead of November, he chose a running mate who is far outside the mainstream on women’s health issues. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) cosponsored a bill that would give fetuses full personhood rights from the moment of fertilization, which was even rejected by voters in the socially conservative state of Mississippi. He voted to defund federal family planning programs, authored a budget that dismantles Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, all of which disproportionately aid and employ women, and voted multiple times to prevent women in the military from using their own money to pay for abortions at military hospitals.
Ryan also supported a highly controversial bill that Democrats nicknamed the “Let Women Die Act,” which would have allowed hospitals to refuse to provide a woman emergency abortion care, even if her life is on the line.
• Paul Ryan spent his first day as a Vice Presidential candidate watching his counterpart on the ticket disavow a plan he spent years generating. This is from a set of talking points distributed to GOP surrogate. It calls into question how Ryan will react. As Vice President, he would apparently have less control over the shape of the budget than as House Budget Committee chair.
Bits and pieces:
• David Conrad, 51, was charged with shooting a mosque he lives near in suburban Morton Grove, according to authorities. The FBI is not investigating the incident.
• Tabriz: Two powerful earthquakes struck northwest Iran Saturday, killing more than 250 people and injuring about 2,000 in northwest Iran, where rescuers combed the rubble of villages through the night into Sunday, state media reported.
• Transportation Security Administration officers at Boston’s Logan International Airport are alleging that a program intended to help flag possible terrorists based on passengers’ mannerisms has led to rampant racial profiling, a newspaper reported Saturday. The New York Times (http://nyti.ms/P2enzf ) reported on its website that in interviews and internal complaints it has obtained, more than 30 officers involved in the “behavior detection” program at Logan contend that the operation targets not only Middle Easterners, but also passengers who fit certain profiles — such as Hispanics traveling to Miami, or blacks wearing baseball caps backward.
• Syrian President Bashar Assad swore in newly appointed Prime Minister Wael al-Halki Saturday, as fighting continued in Aleppo and Damascus. Al-Halki, a 48-year-old gynecologist, was appointed prime minister Thursday after Prime Minister Riad Hijab defected Aug. 5, China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
• Oil tanker Panamanian-flagged bulk oil tanker M/V Otowasan collided with a U.S. Navy destroyer USS Porter near the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday but no one was hurt and shipping traffic in the waterway, through which 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil exports pass, was not affected, officials said.
• Mysterious death of ex-RCMP Rod Lazenby being probed as condolences pour in. A rural community peace officer who died after being dropped off at a southeast Calgary police station was a retired RCMP homicide detective who had once posed undercover as a high-ranking mobster. Rod Lazenby, a peace officer with the MD of Foothills, was on duty when he was severely hurt while visiting an acreage called Tangled Spur Ranch just north of Priddis.
• Trevor Kloschinsky, 46, has been charged with first-degree murder in the killing of a southern Alberta bylaw officer. News stories from 2002 said Lazenby was part of an elaborate sting operation in Ottawa where officers posed as Italian mobsters to try to get a suspect to confess to murder. In news reports covering the trial, Lazenby described in court how he portrayed Rod Calabria, the ruthless head of an organized crime group, by faking an Italian accent and pretending to lead a lavish lifestyle.