Meanwhile, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chief Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes Duckworth brings her baby to Senate vote, drawing a crowd Maternal deaths keep rising in US, raising scrutiny MORE (D-Wash.) issued a statement slamming the GOP.

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“The statement by national Republicans in support of Todd Akin is absolutely shameful. All Republican candidates across the country are now going to have to answer for their party's support of Akin,” she said. “Their decision to support Akin should leave zero doubt in anyone’s mind that the Republican Party and the candidates they support are downright dangerous for women.”


TOMORROW’S AGENDA TODAY:

President Obama holds a campaign rally in Virginia Beach at 11:50 a.m.

Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMelania Trump to attend Barbara Bush's funeral The Hill says goodbye to 50 Most Beautiful Family, friends mourn death of Barbara Bush MORE will be Chicago to tape an appearance on “The Steve Harvey Show.” She will then attend two fundraisers — one at 5:30 p.m. and one at 7:10 p.m.

Mitt Romney holds a rally in Springfield, Va., at 11:50 a.m.

Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanA warning to Ryan’s successor: The Speakership is no cakewalk Republicans divided over legislation protecting Mueller The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE will be in Knoxville, Tenn.

Ann Romney will hold a campaign rally in Reno, Nev., at noon.


TWEET OF THE DAY: “Here's the thing: I'm pretty sure the Romney team knows they are losing and I'm pretty sure they know they don't know what to do about it.” — Redstate.com blogger Erick Erickson


POLL POSITION:

President Obama is widening his lead over GOP challenger Mitt Romney in the key battleground states of Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, according to a new poll. The new Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times poll shows Obama leading Romney by 53-43 percent among likely voters in Ohio and with a 53-44 edge in Florida. In Pennsylvania, Obama holds a 12-point advantage over Romney, 54 percent to 42 percent.

Obama has stretched his lead over Romney to 6 percentage points nationally, according to the Gallup daily tracking poll, 50 percent to 44 percent.


AD WATCH:

Mitt Romney’s campaign released an ad featuring the GOP nominee making a direct appeal to voters struggling in the economy and pledging that his policies will “make things better for them.” The new ad, titled “Too Many Americans,” seems to be in response to a surreptitiously filmed video that surfaced last week of Romney telling donors at a private event that “47 percent” of voters are “dependent on government.”

President Obama's campaign unveiled a new Spanish-language television ad that slams Romney on his education and financial aid policies.

Restore Our Future, one of the main super-PACs backing Romney, is launching its second ad buy in Wisconsin and Michigan attacking Obama on his handling of the economy.


BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released four new ads attacking Republicans in close races nationwide. In Ohio, the group targets Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) on his business record, charging that the company he ran outsourced jobs while he made money, and that he went to Congress and voted to protect outsourcing. The ad targeting Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) attacks him for supporting a plan — presumably the Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) budget, though it's never mentioned by name — that would end Medicare and increase fees for seniors. Against Republican David Rouzer, running in North Carolina, the DCCC ad ties his lobbying career to outsourcing and asserts that "he wants to protect outsourcing in Congress." And another ad slams Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) on seniors' issues, asserting that he voted to raise the retirement age for Social Security and to end Medicare.

FLORIDA: Justin Lamar Sternad, a failed Democratic congressional candidate whose campaign is under federal investigation, told authorities that Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.) was secretly behind his bid, the Miami Herald is reporting. 

FLORIDA: Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) launched a minute-long ad that features military veterans touting West's military history and slamming Dem rival Patrick Murphy for "slinging mud." "When you have a leader like Allen West, he points the way, and if you follow him, you're not going to go wrong. Ever," one says.

NEW YORK: House Majority PAC launched an ad attacking Republican Chris Collins for his record as county executive, during which, the ad says, he supported outsourcing local jobs to Korea and China. It's backed by more than $500,000.

NEW YORK: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a new poll that gives Democrat Dan Maffei an 8-percentage-point lead over Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R). But the most recent independent poll of the race, released by the Siena Research Institute earlier this month, put the two tied at 43 percent support each.

UTAH: An internal poll from Republican Mia Love's campaign gives her a 15-percentage-point lead over Rep. Jim MathesonJames (Jim) David MathesonTrump's budget targets affordable, reliable power Work begins on T infrastructure plan New president, new Congress, new opportunity MORE (D). She nabs 51 percent support to Matheson's 36 percent support. It's essentially the same result of the last internal poll released by her campaign, in July. 


SENATE SHOWDOWN:

A new poll shows Sens. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonOvernight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes Scott ramps up spending to million in Florida Senate race Overnight Energy: Trump NASA pick advances after drama | White House office to investigate Pruitt's soundproof booth | 170 lawmakers call for Pruitt to resign MORE (D-Fla.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOvernight Finance: Senate repeals auto-lending guidance, shattering precedent with vote | House passes IRS reform bills | Senate GOP fears tax cut sequel Dem Senator open to bid from the left in 2020 GOP Senate hopefuls race to catch up with Dems MORE (D-Ohio) maintaining healthy leads in their bids for reelection, an encouraging sign from Democrats who had worried the pair of swing-state lawmakers could be tested this fall. Brown leads Republican challenger Josh Mandel 50-40 percent in a poll by The New York Times. In Florida, a new poll from the Times gives Nelson a 14-point advantage over Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), 53-39 percent.

