"Mitt Romney once again tried to engage the president on foreign policy, and we have a simple message for him: Bring it on," said Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt.


TOMORROW’S AGENDA TODAY: President Obama will be campaigning in Columbus, Ohio. Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas is scheduled to perform.

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Vice President Biden is in Delaware for debate prep. The vice presidential debate is Thursday in Danville, Ky.

Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama celebrates success of ‘Black Panther’ How textbooks shape teachers — not just their students Michelle Obama dedicates Valentine's Day playlist to Barack Obama MORE will speak at a campaign event in Loudoun County, Va., at 4:30 p.m. She will then attend a fundraiser in McClean, Va., at 7:30 p.m.

Jill Biden is on a campaign swing in Pennsylvania: she will attend Obama-Biden canvass kick-off events at field offices in Reading at 12:15 p.m. and in Lancaster at 2 p.m. She will then attend an event at the South Philadelphia campaign office at 5 p.m.

Former President Clinton will be campaigning for Obama in Las Vegas.

Mitt Romney will hold a campaign rally at the Koch Family Farm in Van Meter, Iowa, at 12:05 p.m. He will then head to Ohio for a campaign rally in Cuyahoga Falls at 7:25 p.m.

Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRepublicans are avoiding gun talks as election looms The Hill's 12:30 Report Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan MORE is in St. Petersburg, Fla., for debate prep.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush will attend a Romney campaign event in Orlando, Fla., at 9:45 a.m. He will then attend a Victory Hispanic Meet and Greet in Kissimmee, Fla., at 1 p.m. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be campaigning for Romney in Lordstown, Ohio, at an event at 3:05 p.m. and will join Romney at his evening rally.


TWEET OF THE DAY: “At the request of many I will be doing live tweets during the next presidential debate.” — Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE



QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I rarely step foot in the West Wing,” Michelle Obama told ABC’s "Nightline.” “In fact, people are shocked when they see me there."


POLL POSITION:

Mitt Romney and President Obama are tied in a Gallup poll, with each receiving 47 percent. Romney’s strong debate performance is being credited for his bump: 72 percent of debate watchers picked Romney as the winner of the Wednesday face-off in Denver. Twenty percent picked Obama.

A Pew poll also found Romney leading Obama, 49 percent to 45 percent.

Obama's lead over Romney in Virginia is now stands at just 3 points, the lowest that Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling has found this election cycle. The president leads Romney 50-47 percent, according to the firm, down from a 51-46 lead three weeks prior.


AD WATCH:

Priorities USA, the super-PAC supporting President Obama's reelection effort, debuted a new attack ad targeting Mitt Romney over his education plan in a campaign set to air in six crucial swing states. The ad will air in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, although the group did not announce specifically how much it would spend, saying simply the ad buy was part of a larger $30 million expenditure.


BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE:

There is "no question" that taxes are the central issue of the 2012 election, according to House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorFeehery: The governing party 'Release the memo' — let's stop pretending that Democrats are the defenders of the FBI Raúl Labrador, a model for Hispanic politicians reaching higher MORE (R-Va.). Cantor said he is "very bullish" on House Republicans being able to expand their majority in the election, in part due to their message of lower taxes on the campaign trail.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is launching attack ads in 27 House districts, blasting Democratic incumbents with a boatload of opposition research.

CALIFORNIA: Former California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado (R) leads Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) by 45 to 44 percent in new internal poll. Partisan polls tend to inflate their candidates a bit, but Capps is seen as having a narrow edge in her race.

ILLINOIS: Tammy Duckworth (D) leads Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) by 52 to 42 percent in a new poll from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Duckworth is expected to win the race by a wide margin against the Tea Party freshman. The DCCC also released a poll showing Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Dem hopefuls flock to Iowa Bill Press: Unequal on sex charges MORE (D) with a 45 to 44 percent lead over Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Ill.), who's running a strong race in a Democratic-leaning district. Partisan polls often skew a bit toward their candidates.

