The debate also will bring the contrast between House GOP and administration budget plans to the forefront in the presidential race.

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Ryan is the chairman of the House Budget Committee and the author of the last two House-passed budgets. Democrats have sought to highlight Mitt Romney's endorsement of much of Ryan’s budget, particularly its proposals to change Medicare.

The Wisconsin Republican is no shrinking violet, however, and is likely to use the prime-time debate to excoriate the Obama administration’s trillion-dollar budget deficits.


TOMORROW’S AGENDA TODAY: President Obama will be attending meetings at the White House.

Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden will be campaigning in La Crosse, Wis.

Mitt Romney and 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 will hold a campaign rally in Lancaster, Ohio, at 5:40 p.m. Before that, Romney will be in Richmond, Va., for a 12:10 p.m. campaign rally.

Ann Romney will attend a campaign rally in Hudsonville, Mich., at 8:15 a.m. She will then drop by the Franklin Cider Mill in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., at 2:40 p.m.

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioColbert: Students taking action on gun violence 'give me hope' Lawmakers feel pressure on guns Florida lawmaker's aide fired after claiming shooting survivors were 'actors' MORE (R-Fla.) and Craig Romney will attend a Student Victory Rally for Romney at Florida International University in Miami at 11 a.m. Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerRestoring fiscal sanity requires bipartisan courage GOP congressman slams primary rival for Ryan donations Speculation swirls about Kevin McCarthy’s future MORE (R-Ohio) will attend a campaign rally for Romney in Charlotte, N.C., at 4:50 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY: “12 hours until VP debate. 12 hours, 2 minutes and 39 secs until Biden's first gaffe. #BidenGaffeOverUnder” — former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell (R)


QUOTE OF THE DAY: "You ever see me rope-a-dope?" — Vice President Biden, asked if his whether his debate strategy was to make himself look weak to make his opponent overconfident and slip up


POLL POSITION:

President Obama’s job-approval rating spiked this month, according to Gallup’s daily tracking survey, but the jump could be the result of a shift in the polling outlet’s survey methodology. Gallup increased the proportion of cellphones in its tracking survey from 40 percent, now splitting its calls to cellphones and land lines evenly.

Mitt Romney is gaining in three key swing states one week after his strong debate performance. The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls show Romney and Obama in a statistical tie in Virginia, where Romney leads 48 percent to 47 percent, and Florida, where Obama leads 48 percent to 47 percent, with Obama holding a slight edge in Ohio, 51 percent to Romney’s 45.

Romney also leads Obama in four national polls: by 3 percentage points in the latest Reuters-Ispsos and UPI-CVoter polls — 47 percent support over Obama's 44 percent in the former and 49 to 46 percent in the latter — and 48 percent to 47 percent and 47 percent to 46 percent, respectively, in surveys from Gallup and IBD-TIPP.

Obama holds a slim lead over Romney in Nevada, 47 percent to 45 percent, according to a Suffolk University/KSNV poll.

In Virginia, Obama leads Romney 51-46 percent in a CBS News/New York Times poll. In Wisconsin, Obama leads 50-47 percent. In Colorado, Romney holds a narrow 48-47 percent advantage.

Romney leads Obama in Florida by 7 points, 51 percent to 44, according to a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/Miami Herald poll.


BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE:

House Majority PAC released two new ads hitting Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) and Republican Danny Tarkanian in Nevada. The West ad features veterans questioning West's record on veterans issues, charging that "he left us behind." West has sought to make his military background an asset in the race, and the HMP ad seems to be a counterpunch on the issue. The ad against Tarkanian, a joint effort with AFSCME, highlights some of Tarkanian's positions that the ad characterizes as "way out of touch with the middle class."

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released ads targeting Republican Vernon Parker, running in Arizona's 9th District, Rep. Charlie Bass (R), running in New Hampshire's 2nd District, Republican Matt Doheny, running in New York's 11th District, and Republican Dan Webster, running in Florida's 10th District.

CALIFORNIA: Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) rolled out another string of prominent endorsements on Thursday against Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.): former Secretaries of State George Schultz (R) and Madeleine Albright (D) threw their support to the House Foreign Relations Committee ranking member, as did Reps. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) and Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), giving Berman the endorsements of a majority of California's GOP members as well as a majority of its Democrats. But despite all the bipartisan support, he's still facing an uphill race against Sherman, who's represented more of the district in the past.

ILLINOIS: The Chicago Tribune said it is not endorsing anyone in the race between Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) and Brian Woodworth, because Jackson has been absent from work for more than four months now while being treated for bipolar disorder.

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 attends a campaign rally for Christie Vilsack (D) in Sioux City.


