OVERNIGHT CAMPAIGN: Fighting for the Senate

Meanwhile, DSCC Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) all but ceded Texas's Senate seat on Wednesday, saying that new nominee Ted Cruz (R) was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) problem, not hers. (Here are the Texas runoff results from Tuesday night).

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And Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) all hold comfortable leads over their Republican opponents, according to a new survey from Quinnipiac University, The New York Times and CBS News.


TOMORROW’S AGENDA TODAY: Mitt Romney will be campaigning at the Jeffco Fairgrounds in Golden, Colo. He will then join Republican governors for an event at Basalt Public High School in Basalt, Colo.

President Obama will hold campaign events in Orlando and Leesburg, Va.

Michelle Obama holds a fundraiser in Holderness, N.H. She then attends campaign events in Laconia and Manchester, N.H.


TWEET OF THE DAY: “I'm attacked twice in today's NYT editorial page — must be doing alot right this week!” — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) 


POLL POSITION:

President Obama leads Mitt Romney in three key swing states, but with continuing voter doubts that either candidate can right the struggling economy. Obama tops Romney in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, according to a new Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News survey. In Pennsylvania, Obama has the support of 53 percent of likely voters to Romney’s 42. In Ohio the president tops Romney 50 percent to 44 and holds a similar 6-point edge in Florida, leading 51 percent to 45.

Obama has rebounded in Michigan, improving on a tenuous 1-point lead in June to open a 6-point advantage in a survey released Wednesday. The poll for the Detroit Free Press and WXYZ-TV found that were election held today, 48 percent of likely voters would choose Obama, versus 42 percent for Romney.


AD WATCH:

Mitt Romney's campaign pivoted back to the auto bailout in its latest TV ad, released Wednesday. The ad takes direct aim at President Obama's claim that the 2009 federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, begun under former President George W. Bush and continued under the Obama administration, was a success. The 30-second spot features an Ohio car dealership.

Obama's latest ad ties Romney to Bush's policies. "You watched ... and worried. Two wars. Tax cuts for millionaires. Debt piled up. And now we face a choice," says a narrator in the ad. Although the ad doesn't mention Bush by name, it alludes to the former president with images of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and narration about the Bush-era tax cuts.

The super-PAC supporting Obama’s reelection campaign has begun reserving some $30 million in autumn ad time across several swing states as Democrats look to battle back against a likely onslaught of commercials from outside conservative groups. Priorities USA Action is reserving time in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and, for the first time, Iowa, according to a source familiar with the strategy. The ad time will come on both broadcast and cable networks.

Romney's campaign attacked Obama on the economy ahead of the president's trip to Ohio in a new Web video set to blues music. The video, titled "Time for a Change," shows Obama delivering a speech in July touting the economic proposals laid out by Democrats. Those remarks are punctuated with text slamming the economic recovery under the president's term in office.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) released a Web video mocking Romney for a series of gaffes on his recent overseas tour.

Romney and the Republican National Committee have bought a week’s worth of ads in eight battlegrounds states for $8.2 million.

Romney's campaign is taking aim at Obama in Florida on 13 billboards lining streets in Orlando. The 13 electronic billboards "feature Florida small-business owners upset by President Obama’s 'you didn’t build that' comments," according to the Romney campaign.


BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE:

American Bridge, a Democratic super-PAC focused on doing opposition research for other groups, has launched a new website attacking House Republican challengers. The website, gopyoungduds.com, pokes fun at the National Republican Congressional Committee's "Young Guns" recruiting program and includes opposition research on 30 GOP House candidates that could prove useful for the Democrats they're facing, as well as the Democratic groups that plan to get involved in the race.

California: The House Ethics Committee issued a blistering report finding Rep. Laura Richardson (D) guilty of improperly pressuring her official staff to campaign for her, destroying evidence and tampering with witness testimony. In an unusually scathing 16-page report, the ethics panel painted the California Democrat was acting with “utter disdain” for the secretive committee, which Richardson has previously accused of harboring racist undertones in its investigation of black members. The Ethics Committee recommended that the House adopt its report and approve a formal reprimand of Richardson, who agreed to pay a fine of $10,000 within four months and require staffers who work on her campaign to sign a waiver stating that they haven’t been pressured to do so.

California: Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) released a poll showing him with a 16-point lead over Ricky Gill (R). Gill's campaign recently released a poll showing him within two percentage points of McNerney.

