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Presidential election price tag: $2 billion

– Campaign finance filings with the government now show that the cost of the 2012 U.S. presidential race has surpassed $2 billion, a record.

The new tallies released Thursday include nearly $86 million in fundraising by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in the election’s final weeks.

The campaign’s record-breaking expenditures on media ads were fueled by eye-popping amounts donated to “super” political action committees, including at least $95 million supporting Romney and other Republicans that came from billionaire Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Zimmerman sues NBC and reporters

George Zimmerman sued NBC on Thursday, claiming he was defamed when the network edited his 911 call to police after the shooting of Trayvon Martin to make it sound as though he was racist.

The call viewers heard was trimmed to suggest that Zimmerman volunteered to police, with no prompting, that Martin was black: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”

But the portion of the tape that was deleted had the 911 dispatcher asking Zimmerman if the person who had raised his suspicion was “black, white or Hispanic,” to which Zimmerman responded, “He looks black.”

Prominent publicist arrested in sex case

British police Thursday arrested prominent publicist Max Clifford in connection to the broad investigation into child sex abuse spurred by the case of Jimmy Savile, a BBC entertainer who has in recent months been accused of serial sexual abuse of underage girls. He died last year without having been charged with any offenses.

Police have said there may be several hundred abuse victims.

Clifford, 69, is Britain’s best-known PR guru. His clients include entertainment mogul Simon Cowell and former Harrod’s owner Mohamed al-Fayed.

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