SENATE SHOWDOWN:

ARIZONA: Rep. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March Outgoing GOP rep: Republican Party 'heading into trouble' in election MORE (R-Ariz.) said during the first Arizona Senate debate that he would not sign and has not signed Grover Norquist's no-tax pledge, but the candidate is listed as one of the signers on the Americans for Tax Reform website. Flake spokesman Andrew Wilder affirmed Flake had signed it in the past, but that the language has changed since he originally signed it and he now takes issue with the revised language. Meanwhile, Flake is using Democrat Richard Carmona's former boss to hammer him on his temperament toward women in a new ad. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released a new ad attempting to tar Flake as too extreme for Arizona, highlighting a number of his votes that the ad says illustrates how "deeply out of touch" he is. "Jeff Flake would eliminate the Department of Education, voted against college aid, and against the GI Bill for returning veterans. He’d even allow mining at the Grand Canyon," the ad says.

CONNECTICUT: Democrats are attacking Republican candidate Linda McMahon on Medicare in a new ad.

FLORIDA: Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonGingrich says arming teachers only long-term solution to school shootings Florida students turn to activism in wake of shooting CNN invites Trump to town hall with parents, students of Florida high school MORE released a new ad charging that Republican challenger Rep. Connie Mack has supported legislation that would help some of his biggest donors, including the oil industry and Wall Street donors.

INDIANA: Former President Bill Clinton attends a get out the vote rally in Indianapolis at 10:30 a.m.

MASSACHUSETTS: Democrat 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 leads Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) in two new polls, the latest indication that the race for Senate in Massachusetts is tilting in favor of the Democrat. A poll conducted by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling gives her a 6-point lead over Brown, with 50 percent to Brown's 44 percent support. And a poll from conservative-leaning firm Rasmussen gives her a 2-point lead among likely voters, with 49 percent support to Brown's 47 percent support.

MISSOURI: Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) is calling 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 (R-Mo.) "corrupt" in a new ad for what the ad characterizes as her work guiding federal money to benefit her family.

OHIO: An ad campaign launched Thursday by a conservative group aims to unseat Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownLawmaker interest in NAFTA intensifies amid Trump moves Dem senator shares photo praising LeBron James after Laura Ingraham attacks Trump gets recommendation for steep curbs on imported steel, risking trade war MORE (D-Ohio) by linking him to Obama administration regulations opposed by the coal industry. American Commitment is spending $400,000 on the Ohio TV and radio effort. The group is headed by Phil Kerpen, a former strategist for Americans for Prosperity and Club for Growth. And Brown's campaign released a new ad featuring what the campaign called Ohio workers defending Brown's record on jobs in Ohio and highlighting Republican Josh Mandel's position against the auto bailout and tariffs on China.

PENNSYLVANIA: Businessman Tom Smith (R) is within 2 points of Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyDems hit stock buybacks in tax law fight Dem senator warns Mueller against issuing Russia report near 2018 election Dem praises gay US Olympian who feuded with Pence MORE (D-Pa.), according to a new internal poll from Smith's campaign. The race has been under the radar, but Smith has been dominating the airwaves and Republicans believe the race could be a sleeper.

VIRGINIA: Former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) is out with an internal poll that shows him with a 3-point lead over former Virginia Gov. 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), 49 percent to 46, a move designed to push back against a string of recent public polls showing Kaine with the lead. Kaine holds a narrow 47 to 46 percent lead over Allen, according to a new poll from NBC/The Wall Street Journal/Marist College. In another new poll from Quinnipiac University/CBS/The New York Times, Kaine leads Allen by 51 to 44 percent.

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.) has a slim 2-point lead over former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R), 48 to 46 percent, within the margin of error of the new poll from Quinnipiac University/CBS/The New York Times.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

President Obama's reelection team argued that it is already beginning to reap the benefits of its elaborate — and expensive — ground operation, arguing that party registration and early voting efforts lead Republicans in nearly every swing state. Obama campaign manager Jim Messina confidently predicted in a conference call with reporters, "the ground game we've built up over the past few years will help us drive hard right through that finish line." But, Messina said, "this thing is far from over."

Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter is coming under intense criticism from Republicans for saying the "entire reason" the attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, had become a political topic was "because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan."

Repealing Obama’s healthcare law would not keep people from getting insurance or quality care, Romney said. In an interview with the editorial board of the Columbus Dispatch, Romney defended his plans to repeal the healthcare law, saying the uninsured could still visit an emergency room and that people with preexisting conditions could keep their insurance.

Obama accused Romney of trying to convince Americans that he was "severely kidding" when he was running as a "severely conservative" candidate in the Republican primary. "He's trying to go through an extreme makeover. After running for more than a year in which he called himself that he was 'severely conservative,' Mitt Romney is trying to convince you that he was severely kidding," Obama said while campaigning Miami.

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus sent a letter to Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Pennsylvania Supreme Court releases new congressional map 36 people who could challenge Trump in 2020 MORE demanding an investigation into online campaign contributions to the president's reelection campaign.

Most swing voters trust the information they find online, according to a study commissioned by Google. The study found that 62 percent of voters who live in battleground states and who have not made up their minds trust the information they find online. The figure is comparable to the portion who trust information from network news (67 percent) and print newspapers (62 percent).


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