I don’t know what kind of red-hot, red meat lunch Romney campaign staffers are eating today in order to intensify their current hate frenzy aimed at the “liar” Barack Obama and his evil underling Stephanie Cutter, but it makes me want something bland. Here are a few side dishes of news for your own consumption:

* George W. Bush allows as how he doesn’t think Mitt needs his help on the campaign trail. Or wants it.

* ThinkProgress list of prominent Republicans calling on Romney to release tax returns now up to 18 names.

* TNR’s Alec MacGillis reminds us that last time Romney tried to defend Bain Capital’s business model, in 1994, Ted Kennedy buried him with it.

* Killing of defense bigwigs a “massive psychological blow to the regime,” says CNN’s Syria expert.

* CFPB registers first enforcement action, reaches settlement with Capital One (good time to read or re-read John Gravois’ backgrounder on CFPB!).

And in non-political news:

* Keith Richards admits he sometimes forgets how to play Stones’ classics. Happens to the best of us, Keith.

Back after a short break.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.