CAMPAIGN OVERNIGHT: The Romney-Ryan ticket rides again

Pine as Republicans might for the past, Mitt Romney’s appearances on Thursday with his former running mate don’t presage a presidential run for either one.

In fact, it may be the latest indication neither really plans to run.

Romney’s experienced a renaissance since his failed 2012 bid, emerging as the GOP’s main attack dog on President Obama and swooping in to support Republican candidates across the nation, and calls for him to run again continue to grow.

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Ryan, like many other potential presidential hopefuls, has launched a media blitz to promote his new book and drawn plaudits from members of both parties for his new push to tackle poverty.

But Romney’s said repeatedly he doesn’t want to do it again, and Ryan didn’t take the typically coy tack of a candidate who’s “thinking about it” when he said in an interview, of a 2016 run, “I honestly, literally, do not know the answer to that question.”

And it’s highly unlikely that Romney would sit down for a double interview with any serious potential presidential contender, a move that would be read as an implicit endorsement, even if it is his former running mate.

So the GOP’s only opportunities, then, to see a Romney-Ryan presidency in the flesh will be ones like tonight, when the two sit down with Fox News’s Megyn Kelley to tell her what they believe Obama’s done wrong during his second term — and what they would’ve done differently in the White House.



SENATE SHOWDOWN

The Democratic National Committee outraised the Republican National Committee in July, bringing in almost $9.3 million to the RNC’s $8.4 million.

CO-SEN (UDALL), NC-SEN (HAGAN), AR-SEN (PRYOR): Anti-abortion-rights groups are campaigning against three Democratic senators in key battleground states who oppose a ban on late-term abortions. A coalition of groups including Concerned Women for America, Family Research Council Action, Students for Life of America and the Susan B. Anthony List is traveling to the home states of Sens. Mark Udall (Colo.), Kay Hagan (N.C.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) to hit them for opposing a bill banning abortions after five months.

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes faced continued questions over her campaign bus, which a report revealed earlier this week is owned by her father and rented out to her campaign at a rate that appears to be less than the market rate for a similar bus. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) drew scrutiny for a $10,000 donation he received from the CEO of Delta a week after he hosted him for breakfast in the Senate Dining Room.

AR-SEN (PRYOR): Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) has a 5-point lead over GOP Rep. Tom Cotton, taking 46 percent to Cotton’s 41 percent in a new live-caller poll conducted for the Democratic Party of Arkansas by Opinion Research Associates, first shared with The Hill.

CO-SEN (UDALL): The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee launched a new 30-second spot for two weeks on Colorado airwaves attacking Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) for supporting amendments that would ban abortions even in cases of rape and incest. The $1 million buy is the first DSCC-sponsored ad in the race between Gardner and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.).

Gardner accused Udall of lying about ObamaCare and said Udall “cooked the books” on the number of Coloradans who lost their health insurance after parts of the law were implemented.

GA-SEN (OPEN): Businessman David Perdue (R) said his support for last year's government shutdown "speaks for itself," declining to dispute former charity executive Michelle Nunn's (D) characterization of his stance in a Thursday forum.

AK-SEN (BEGICH): Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Dan Sullivan, his Republican opponent, both launched their first post-primary ads. Begich’s features clips of Sullivan’s primary opponents attacking him on his Alaska ties, while Sullivan’s positive spot touts his Marines background.

Two GOP outside groups also went on the air attacking Begich. Crossroads GPS accuses him of paying his female employees less, while Americans for Prosperity accuses him of missing work.

IA-SEN (OPEN): Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh wants life in the fast lane for Rep. Bruce Braley's (D-Iowa) Senate campaign. Walsh has penned a fundraising email for Braley and is raffling off a pair of VIP tickets for an upcoming Eagles show in the Hawkeye State.

Former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), on Thursday announced his support for Iowa Senate hopeful Rep. Bruce Braley (D), a move that could both bolster Webb’s profile as he contemplates a potential 2016 presidential run and help Braley respond to GOP attacks on his record on veterans’ issues.

