OVERNIGHT BALLOT BOX: Lugar's tough fight

Vice President Biden holds a dinner for Democratic House freshmen at the Naval Observatory on Wednesday evening. And the Obamas will honor songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David, who will be awarded the 2012 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.



DON’T FORGET: Rick Santorum is on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” Tuesday night. Plus West Virginia and North Carolina also hold their primaries Tuesday, with polls closing at 7:30 p.m.



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Start your engines: Mitt Romney, in an interview with a Cleveland TV-Station, kept up the argument he deserves credit for the recovery of the auto industry, saying President Obama followed his advice. Team Obama hammered Romney on this issue before Michigan’s Republican primary and it’s likely to be a big factor when industrial states like Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania vote.

Meanwhile, in Michigan: Romney, speaking in Michigan on Tuesday, did not mention the auto bailout.
 
Auto union not impressed: The head of the United Auto Workers, one of the most prominent labor unions in the country, said Romney would not have saved the auto industry if he had been in office when the federal government bailed the companies out in 2008 and 2009.

Sort of endorsement watch: Sacha Baron Cohen, who plays a dictator in his next film, said of Romney: "He has the makings of a great dictator. He is incredibly wealthy but pays no taxes, and it's not much of a leap to go from firing people to firing squads and from putting pets on the top of a car to putting political dissidents on top of them."

Actual endorsement watch: Rick Santorum finally endorsed Mitt Romney — and he did it late Monday night in an email to supporters.

On Iran: Vice President Biden used the Obama administration’s sharpest rhetoric to date in its commitment to protecting Israel from its enemies in Tehran during a speech in Atlanta.

Obama gives Congress a ‘to-do’ list: Speaking at the University of Albany, Obama mapped out a what he called a “handy little ‘to-do' list” for Congress, while swiping Republicans on Capitol Hill for standing in the way of his agenda during a down economy.

Brown doubles down: Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) called on Democrat Elizabeth Warren to release her law school applications and faculty personnel files on Tuesday, escalating a controversy over her claim to Native American heritage and whether she used that claim to boost her career.

Taking a pass: Tim Kaine, the Democratic Senate candidate in Virginia, dodged questions on gay marriage.

Giffords’s special: House Majority PAC, a super-PAC supporting Democratic candidates, will spend $340,000 in the special election to replace former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). 



POLL POSITION: 

President Obama leads Romney by 7 percent in the latest Reuters/psos poll released on Tuesday, 49 percent to 42, up from a 4 percent lead in April but down from an 11-point lead in March.

Obama leads Romney by 7 points in Ohio — 50 percent to 43 — according to a new poll from the Democrat-affiliated group Public Policy Polling.

Obama has opened up a 10 percent lead over Romney in Iowa, 51 percent to 41, according to a survey from PPP.

In Virginia’s Senate race, a Washington Post poll found Tim Kaine (D) and George Allen (R) are tied at 46 percent — exactly the same place they stood when the poll was taken a year ago. 


AD WATCH:

A new ad from the Obama campaign hits Romney for taking credit for the auto bailout.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has locked up more than $14 million in airtime for the fall in Virginia, Missouri and Montana — three swing states that could determine who controls the Senate in 2013.

Obama's reelection campaign launched Spanish-language television ads in three states that feature the president speaking in Spanish.

In Missouri's Senate race, John Brunner (R) used a new television ad and accompanying radio ad to tie Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) to President Obama. Brunner's campaign said the ad will run statewide over the next few weeks. Brunner is in a three-way GOP primary with Rep. Todd Akin (Mo.) and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman.

In Nebraska’s Senate race, state Attorney General Jon Bruning (R) released a 30-second bio-spot touting his support from conservative groups including the National Rifle Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and an anti-abortion-rights group. A source tracking the ad market in Nebraska said Bruning would spend $300,000 on the air in the final week of the primary. Bruning is vying with state Treasurer Don Stenberg and state Sen. Deb Fischer in the GOP primary for the state’s open Senate seat.

Rep. Steve Rothman is tying fellow New Jersey Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell to big-name Republican politicians Mitt Romney and Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) in a new television ad released Tuesday.

Democrat Ron Barber is hitting Republican Jesse Kelly on his position on entitlements for senior citizens in a new ad in the special election to replace former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). The ad shows clips of Kelly calling Social Security and Medicare "the biggest Ponzi scheme in history" and calling for privatization and phasing out of the programs.

In the Nevada Senate race, Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) is out with her second ad. It’s the second focusing on veterans’ issues but the first airing in the Las Vegas market.

Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) is up with her first television ads of the election, two positive spots touting her ties to the community and policy positions. 


TWEET OF THE DAY: Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), like a lot of people on Twitter, mourned the death of “Where the Wilds Things Are” author Maurice Sendak on Tuesday. Kerry noted he read Sendak to his daughters: “Sad/read 'in the night kitchen' so many times to alex/Vanessa”


QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Being a vice president is kind of like being a first lady.” — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in The New York Times.

Please send tips and comments to Emily Goodin, egoodin@thehill.com; Cameron Joseph, cjoseph@thehill.com; and Josh Lederman, jlederman@thehill.com.

Follow us on Twitter: @hillballotbox, @emilylgoodin, @cam_joseph, @josh_lederman

You can sign up to receive this overnight update via email on The Hill’s homepage.