OVERNIGHT CAMPAIGN: Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away

"These are tough times, with real serious issues. So you have to scratch your head when the president spends the last week talking about Big Bird," Romney said at a campaign event in Iowa. "I actually think we have to have a president who talks about saving the American people."


TOMORROW’S AGENDA TODAY: President Obama is attending meetings at the White House.

Vice President Biden is in Wilmington, Del., for debate prep.

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Michelle Obama will be campaigning in Colorado, with a stop in Fountain at 12:30 p.m. and in Durango at 4:15 p.m.

Mitt Romney is spending the day in Ohio. He’ll attend a town hall in Mount Vernon at 11:35 a.m., where he will be joined by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. After the town hall, they will stop by Bun’s Restaurant in Delaware. Mitt Romney and Josh Romney will then attend a campaign rally at 6:45 p.m. at the Shelby County Fairgrounds in Sidney, where they will be joined by country singer Collin Raye.

Paul Ryan arrives in Lexington, Ky., at 5 p.m.

Ann Romney will tour the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., at 1:20 p.m.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will be campaigning for Romney in Virginia. They will attend a campaign rally in Portsmouth at 9 a.m. They will then campaign in Sterling, stopping by Brock’s Bar-B-Que at 12:10 p.m. and at Tart Lumber Company at 4:30 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY: “It’s a big 4th birthday for Bo! He’s getting some extra treats today. –mo” — Michelle Obama

QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "I also want to be real clear that I am very proud to say that we had elected our first black president," Kid Rock said during an introduction for GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan in Michigan on Monday. "I’m sorry — I’m sorry he didn’t do a better job. I really wish he would have.”


POLL POSITION

Mitt Romney edged President Obama in Gallup’s first national survey of likely voters in 2012, 49 percent to Obama’s 47.

Romney has overtaken Obama in a Public Policy Polling survey released on Tuesday, with 49 percent to Obama’s 47 percent. It’s the first time all year Romney has led in the poll, which was conducted on behalf of the liberal Daily Kos website and the Service Employees International Union.

Romney is within striking distance of Obama in Michigan and Pennsylvania, according to polls conducted soon after last week's debate. Obama leads Romney 43 percent to 40 in a new Siena College poll of Pennsylvania. In Michigan, An EPIC-MRA poll has Obama leading Romney by 48 to 45 percent, down from a 10-point lead less than a month ago.

Meanwhile, Romney is up a point in Ohio, with 48 percent to Obama’s 47 percent, in a new poll conducted by American Research Group (ARG). And in Colorado, likely voters went for Romney 50 to 46 percent over Obama, in ARG's poll.

Obama leads Romney by 4 percentage points in Ohio, 51 percent to 47, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll.


AD WATCH:

The unemployment rate may have dropped below 8 percent, but voters won't be learning about it from new campaign ads.

Mitt Romney's campaign released a new ad targeted at Latino voters in which Romney tells them "America's entrepreneurial spirit is alive in the Hispanic community" and that President Obama's policies are hurting the economy. The ad is the first focused on Hispanic voters in which the GOP nominee has directly addressed the camera; earlier Spanish-language ads featured clips of Romney's speeches or Spanish-speaking surrogates.

Obama's reelection campaign hit Romney's proposed Medicaid cuts in a new television ad. The ad, titled "Only Choice," is the campaign's second spot focused on Medicaid — an issue that got hardly any attention until former President Clinton assailed Romney's Medicaid plan at the Democratic convention last month.


BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is out with new ads against Reps. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) and Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.), along with ads against Richard Tisei, who's challenging Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.), and Andrew Roraback (R), who's running in a Democratic-leaning open Connecticut seat.

The GOP groups Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) and the American Action Network (AAN) are spending at least $13.5 million in more than a dozen races leading up to the election in an effort to shore up an outside cash disparity that has thus far favored Democrats.

FLORIDA: Democrat Patrick Murphy, running to unseat Rep. Allen West (R), launched a positive spot touting his ability to fix Washington based on his experience as a CPA and a small-business owner.

ILLINOIS:
The House Majority PAC, a pro-Democratic super-PAC, is launching a $2.4 million campaign to tie centrist Reps. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) and Robert Dold (R-Ill.) to the polarizing Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) in an effort to defeat all three this fall. 

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Democrat Anne Kuster released her sixth ad of the general election campaign for the House in New Hampshire, outlining what her campaign says is evidence of Rep. Charles Bass's (R) corruption and highlighting his being named as one of Washington's "most corrupt" lawmakers by a nonpartisan government watchdog group.

NEW YORK: Embattled Rep. Michael Grimm released a new ad featuring former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani touting his legislative accomplishments and support for the candidate and dismissing the spate of recent negative headlines about the lawmaker — who is under scrutiny for his campaign fundraising practices — as "shameful attacks in the media."


SENATE SHOWDOWN:

The Republican outside group Crossroads GPS has invested another $4 million in Senate ads that will run in five states: Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) projected confidence that President Obama’s widely panned debate performance last week has not hurt Democrats’ chances to retain the Senate.  “First I think we’re doing well. If you look at it state by state, and we are doing much better than we thought a couple of years ago,” he told reporters at a news conference on tax reform. “I think that continues, and I haven’t seen any change in that since the debate.”