ARIZONA: An internal poll released by Democrat Richard Carmona's campaign gives Rep. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeOvernight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes Arizona GOP tinkers with election rules with an eye on McCain's seat Heitkamp becomes first Dem to back Pompeo for secretary of State MORE (R-Ariz.) a 1-percentage-point lead, 44 percent to 43 percent, essentially a statistical tie.

CONNECTICUT: A new poll shows Rep. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Cybersecurity: Senators want info on 'stingray' surveillance in DC | Bills to secure energy infrastructure advance | GOP lawmaker offers cyber deterrence bill Overnight Health Care: GOP pushes stiff work requirements for food stamps | Johnny Isakson opens up about family's tragic loss to opioids | Republicans refuse to back vulnerable Dem's opioids bill | Dems offer new public option plan Dems give muted praise to Pompeo-Kim meeting MORE (D-Conn.) expanding his lead over Republican Linda McMahon, with 48 percent support to McMahon's 42 percent, according to the survey from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.

MASSACHUSETTS: Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is calling on Democrat Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDem senators demand Trump explain ties to Koch brothers 'Fearless Girl' statue to be moved away from Wall Street bull Sanders, Warren, O’Rourke inspire patriotic small donor waves MORE to release a full list of corporate legal clients she took on while a working as a professor at Harvard. The principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, Bill John Baker, issued a release denouncing the "disrespectful actions" of Brown staffers, who were recorded making Native American war whoops and tomahawk chops at a Brown rally last week.

"The use of stereotypical 'war whoop chants' and 'tomahawk chops' are offensive and downright racist. It is those types of actions that perpetuate negative stereotypes and continue to minimize and degrade all native peoples," he said. Baker also called for Brown to apologize; a request which he has not yet met.

MAINE: Republican Charlie Summers released a new bio spot introducing himself to voters not as a Republican but as a single father, a military veteran and a man who has experienced the same economic troubles as average Maine voters. The ad comes as front-runner and former Gov. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingDemocrats mull audacious play to block Pompeo Overnight Defense: Trump steps up fight with California over guard deployment | Heitkamp is first Dem to back Pompeo for State | Dems question legality of Syria strikes Heitkamp becomes first Dem to back Pompeo for secretary of State MORE (I) is beginning to see his lead in the polls decline somewhat.

MONTANA: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released a new ad using a secret tape of Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R ) addressing the American League of Lobbyists, during which he said "I think lobbying is an honorable profession." It's the second such DSCC ad to use footage from the tape, and it contrasts Rehberg with a teacher, firefighter and rancher.

NEVADA: Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerSenate GOP wary of new tax cut sequel GOP Senate hopefuls race to catch up with Dems Family, friends mourn death of Barbara Bush MORE (R-Nev.) launched a new ad tying Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on spending, charging that "Shelley Berkley's big government spending has failed Nevada." And the DSCC launched a new ad calling Heller Wall Street's favorite senator.

WISCONSIN: Crossroads GPS is launching an ad slamming Democrat Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinDem senators unveil expanded public option for health insurance Dem senators call on FCC to protect against robocalls GOP Senate hopefuls race to catch up with Dems MORE for what it calls her "tax-and-spend agenda." 


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Mitt Romney and President Obama criss-crossed Ohio on Wednesday as the GOP nominee brought in some celebrity friends to boost his bid and the president sought to solidify his double-digit lead in the battleground state.

Golfing great Jack Nicklaus said Romney would ignite “a real recovery” as he introduced the GOP presidential nominee at a campaign event. Nicklaus, an Ohioan, said Romney would return the country to “the America we were.” Romney called the introduction “touching,” and referred to Nicklaus as “the greatest athlete of the 20th century.”

Romney appeared with "Dirty Jobs" host Mike Rowe at a roundtable discussion on jobs near Cleveland.

Romney talking tough on China is “a lot like that fox saying, 'you know, we need more secure chicken coops,’ ” Obama charged in Ohio. “I understand my opponent has been spending some time in Ohio lately and he's been talking tough on China,” Obama said at a campaign stop at Bowling Green State University. “He says he's going to take the fight to them, he's going to go after these cheaters.”

“I mean, it's just not credible” for Romney to talk tough now, Obama charged, hitting the GOP nominee for profiting for years from sending jobs to China.

Ann Romney says since she pushed back at critics of husband Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign last week, she’s been getting high fives from “everyone I’ve seen.” But Romney admitted to Jay Leno during a Tuesday appearance on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” that she initially wondered how she came across: “I stepped out of the interview and I’m like, ‘Oh dear. Was I a little strong?’ ”

She also talked about her plane scare on “Access Hollywood.” "I'm just watching a movie, sitting there and all the sudden, the movie goes off and I turn around, and it was so shocking," she said. "The whole inside of the plane was full of smoke."

Paul Ryan said he's "absolutely" looking forward to debating Vice President Biden.

Senior Romney campaign adviser Ed Gillespie said the campaign has a “no whining rule” when it comes to media coverage of the presidential race. “We have a 'no whining' rule in Boston about coverage in the media,” Gillespie told "Fox and Friends.” “We just deal with the facts.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) ripped Obama for not meeting with world leaders on his trip to the United Nations on Friday, saying Obama is “not a real president.” “[Obama] really is like the substitute [National Football League] referees in the sense that he’s not a real president,” Gingrich told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News Tuesday night. “He doesn’t do anything that presidents do, he doesn’t worry about any of the things the presidents do, but he has the White House, he has enormous power, and he’ll go down in history as the president, and I suspect that he’s pretty contemptuous of the rest of us.”


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