NC-SEN (HAGAN): Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is heading to Charlotte next week to help fundraise for the state Republican Party and boost North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis (R). Paul endorsed one of Tillis's primary opponents, who had close ties with the Paul family early in the year, but he quickly backed Tillis following his primary win. Tillis is battling Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.).

The Democratic Senate Majority PAC is out with a new ad hitting Tillis on education.

NH-SEN (SHAHEEN): NextGen Climate, the group backed by billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer, launched a campaign linking New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown to billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch, charging he's supported tax breaks for the oil industry.

A new independent poll shows the race tightening, with Brown lagging Shaheen by just 2 points, 46-44 percent among New Hampshire likely voters. That’s a significant shift for Brown since the last WMUR Granite State Poll, conducted last month, where he trailed her by 12 points.

LA-SEN (LANDRIEU): The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is launching a new ad charging Rep. Bill Cassidy, Republicans’ pick to take on Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), “put millionaires before veterans.”

SD-SEN (OPEN): South Dakota Democratic Senate candidate Rick Weiland, in a slip of the tongue during a Wednesday debate, labeled Republican candidate Mike Rounds "senator — or, soon-to-be" senator.

WV-SEN (CAPITO): Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) pivots back to ObamaCare in her newest ad, in which she speaks to supporters over breakfast at a diner about damage the law’s done to the state, while on-screen text charges Tennant “has supported Obama on various issues, including ObamaCare,” a quote from a local paper.

VA-SEN (WARNER): Virginia Senate candidate Ed Gillespie touts his blue-collar roots and argues Democratic priorities are destroying Americans' "work ethic" in his first TV ad against Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.).



BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

AZ-01 (KIRKPATRICK): Main Street Advocacy launched a new radio ad touting Arizona Speaker Andy Tobin as the only “battle-tested Conservative candidate strong enough to fight [Democrats’] liberal agenda and defeat their liberal puppet,” Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D).

CO-06 (COFFMAN): Democrat Andrew Romanoff launched a new ad in which he walks through a middle school as students study, pledging to expand student aid programs.

WV-02 (OPEN): An internal poll conducted for Republican Alex Mooney’s campaign shows him leading Democrat Nick Casey 40-28 percent among likely voters, with two third-party candidates capturing less than 10 percent of the vote each.

IL-10 (SCHNEIDER): Crossroads GPS is hammering Rep. Brad Schneider (D) for opposing the repeal of ObamaCare in its newest ad, but that tactic may backfire in the blue-leaning district, where former GOP Rep. Bob Dold is trying to get his old seat back by portraying himself as an independent-minded centrist.

NY-24 (MAFFEI): Rep. Dan Maffei (D) highlights equal pay for women in his new ad, which employs a kids’ lemonade stand to illustrate the issue.



2016 WATCH

PERRY: In a fiery speech delivered before a conservative audience at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who's eyeing another presidential run in 2016, said the federal government's failure to secure the southern border has created "great concern" that militants representing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) might already have arrived from Mexico.

On his recent indictment, Perry told those gathered, “When David Axelrod, Lanny Davis, Alan Dershowitz, Jonathan Chait all say that this is sketchy, outrageous, totalitarian and McCarthyite, I agree with them — and that's just on the Democrat side of the aisle.”

PAUL: Likely presidential contender and licensed ophthalmologist Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is in Guatemala performing sight-restoring surgeries in poor communities.

RYAN: Former vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has said he will not consider a presidential run until early next year but decided to join Mitt Romney on Fox News for the pair’s first interview since the 2012 election.



QUOTES OF THE DAY


“I want to be in love, not just watch movies about it.”

—Former Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-Va), in a 2011 email to his wife as their marriage was on the rocks. Both are on trial for corruption.

"I try to sit as far away from him as I can in meetings that I know are going to be stressful. I just hate getting that smell in my clothes."

—Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Speaker John Boehner's smoking habits