ARIZONA: Former President Bill Clinton will attend a campaign rally for Richard Carmona in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday.

MASSACHUSETTS: The race remains in a statistical dead heat, according to two new polls of the race that each put a different candidate ahead. In one, from Western New England University, Democrat Elizabeth Warren leads Sen. Scott Brown by 5 points, with 50 percent support to his 45 percent support. But another survey, from local news station WBUR, is the first in now five consecutive polls to give Brown a lead. That poll shows him ahead with 47 percent support to Warren's 43 percent support.

NEW MEXICO: Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) has widened his lead over Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) to double digits, according to an internal poll. He now leads her in the Senate race by 51 to 39 percent, according to the poll, which is is in line with recent public polling.

MISSOURI: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) may have benefited from government subsidies that she voted for in Congress, The Associated Press reported, bringing rebuke from opponent Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who said the situation indicated "a conflict of interest and a breach of trust with the citizens of our state." At issue were housing projects McCaskill's husband invested in, which received almost $40 million in subsidies — but it's unclear how much influence McCaskill had over the subsidies, or how much she and her husband benefited from them.

NORTH DAKOTA: Democrats revised an ad attacking North Dakota Senate candidate Rep. Rick Berg (R) on his ties to a North Dakota real estate company after the ad was removed from stations over concerns about its accuracy. And Democrat Heidi Heitkamp's campaign released a new ad focusing on what she characterizes as the lack of oil refineries in North Dakota and pledging to  "fight to build another refinery in North Dakota" if she's elected to Senate.

OHIO: Republican Josh Mandel announced his best fundraising quarter of the cycle, raising $4.5 million for his Senate bid against Sen. Sherrod Brown (D). He hasn't yet released his cash on hand total, and Brown hasn't released his fundraising haul, but the incumbent posted $6.5 million in the bank at the end of the second quarter to Mandel's nearly $5 million.

PENNSYLVANIA: Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) has a 9-point lead over businessman Tom Smith (R) in a new Siena poll that had President Obama's lead down to 3 points in the state. Casey has led by a similar margin in most public polling of the state.

VIRGINIA: Former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) released three new ads on Tuesday. One touts his bipartisan work on veterans issues, while two others, airing in coal country in Southwest Virginia, attack former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) for supporting cap-and-trade legislation. Allen has trailed Kaine by a small margin in most recent polls.

WISCONSIN: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is out with a new ad that says when former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) "moves in, the jobs move out." He's locked in a tight race against Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Mitt Romney sought to blame President Obama for Congress’s failure to pass a farm bill this year. “People have been waiting a long time for a farm bill. The president has to show the leadership to get the House and Senate together,” he said at an event in Iowa.

Senior Romney campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom downplayed expectations for Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) upcoming debate, saying that the "pressure" would be on his opponent, Vice President Biden.

Ann Romney penned her first column for women's media site BlogHer on Tuesday, joining first lady Michelle Obama in reaching out to niche online communities.

Ann Romney equated Obama's campaign to a petulant child during after being asked about charges from the president's campaign that her husband had "lied" during last week's debate.

“I mean, lied about what? This is something he’s been saying all along. This is what he believes.  This is his policy, these are his statements," she said in an interview set to air Wednesday on Fox News. "I mean, lie, it’s sort of like someone that’s, you know, in the sandbox that like lost the game and they’re just going to kick sand in someone’s face and say, ‘you liar.’ I mean, it’s like they lost, and so now they just are going to say, okay, the game, we didn’t like the game. So to me, it’s poor sportsmanship.”

Michelle Obama interrupted her stump speech twice to call for water for supporters in the audience at a grassroots rally in Leesburg, Va. "We've got somebody down," she called to the sidelines of the event. "Help is on the way!" she shouted, to laughter. She then urged the crowd to "bend your knees," a line both President Obama and the first lady have used to respond to fainting incidents at campaign events, particularly during hot summer months earlier this year.

Obama spoke with urgency about the state of the presidential race late Monday at a fundraiser in San Francisco, telling donors he would only win if his supporters were “almost obsessive” over the final month of the campaign. “I am pretty competitive and I very much intend to win this election,” Obama said, according to media pool reports. “We're only going to win if everybody is almost obsessive for the next 29 days.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) dismissed criticism from the Obama campaign that Romney’s foreign policy views lacked specifics, saying the GOP nominee has the “same instincts” as Ronald Reagan.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), the head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), called Romney's healthcare claims "personally offensive" to her as a breast cancer survivor in a bid for campaign funds Tuesday.

Romney's campaign is appropriating the motto of the football coach from "Friday Night Lights.” The campaign updated the GOP nominee's cover photo on Facebook to a rainy photo with the text "Clear Eyes. Full Heart. Can't Lose," the motto used by Coach Taylor of the fictional Dillon Panthers football team on the TV show "Friday Night Lights."


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