TWEET OF THE DAY: "I resent recent charges that investigation of Fast/Furious is political motivated I have been leading this for 18 months Why now the charge." — Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Cybersecurity: Tillerson proposes new cyber bureau at State | Senate bill would clarify cross-border data rules | Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up breach Overnight Finance: Senators near two-year budget deal | Trump would 'love to see a shutdown' over immigration | Dow closes nearly 600 points higher after volatile day | Trade deficit at highest level since 2008 | Pawlenty leaving Wall Street group Grassley to Sessions: Policy for employees does not comply with the law MORE (R-Iowa). The House holds its contempt vote on Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderHolder redistricting group targets GOP control in states IG poised to reignite war over FBI’s Clinton case Justice Dept sidelines office dedicated to expanding legal aid to poor citizens: report MORE on Thursday.


QUOTE OF THE DAY: "My guess is they’re not sleeping real well at the White House tonight — that’s the way it ought to be.” — Mitt Romney at a campaign event in Sterling, Va.


POLL POSITION:

President Obama has opened up a 40-point lead over Mitt Romney among Hispanics, 66 percent to 26, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll.

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Obama is expanding his lead over Romney in swing states that will be key in determining the outcome of the 2012 election, two new polls show.

Obama continues to hold a commanding advantage over Romney in terms of personal likability, but Americans are skeptical that either man has a clear plan for solving the country's problems, according to a new poll by Gallup.

Obama holds a seven-point lead in the crucial swing state of Virginia, 49 percent to Romney’s 42, despite more than half the voters in the state saying they hold conservative views on issues like taxes and government spending, according to a new poll by Old Dominion University and the Virginian-Pilot.

More Americans are confident in Obama’s ability to handle an alien invasion than in Romney’s. According to a survey conducted for the National Geographic Channel, 65 percent said they’d pick Obama to deal with an invading alien force over Romney.


AD WATCH:

The Republican National Committee charged President Obama with “hypocrisy” in a new Web video criticizing his decision to exert executive privilege over documents related to the botched "Fast and Furious" gun-tracking operation. 


BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE:

Michigan: Freshman Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashOvernight Defense: House votes to renew surveillance program | More drones, troops headed to Afghanistan | Former officers urge lawmakers to curb Trump's nuclear powers Overnight Tech: House votes to reauthorize surveillance powers | Twitter on defensive after Project Veritas video | Senate panel to hold hearing on bitcoin Overnight Cybersecurity: House votes to renew NSA spying | Trump tweets spark confusion | Signs Russian hackers are targeting Olympics | Bannon expected to appear before House Intel panel MORE (R-Mich.) took first place for best use of social media among House Republicans, according to challenge organizers.


SENATE SHOWDOWN:

Sens. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyDem senator: Pence all 'talk, no action' GOP Senate candidate fundraising lags behind Dems in key races Overnight Health Care: Senate Dems block 20-week abortion ban | Azar sworn in as HHS chief | Dems demand answers on family planning funds | GOP takes sting out of ObamaCare MORE Jr. (D-Pa.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownTrump accuses Dems of 'treasonous' behavior Former Ohio football star faces conservative rival in GOP primary fight Dems press Trump for 'Buy American' proposals in infrastructure plan MORE (D-Ohio) are in strong position for reelection, but Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonInterior head to travel to Carolinas to discuss off shore drilling Overnight Finance: Trump touts trade agenda in State of the Union address | Consumer Bureau ruled constitutional | Fed leaves rates unchanged Green group backs Sens. Baldwin, Nelson for reelection MORE's (D-Fla.) race against Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) has tightened considerably, according to a series of new polls from Quinnipiac University.

The Republican-affiliated outside groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS are up with new ads in New Mexico and North Dakota, expanding on previous buys in two states they have made priorities as of late.

Massachusetts: Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Democratic challenger Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenGovernment watchdog finds safety gaps in assisted living homes David Crosby: Shared dislike for Trump could reunite Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young Dem senators tell Trump he doesn’t have ‘legal authority’ to launch preemptive strike on North Korea MORE traded barbs Wednesday over the proposed bipartisan agreement that would prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling next month.

Missouri: Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillGovernment watchdog finds safety gaps in assisted living homes GOP Senate candidate fundraising lags behind Dems in key races McCaskill challenger links human trafficking to 'sexual revolution' of 1960s MORE (D-Mo.) defended her decision to skip the Democratic National Convention, denying that she was trying to distance herself from President Obama.
 
Ohio: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has a single-digit lead over his GOP rival, state Treasurer Josh Mandel, 46 to 39 percent, in a new poll from Public Policy Polling.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

A spokesperson for The Washington Post said the newspaper would not be retracting a controversial report about Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain Capital despite a request from the candidate’s campaign. The announcement came after members of Romney’s staff met with senior editors in Washington on Wednesday afternoon to ask them to withdraw the article.

Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteAudit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars US sends A-10 squadron to Afghanistan for first time in three years No, the US did not spend million on a gas station in Afghanistan MORE (R-N.H.), an early supporter of Romney's presidential campaign who is speculated to be under consideration for the Republican vice presidential nomination, defended the presumptive Republican nominee's foreign policy credentials in a speech Wednesday.

President Obama will visit Colorado Springs on Friday to view damage from a massive fire that could be the state’s worst-ever natural disaster to date.

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: 'We have a Napoleon in the making' MORE seems to think that he and Romney will be hosting a glitzy, high-dollar fundraiser Thursday at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan — but the Republican presidential candidate's campaign has indicated otherwise.

Vice President Biden will be the keynote speaker at the National Council of La Raza's (NCLR) annual conference, organizers announced Tuesday.


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