Florida: Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) released his fourth campaign ad. This one touts his efforts to keep the Medicare and Social Security trust funds afloat.

Ohio: Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) leads Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) by 42 to 40 percent, according to a poll released by her campaign. The two are locked in a tight race in the GOP-leaning district.


SENATE SHOWDOWN:

Arizona: Businessman Wil Cardon, who has spent millions on attack ads in his primary showdown with Rep. Jeff Flake, released a tough new television ad blasting the Arizona lawmaker for his connection to Club For Growth, a leading conservative political action committee. The ad says Club for Growth, which has advertised heavily for Flake, is supporting the congressman because the organization's president, Chris Chocola, supports amnesty for illegal immigrants. But it's rare for a Republican candidate to go attack a prominent — and wealthy — conservative political organization like Club for Growth. And a new poll released Wednesday by Democratic-leaning PPP showed Flake in a dead heat with likely Democratic challenger Richard Carmona.

Florida: Former President Clinton and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will attend an upcoming fundraiser for Sen. Bill Nelson's (D-Fla.) reelection campaign. A Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling had Nelson up just 2 points, 45 percent to 43, over Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.). Nelson has a big cash advantage but Republicans are bullish Mack can turn this into a tight race.

Massachusetts: Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) was promoted to colonel in the National Guard.

Michigan: Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) endorsed Pete Hoekstra (R) in his primary against Clark Durant. A new Michigan poll from EPIC-MRA shows Hoekstra with a commanding 51 to 27 percent primary lead over Durant. But Hoekstra continues to trail Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) by a wide margin, 49 to 35 percent.

Nevada: Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) released a statewide Spanish language television ad criticizing Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) for not doing enough for Hispanics.

Texas: Gov. Rick Perry (R) downplayed the characterization of Tuesday night's win for Ted Cruz in the Texas Senate primary as a contest between his choice and that of the Tea Party movement. Perry backed losing candidate David Dewhurst.

Wisconsin: Former Gov. Tommy Thompson's (R) support has eroded and Wisconsin's Senate GOP primary is a three-way statistical dead heat, according to a new poll from the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling (PPP). Thompson, who once maintained a big lead over his opponents, clocks in with 25 percent support in the poll, tied with former Rep. Mark Neumann (R-Wis.) and trailing businessman Eric Hovde (R), who is at 28 percent in the poll. Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R) has 13 percent support in the poll. And the Club for Growth endorsed Neumann on Wednesday. 


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

President Obama attacked Mitt Romney's tax plan as benefiting the wealthy at the expense of middle-class families. The president made his charges at a campaign event in Ohio, the latest push to depict the presumptive GOP nominee's economic philosophy as exploitative.

Romney will have a chance to rally with some of the likely finalists for his vice presidential selection at a star-studded rally Thursday in Colorado coinciding with a national meeting of the Republican Governors Association. Romney will be joined by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at a rally at a high school in Basalt, Colo. — each rumored as a potential addition to the Republican ticket. Other attendees at the rally will include Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Obama heaped praise on the U.S. women's gymnastics team after their gold medal win at the London Olympics. He also expressed a degree of wonder at their ability to perform dangerous routines with such artistry. "These gymnastics folks, I don't understand how they do what they do," Obama said at the beginning of a campaign speech in Ohio. "So I told these young ladies as I was congratulating them, 'How do you not bust your head every time you're on those, that little balance beam?' I couldn't walk across that balance beam."

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced legislation that ends taxes on Olympic medals. When athletes win Olympic medals they also win honorariums. Gold medal winners receive $25,000, silver medal winners receive $15,000, and bronze medal winners get $10,000. Rubio's legislation would end taxes on those honorariums.

Newt Gingrich defended Romney’s controversial overseas comments, saying the presumptive GOP presidential nominee had a "very effective trip" to Israel and Poland.

A bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday demanded a presidential debate this fall on the bipartisan deficit recommendations of the Bowles-Simpson Commission.

Sarah Palin minced no words in her criticism of former Vice President Cheney over his description of her as a vice presidential "mistake" in 2008. “Well, seeing as how Dick — excuse me, Vice President Cheney — never misfires, then evidently, he’s quite convinced that what he had evidently read about me by the lame-stream media having been written what I believe is a false narrative over the last four years, evidently, Dick Cheney believed that stuff, and that’s a shame,” Palin said on Fox News.


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