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Paul, Tea Party supporters will back Romney

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Columnists

Tea Party activists and supporters of Ron Paul are expected to back GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, but they'd like one thing from him first: Romney's endorsement of the former candidate's call to audit the Federal Reserve.

Romney recently sent out a tweet complimenting Paul's "Audit the Fed" campaign, an indication he might adopt Paul's call.

Paul's supporters and Tea Party activists could bolster Romney's campaign, and the candidate has been under pressure to do more to woo them. But a key Paul insider said that the former candidate's base will likely get behind Romney, especially if he adopts the anti-Fed effort. "That will bring along a good chunk of the Tea Party," said the source.

NBC demands Obama, Romney stop quoting on-air reporters

The campaigns of President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are seizing on a new way to bring credibility to their positions: packaging on-air comments and criticisms from reporters and commentators in ads and press releases.

And now NBC and MSNBC, whose on-air voices are particularly popular among Obama and Romney ad writers and publicists, are demanding that the campaigns cease and desist.

The latest plea came from NBC Wednesday, a day after the Obama campaign used on-air comments from chief correspondent Andrea Mitchell to hit Romney's foreign policy address to the VFW on Tuesday. They issued a press release headlined: "Mitchell: 'Mitt Romney is yet to be specific' on major foreign policy issues." It even included a video clip of Mitchell's analysis of Romney's speech.

In a statement to Secrets, NBC said it has complained to the Obama campaign. "NBC News and MSNBC have not granted any campaign permission to use our news material. As is our practice, we request the Obama campaign refrain from using our material," said the statement.

NBC sent a similar statement to Romney's campaign recently when it used clips of David Brooks' comments on "Meet the Press" and Mark Halperin's on "Morning Joe."

"In the course of this campaign we've previously sent similar notes to the Romney campaign after their ad featuring an archived clip of Tom Brokaw, and MSNBC has sent the same to the Obama campaign for use of Ed Schultz in an ad," added NBC.

Hoyer: Hunters shouldn't use assault weapons

Maryland's Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, on Wednesday labeled the GOP the most partisan and radically-right ever, called his side moderate and held out former House Minority Leader Bob Michel of Illinois and former GOP Senate leader Bob Dole of Kansas as the models for Republicans to follow.

"I frankly think the Democratic Party is the moderate party in the Congress," he said after slapping the GOP for focusing on a narrow right-wing base, including gun owners.

Speaking at a media breakfast organized by the Christian Science Monitor, he criticized users of assault weapons like the AR-15 used in the recent Aurora, Colo., shootings.

"Assault weapons have one purpose and one purpose only, to kill a lot of people quickly, no other purpose. I don't think anybody hunts deer, quail, geese, in Maryland with an assault rifle. And if they do, they shouldn't be," he said, though he conceded there is not enough support in Congress to revive the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.

And given a chance to name the GOP leaders he's admired since being elected to Congress in 1981, Hoyer cited Michel and Dole, who'd be considered moderates today. He also gave a hat tip to former President George W. Bush. During a meeting, Hoyer said Bush told him, "I don't know anybody who disagrees with me more who I like better."

Paul Bedard, The Examiner's Washington Secrets columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears each weekday in the Politics section and on washingtonexaminer.com.