OVERNIGHT CAMPAIGN: Slew of Senate polls

A Suffolk University poll released Wednesday showed Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) leading Warren by just 1 point, 48 percent to 47. Although 72 percent said they knew about the controversy, 69 percent said it wasn’t important. Just under half of voters said they believed Warren was telling the truth.

Ohio: Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-Ohio) lead over Republican Josh Mandel has expanded slightly, and his margin is back into the double digits, according to a poll released Thursday.

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Brown leads Mandel by 14 points in the NBC-Marist poll, besting the first-term state treasurer 51-37. Twelve percent of those polled were undecided. When NBC-Marist polled the race in March, Brown had a 10-point advantage on Mandel. But a Quinnipiac University poll in early May and other surveys from both Democratic and Republican firms had showed Mandel narrowing the gap to just a handful of points.

Virginia: Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) leads former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) by 6 percentage points, according to a new poll from NBC News. 

The poll has Kaine leading Allen by 49 percent to 43, his largest lead in any survey for months, although NBC's last poll of the race, in early March, had him up 9 points while others showed it much closer.


TWEET OF THE DAY: “The President just called to say congrats. Caller ID was blocked, so at first I thought it was a telemarketer :)” — Elon Musk, the founder of the private space transport company SpaceX. 


QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Probably the best choice of all would be Donald Trump." — Donald Trump, offering his pick for GOP VP nominee in an interview with Newsmax


POLL POSITION:

President Obama holds leads in Ohio, Florida and Virginia — three states challenger Mitt Romney will likely need to sweep for Republicans to regain control of the White House — but the president's leads in each of those battlegrounds has narrowed, according to a new set of polls from NBC News/Marist

Obama leads Romney 48 percent to 44 in both Florida and Virginia, according to the poll — encouraging signs for the Obama team, as both states traditionally lean conservative. In Ohio, the president posts a 6-point lead, besting Romney 48-42 percent among registered voters.

Meanwhile, Obama holds a double-digit lead over Romney in Wisconsin, 46 percent to 36, according to a Reason-Rupe poll.


AD WATCH:

Mitt Romney released his second television ad of the general-election campaign, and it looks a lot like the first. His new commercial continues to outline his "Day 1" goals, this time saying that Romney would move to reduce the deficit and repeal regulations upon assuming the Oval Office.


BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE:

Arizona: The Democrat and Republican competing in the special election to replace former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) were given one chance to ask each other a question Wednesday, and each went after what he perceives to be his opponent’s greatest vulnerability.

Florida: The House last week passed Rep. Sandy Adams’s bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, giving the first-term Florida Republican a key legislative win early in her House career. Winning passage of a significant bill would be a boost to any freshman, but the timing is particularly opportune for Adams, who is facing off in a primary race against Rep. John Mica, a fellow House Republican and a committee chairman with 19 years of experience in the House.

Florida Part II: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is backing former state Rep. Adam Hasner (R) in his bid for the House in Florida. 


SENATE SHOWDOWN:

Missouri: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is launching a new television ad touting her work on behalf of veterans.

Texas: Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz (R) has loaned his campaign $400,000 for the stretch run of his Senate primary campaign.  And Rick Santorum endorsed Cruz on Thursday — just minutes after a new poll showing his main rival, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R), nearing the 50 percent threshold he needs to avoid a runoff election. 


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

— President Obama’s campaign manager huddled with Democratic senators on Thursday to brief them on the campaign’s grassroots strategy, according to lawmakers in attendance.

— Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump and Mitt Romney will make an appearance together later this month in Las Vegas.

Romney accused Obama of "attacking capitalism" and defended the record of Bain Capital as "solid" in a rebuttal to the president's critique of his tenure at the private-equity firm. “There's no question but that he's attacking capitalism, in part, I think, because he doesn't understand how the free economy works. He's never had a job in the free economy; neither has Vice President Biden," Romney said on "Fox and Friends."

Obama on Wednesday swept through Colorado, where he faces serious headwinds in his effort to retain an evenly split battleground state that went Republican in 2000 and 2004 but heavily supported the president’s 2008 campaign.

At a fundraiser in Denver, Obama doubled down on his criticism of Romney’s time at Bain Capital, saying the likely GOP nominee had "drawn the wrong lessons" from his work at there.

Romney, campaigning in Pennsylvania on Thursday, was pressed on his position that smaller class sizes don't necessarily result in better educational outcomes.

House Democrats will hold a fundraiser next week honoring the 25th anniversary of Rep. Barney Frank's (D-Mass.) coming out of the closet.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) looked to downplay the growing Democratic advantage among Hispanic voters, attributing the 34 percentage point gap in a Telemundo poll released earlier this week to "historic factors in place."


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