IOWA: Former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonShould the Rob Porter outcome set the standard? Make the compromise: Ending chain migration is a small price to legalize Dreamers Assessing Trump's impeachment odds through a historic lens MORE is heading out to stump for former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack (D), who is challenging Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), and four Democrats in Northern California. Clinton has been increasingly active on the campaign trail.

PENNSYLVANIA: The National Rifle Association endorsed Rep. Mark Critz (D-Pa.), giving him a boost in his tough reelection bid in a GOP-leaning, largely rural district outside Pittsburgh.

WISCONSIN: Rep. Sean DuffySean Patrick DuffyLongtime manager of Bon Iver to run for Congress in Wisconsin: report GOP rep: We want DACA bill, but Dems want ‘an open border’ The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Wis.) has a 51 to 40 percent lead over Democrat Pat Kreitlow in a new poll from the GOP outside group American Action Network. Partisan polls tend to inflate their candidates somewhat, but Duffy is seen as having a narrow edge in the race.


SENATE SHOWDOWN:

CONNECTICUT: Majority PAC teamed up with Connecticut's Future PAC to launch an ad focusing on Republican Linda McMahon's prior statements on a "sunset" provision for legislation like Social Security, contrasting that with her wealth. 

INDIANA: Rep. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyDemocrats now attack internet rules they once embraced Dem group launches M ad buy to boost vulnerable senators Senate rejects Trump immigration plan MORE (D-Ind.) and Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) are out with new ads in their tight Senate race. Mourdock's spot says Donnelly and President Obama are "perfectly synchronized" on government spending as footage of synchronized swimmers rolls, while Donnelly's ad, not yet online, says he is the "only one [in the race] for the middle class."

MASSACHUSETTS: Sen. Scott Brown's (R-Mass.) campaign launched a policy-focused ad targeting Democratic candidate Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump's SEC may negate investors' ability to fight securities fraud Schatz's ignorance of our Anglo-American legal heritage illustrates problem with government Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee MORE's support for President Obama's economic policies, particularly with respect to taxes. The ad charges that "Warren's tax increase" will result in hundreds of thousands of fewer jobs created, with 17,000 fewer in Massachusetts alone. And Warren leads Brown in a new Democratic internal poll of the race, 50 percent support to Brown's 46.

MICHIGAN: Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) is up with his first ad in months accusing Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann Stabenow10 Senate Democrats are up for reelection in Trump country At least Alzheimer’s research is bringing Washington together Senate Dems block crackdown on sanctuary cities MORE (D-Mich.) of "sell{[ng] out Michigan seniors" and voting to cut Medicare by $716 billion with her vote for Democrats' health insurance reform law. He's a major underdog in the race.

MISSOURI: The National Rifle Association endorsed Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) Monday. Though it's an unsurprising endorsement for the candidate, who has received an A grade from the group for his support of Second Amendment rights in comparison to Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMcCaskill welcomes ninth grandson in a row Dem group launches M ad buy to boost vulnerable senators Senate Dems block crackdown on sanctuary cities MORE's (D) F grade, it's significant for being another national group unafraid to come out in support of the embattled congressman.

MONTANA: Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) brought in $2.4 million in the last three months. Rehberg narrowly outraised his opponent, Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterWith vote against Brownback, Democrats abandon religious freedom Democrat Manchin: Pence attacks prove ‘they don't want bipartisanship’ in Trump admin Tester invited the Border Patrol Union’s president to the State of the Union. What does that say to Dreamers?   MORE (D-Mont.), who raised $2.3 million during the same period. Rehberg has $1.7 million left in the bank for the final month of the campaign, while Tester has $1.3 million. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has an ad running against Rehberg, featuring Montana firefighters sharing with the camera Rehberg's past history with the local fire department in Billings, Mont. Rehberg sued the city after a wildfire devastated his land, and though he eventually lost the suit, it cost the city thousands.

