Meanwhile, Obama, at a campaign stop in Colorado, said his administration would be “relentless” in pursuing those who attacked the U.S. Consulate in Libya.

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Obama’s comments generally focused on how he and Romney differ on taxes and spending, but the president opened and closed his remarks for a second day in a row by talking about the outbreak of violence in the Middle East.


TOMORROW’S AGENDA TODAY: President Obama and first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaObama on social media: You’ve got to ‘think before you tweet’ MSNBC trolls Trump with video montage of Obama saying ‘Merry Christmas’ Overnight Regulation: USDA delays healthy school lunch requirements | Senate panel advances controversial environmental pick | Drone industry pushes to ease rules | Dem commish joins energy regulator MORE welcome Olympic athletes to the White House.

Michelle Obama attends a campaign fundraiser in Washington, D.C.

Jill Biden will speak at campaign events in Minneapolis.

Mitt Romney speaks at a rally at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio. He will also appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in a pre-taped interview.

Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE will address the Values Voter Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. He will then attend a campaign rally at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds in Harrisonburg, Va., and a rally in Roanoke, Va.


QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’m just trying to protect my stacks. Mitt Romney don’t pay no tax.” — Kanye West raps on "To The World," the opening track on the forthcoming album "Cruel Summer"


POLL POSITION:

President Obama has opened a double-digit lead in Michigan, according to a EPIC-MRA poll, leading Mitt Romney 47-37 percent.


Obama leads Romney by 51 to 44 percent in Minnesota, according to a survey from the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling.

If a fistfight could settle the presidential election, more people think Obama would win than Romney, according to a new poll from Esquire magazine and Yahoo! News. When likely voters were asked “just for fun” which candidate would win in a fistfight, 58 percent said Obama to 22 percent for Romney.


AD WATCH:

Mitt Romney's campaign released a new ad that knocks President Obama over the economy and accuses him of failing to stand up to China. The ad shows two stacks of boxes in a warehouse, meant to represent manufacturing jobs in China and the United States. Boxes from the American stack gradually decline, as more and more are added to China's pile, which grows above that of the United States.


BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE:

Democratic leaders fighting a uphill battle to retake the House this fall say they got a huge boost when Mitt Romney picked Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate. 


SENATE SHOWDOWN:

KENTUCKY: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.) has hired Jesse Benton, the campaign manager of Rep. Ron Paul's (R-Texas) presidential and Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLexington mayor launches bid for Congress Trump-free Kennedy Center Honors avoids politics Meet the Iran hawk who could be Trump's next secretary of State MORE's (R-Ky.) Senate bids, to lead his 2014 reelection team.

MASSACHUSETTS: Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Regulation: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle | Watchdog to investigate EPA chief's meeting with industry group | Ex-Volkswagen exec gets 7 years for emissions cheating Overnight Tech: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court fight | Warren backs bid to block AT&T, Time Warner merger | NC county refuses to pay ransom to hackers Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (D) released a new ad with a different tone than was in her previous commercials after facing criticism from fellow Democrats about her advertising strategy.

MINNESOTA: Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharFranken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Trump-free Kennedy Center Honors avoids politics MORE (D-Minn.) leads Kurt Bills (R), a Ron Paul backer who won the GOP nomination after Paul supporters took over the party there, by a huge 55 to 36 percent margin, according to a survey from the Dem-leaning Public Policy Polling.

NORTH DAKOTA: Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank MORE (D) is out with a new ad homing in on two issues likely to resonate with voters in the state: energy and agriculture. The 30-second spot, "Field," features Heitkamp walking through a farm field touting what she frames as her refusal to follow President Obama's policies on energy and agriculture. And Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.) slammed Heitkamp for what he called a "false political assault" in her new ad that attacks his business record, calling for her to remove the ad from the airwaves.

OHIO: Republican Josh Mandel's campaign is out with a new ad in his fight for Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Overnight Regulation: Feds push to clarify regs on bump stocks | Interior wants Trump to shrink two more monuments | Navajo Nation sues over monument rollback | FCC won't delay net neutrality vote | Senate panel approves bill easing Dodd-Frank rules MORE's (D-Ohio) Senate seat, this time attacking the senator's attendance record during his tenure in Congress.

WISCONSIN: Former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) is out with a positive spot on his record, while the SEIU and Majority PAC, a Democratic super-PAC, are out with an ad attacking his time in Washington.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

President Obama will tape an appearance on the "Late Show with David Letterman" next Tuesday, the same night he's expected to be in New York for a campaign fundraiser with pop stars Beyonce and Jay Z. It will be Obama's second appearance on Letterman since becoming president, and seventh time overall.

Mitt Romney told supporters that a donation would enter them for a day-long adventure with the candidate aboard his new plane — or, as Ann Romney apparently calls it, "Hair Force One." In an email ask to supporters, Romney said two supporters could join him for a full day on the campaign trail. "I don't know exactly what our itinerary will be, but if you're one of the winners — I can tell you it will be exciting," Romney said. "And, who knows, maybe you and I will come up with a better name for the campaign plane."

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan got a hero’s welcome from his colleagues on Thursday as he returned to the Capitol for the first time since being named by Romney to the GOP ticket. The Wisconsin lawmaker was greeted with hugs and shouts, poised for photos with colleagues and took some good-natured ribbing about his new-found national status.

Ryan’s fellow GOP members of Congress welcomed him back to the House in star-struck fashion, with several tweeting photos with him in the halls of Congress.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) has gotten his "lines" down but needs to work on his mannerisms in preparing to play Ryan in Vice President Biden's debate prep. "I got my lines," Van Hollen said at the Capitol on Thursday according to multiple outlets. "I've got to work on my gestures."

The actor known as "the most interesting man in the world" in a series of commercials for Mexican beer Dos Equis is fundraising for Obama.

An environmental group launched a radio advertising campaign in three swing states this week in hopes of countering a publicity push from oil-and-gas interests. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) radio spots hit “Big Oil” for promoting expanded drilling in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. Instead, those states should focus on jobs in the clean-energy sector, the advertisements said.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) continued with his harsh criticism of a Republican group that backs LGBT rights, doubling down on his comparison of the group to Uncle Tom and calling them "self-abasing." "To be so, I think, self-abasing, as to give people credit when they are totally opposed to everything you want to do legally, but they're nice to you, they'll talk to you, they don't call you names, that's where the Uncle Tom thing [comes in]," he said during a conference call with reporters.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday over whether the state’s new voter-ID law should go into effect before the general election this November.


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