QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Let me say this as emphatically as I can: Who cares about Mitt Romney’s tax returns? Secondly, I love the fact that the guy is rich. You got people who are trying to make it seem like being rich is bad.” — Herman Cain to The Sacramento Bee.
Obama leads Romney in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 49 percent to 43, but the survey also holds troubling signs for the incumbent on the economy. The poll found 66 percent said the country is going in the wrong direction, while 32 percent said it's headed in the right direction.
Obama’s massive lead among Hispanic voters is holding steady, according to a NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Telemundo poll. Obama leads Romney 67 percent to 32, which is identical to the president’s support among Hispanics in the 2008 election, when he took 67 percent to GOP nominee Sen. John McCainJohn McCainPundits react: Clinton won first debate Overnight Defense: Debate night is here | Senate sets vote on 9/11 veto override | Kerry, McCain spar over Syria Kerry fires back at McCain: I'm not 'delusional' MORE’s (Ariz.) 32.
Obama has healthy leads in the critical swing-states of Michigan and Pennsylvania, according to two surveys released from liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling. Obama leads big over Romney in Michigan, 53 to 39 percent. That could be an outlier — it’s well outside the Real Clear Politics average of polls that shows Obama leading by only 1.7 percentage points in the Wolverine State. PPP also finds Obama leading Romney 49 to 43 percent in Pennsylvania, which is exactly in line with the Real Clear Politics average of polls.
Democrats are far less enthusiastic about the 2012 election than they were in 2004 or 2008, according to a Gallup/USA Today poll, which found that only 39 percent of Democrats now say they are “more enthusiastic than usual” about the 2012 election. That’s down from 68 percent in 2004 and 61 in 2008. Republicans, conversely, have seen a sharp rise since 2008, when only 35 percent said they were “more enthusiastic than usual.” In the latest survey, 51 percent said they were enthusiastic about the upcoming election, a 12-point advantage over the Democrats.
A new ad by Priorities USA, a pro-Obama super-PAC, is using an Olympic spoof to hit Mitt Romney over outsourcing. The ad shows Romney arriving like an athlete to the opening ceremonies and waving to the crowd. It then suggests China and India are especially happy to see Romney because of the jobs he has outsourced to those countries. The spot also jabs the presumptive GOP presidential nominee for keeping money in bank accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.
BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE:
California: State assembly member Julia BrownleyJulia BrownleyHouse caucus to focus on business in Latin America House votes to restrict IRS hires and funding EMILY's List names incumbent Dems it will fundraise for MORE (D) leads California state Sen. Tony Strickland (R) by a 4-point margin in a toss-up district north of Los Angeles, according to an internal poll released by her campaign.
Florida: Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) is out with a powerful new ad featuring a former soldier who credits West with saving his life while the two served in Iraq.
New York: A poll from the Democratic super-PAC House Majority PAC shows former Rep. Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.) leading Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.) 44 to 40 percent in their rematch from 2010.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has expanded its ad blitz to attack Democrats in five more Senate races: Florida, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Hawaii: Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle (R) was quick to hit back at Rep. Mazie HironoMazie HironoOvernight Finance: McConnell offers 'clean' funding bill | Dems pan proposal | Flint aid, internet measure not included | More heat for Wells Fargo | New concerns on investor visas Senate Dems call for investigation into Wells Fargo's wage practices Man arrested for allegedly threatening Hawaii Dems MORE (D-Hawaii) for touting an endorsement from Rep. Don YoungDon YoungOur National Forests weren't designed just for timber Big Oil makes a push for risky and reckless Arctic drilling House bill would up Fish and Wildlife funding by .3B MORE (R-Alaska), criticizing Young as "controversial" and alluding to his past ethics issues.
Indiana: Rep. Joe DonnellyJoe DonnellyDem presses Congress to pass veteran suicide measure Senate Democrats block defense funding bill for third time Are Senate Republicans facing an election wipeout? MORE (D-Ind.) has a new ad saying he works for "jobs, not a party" and partnered with Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) "to save Indiana auto jobs" while his opponent, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, "wasted millions suing to kill Chrysler jobs." Donnelly needs to win over a big chunk of centrist "Lugar Republicans" to beat Mourdock, who defeated Lugar in the primary. The ad has $125,000 behind it.
Massachusetts: Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) doubled-down on linking President Obama's "you didn't build that" comment to Democratic challenger Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenJuan Williams: Verdict on big debate will be instantaneous WATCH LIVE: Warren campaigns for Clinton in NH Fifteen years since pivotal executive order, STORM Act could help fight terror finance MORE, suggesting that she had given the president "bad advice" and inspired the remark.
Michigan: Businessman Clark Durant (R) took fire from all sides on Wednesday: The Michigan Democratic Party accused him of malfeasance in running the non-profit Christian private schools he runs because of his high salary there, while his Senate primary opponent, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), attacked him because a super-PAC spending heavily against Hoekstra in the race is run by Saul Anuzis, who helped recruit Durant into the race and whose brother Andy is running Durant's campaign.
Texas: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) is heading to Texas to stump with former state Solicitor General Ted CruzTed CruzThe Trail 2016: Fight night Google backs Obama's internet transition plan Steve King asks: Will Clinton be ‘on her meds or off her meds’ for debate? MORE (R) later this week, his campaign announced.
Virginia: The Chamber of Commerce endorsed former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) Wednesday.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
The format of the three presidential and one vice presidential debates this autumn has been set.
Obama senior campaign adviser David Axelrod insisted the president did not authorize anyone at the White House to leak the classified national-security information that has led to congressional anger and a Justice Department probe. “I can tell you that the president of the United States did not leak classified information, as Mitt Romney suggested yesterday, and he didn’t authorize the leak of information, as Mitt Romney suggested yesterday,” Axelrod told MSNBC’s "Morning Joe."
Obama's campaign looked to again focus attention on Romney's tenure at Bain Capital on Wednesday, highlighting a new report by The Associated Press that shows the presumptive Republican nominee continued to have regular contact with his partners in the firm after his 1999 departure date.
Casino mogul and prominent Republican donor Sheldon Adelson might attend a fundraiser held by Romney next week in Israel.
Romney signed a pledge to repeal, defund and otherwise thwart Obama’s healthcare law. Two conservative groups — Independent Women’s Voice and American Action Majority — are spearheading the “Repeal Pledge” effort.
Actor Robert Duvall, star of "Apocalypse Now" and "The Godfather," will host a fundraiser for Romney in September at his Virginia home.
Republican governors Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Bob McDonnell of Virginia will stump for Romney in Iowa while the former Massachusetts governor is overseas.
Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanDems kill more ads in Ohio Senate rivals gear up for debates Funding bill includes million for opioid crisis MORE (R-Ohio) introduced a bill aimed at ending the threat of a government shutdown once and for all. The bill would automatically extend government spending at current levels for 120 days when funding expires. If Congress continues to fail to act, spending would be cut by 1 percent across the board every 90 days.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) criticized the Romney campaign, saying it had failed to help the presumptive GOP nominee connect with voters and define what he stood for. “I think there’s a lot of caution,” Walker said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I think the mistake that they’ve made is the feeling like it can just be a referendum on the president.”
More than $80 million was spent on Walker’s recall election, according to a new report from the nonpartisan watchdog Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, more than doubling the previous record for the cost of a gubernatorial race in the state.
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