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Whether President Obama or Republican Mitt Romney comes out on top in November, the man who occupies the Oval Office next year will bring exactly four years of experience as a top political executive.

Obama has gotten his experience in the White House; Romney got his as governor of Massachusetts, from 2003 to 2007.

A NASA mission aimed at surveying black holes and supernovae, among other things, launched successfully today at noon ET from beneath the belly of a wide-body jet flying approximately 40,000 feet above a darkened Pacific Ocean.

The 772-pound NuSTAR X-ray observatory was carried into an equatorial orbit about 400 miles above the Earth by a Pegasus rocket, which fired its three-stage motor for 13 minutes after being dropped by the L-1011 jet.

What do women want, electorally speaking?

We know that women, like men, are "not some monolithic bloc," to quote the current occupant of the White House.

But as a group they are reliably influential voters, more risk-averse than men, and — pollsters tell us — generally more likely than the opposite sex to vote for Democrats, oppose the use of military force and support government programs.

In 2008, unmarried women, one of the nation's fastest-growing demographic groups, were a key to Barack Obama's presidential win.

Female genital mutilation is still remarkably common — mainly in Africa, but also in some countries in Asia and the Middle East and in immigrant communities in Europe and the U.S.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has brought formal doping charges against cyclist Lance Armstrong.

The Washington Post, which broke the story, reports that as a result "Armstrong has been immediately banned from competition in triathlons."

The Post adds:

The Justice Department is walking away from its case against John Edwards.

Federal prosecutors have announced they will not retry the former Democratic presidential candidate on campaign finance charges. The decision comes soon after jury was unable to reach a verdict.

Government lawyers asked Judge Catherine Eagles to dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning they will not take another bite at the apple and try to resurrect their high profile case.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is defending his effort to prevent non-U.S. citizens from voting in his state after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to stop him on Tuesday.

Scott told NPR's Michel Martin on Tell Me More Wednesday that after learning his state didn't verify the citizenship status of registered voters, he's trying to ensure that the ballots of U.S. citizens aren't diminished:

If Twitter has its way, "That's a clown question, bro" will join "Don't tase me, bro" in the annals of popular rhetorical comebacks.

"That's a clown question, bro" comes from 19-year-old baseball phenom Bryce Harper. That's what he told a Canadian journalist yesterday, following his second three-hit game in a row.

CNN, which has been battered in the ratings game, announced today that it was canceling its politics show "John King, USA."

Wolf Blitzer's "The Situation Room" will expand to three hours at the end of this month to cover the gap.

The New York Times reports:

James Hetfield, lead singer and guitarist for the heavy metal band Metallica, makes a straight-forward appeal for help in finding a fan's killer in a new public service ad produced for the FBI, Virginia and local law enforcement agencies.

New analysis (pdf) of climate data finds that since 1912, the United States has warmed 1.3 degrees. But that warming is concentrated in certain states, some of which have "warmed 60 times faster than the 10 slowest-warming states."

All of that is according to Climate Central, a research and journalism non-profit that seeks to inform the public about climate and energy. The center looked at data from the National Climatic Data Center's U.S. Historical Climatology Network.

There are now at least 19 large wildfires burning in nine Western states U.S. Forest Service officials say.

At Misty Cargill's funeral, the minister called her an advocate for other people with intellectual disabilities. She was — although a reluctant one.

Cargill became an advocate when NPR did a story about her fight to get a life-saving kidney transplant. Misty, 30, died in her sleep on Saturday. She was on a list to get that transplant when she died.

The much-anticipated list of Internet domain names that might soon join such familiar suffixes as .com, .edu and .gov is now online.

As expected, the nearly 2,000 suffixes that have been requested include some from companies who think they can help brand themselves with web addresses that end with things such as:

-- .apple

-- .bananarepublic

-- .chevy

-- .google

-- .lamborghini

Seven-year-old Max Page, the young actor best known for being "Little Darth Vader" in a Volkswagen ad that scored big with Super Bowl viewers last year, is having open heart surgery on Thursday.

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