NEVADA: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has an ad hitting Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThe siren of Baton Rouge Big Republican missteps needed for Democrats to win in November What to watch for in the Senate immigration votes MORE (R) on women's issues with an ad in the style of a children's cartoon. "See Dean Heller. See Jane Nevada and her healthcare team," a narrator says over a stick-figure drawing of Heller and a woman. Heller and Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) are up with new ads as well: Heller's ad says Berkley voted for "$6 gas" in a "massive new energy tax," while Berkley's criticizes Heller for saying he wanted to eliminate the Department of Education.

NORTH DAKOTA: Majority PAC has an ad running that claims Rep. Rick Berg (R) has "gone Washington," citing what it characterizes as his votes to cut funding for higher education loans and scholarships while supporting tax cuts for the wealthy.

VIRGINIA: Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineSave lives, restore congressional respect by strengthening opioids’ seizure Overnight Finance: Lawmakers, Treasury look to close tax law loopholes | Trump says he backs gas tax hike | Markets rise despite higher inflation | Fannie Mae asks for .7B Bipartisan Senate group says they have immigration deal MORE (D) has increased his lead over George Allen (R), according to a poll from the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling. Kaine leads with 51 percent support in the survey to Allen’s 44 percent. Kaine's (D) latest ad features Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Mueller indictment reveals sophisticated Russian manipulation effort GOP cautious, Dems strident in reaction to new indictments MORE (D-Va.), the state's most popular politician, to argue he and Kaine would make a "great team in Washington." Allen’s new ad rips Kaine for backing last year's bipartisan compromise on the debt ceiling, attacking him for supporting the deal's big cuts to defense spending.

WISCONSIN: Rep. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinAmerican women will decide who wins and loses in 2018 elections Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees 10 Senate Democrats are up for reelection in Trump country MORE (D-Wis.) narrowly leads former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) in their Senate race by 49 to 46 percent, according to a new poll from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. Her lead is 1 point greater than President Obama's in the poll, a surprising result that could flip as Republicans ramp up spending against her — and Thompson's doing just that with an ad that says she's lying about his record and "supports a massive middle-class tax increase that President Obama says would be devastating."


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

President Obama dedicated the César E. Chávez National Monument in Keene, Calif., calling the civil rights and farm worker activist “a voice to poor and disenfranchised workers everywhere.”

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc HastingsRichard (Doc) Norman HastingsCongress just resolved a 20-year debate over Neolithic remains Boehner hires new press secretary GOP plots new course on Endangered Species Act reform MORE (R-Wash.) blasted Obama for what he said was an attempt to score political points with Hispanic voters by designating a national monument to honor civil rights activist César Chávez.

The Ohio Democratic Party is seeking to use the longtime rivalry between Ohio State University and the University of Michigan against Mitt Romney. The Ohio Democrats bought a full-page ad in Friday's Ohio State University college newspaper, The Lantern, quoting Romney during a speech at Michigan in 2011. "I have been a Michigan and a Wolverine fan for a long, long time," the quote in the ad reads, according to mlive.com.

Romney had his motorcade stop and turn around so he could visit elementary school students who had been waving as the column of vehicles drove by. Romney aides tweeted updates as Romney made the abrupt stop.

Paul Ryan accused Obama of "mischaracterizing" the 2012 Republican presidential ticket's support for veterans. "He's mischaracterizing our support for veterans. Let me make one thing very clear. In the House budget that we drafted and that we passed, we fully met and exceeded the president's request for veteran's funding by $270 million," Ryan said at a campaign speech in Toledo, Ohio.

The Republican Governors Association is set to tap New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to head the organization over the next two years, raising the national profiles of two GOP politicians often mentioned as future presidential candidates. Jindal is slated to take over the chairmanship in 2013, replacing the current chairman, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Christie would take the helm in 2014, provided that he wins reelection in his 2013 gubernatorial election.

Big Bird’s feathers don’t appear to be ruffled by the buzz Romney’s mention of him created during the first presidential debate. In a surprise appearance during the “Weekend Update” news segment on last week’s “Saturday Night Live,” the yellow-feathered “Sesame Street” fixture noted all the fuss, saying, “It’s so weird to think about — that just a few days go, I could just blend in like every other perfectly normal 8-foot talking bird.”


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