TOMORROW'S AGENDA TODAY: President Obama canceled a campaign rally in Wisconsin to stay in Washington, D.C., and deal with fallout from Hurricane Sandy.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have canceled their campaign schedules for Tuesday because of the storm.
TWEET OF THE DAY: "Labor Dept says may release latest Unemployment figures until after election. Par for course. Why release something might hurt Obama elect?" -- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
Mitt Romney gained a point over President Obama, according to a Gallup daily tracking poll released Monday, and now holds a healthy 5-percentage-point national lead. Romney took 51 percent support in the poll of likely voters, compared to 46 percent for Obama.
Obama has a 52-point lead over Romney with Hispanic voters, 73 percent to 21, according to the latest tracking poll from Latino Decisions.
Romney is edging Obama in the critical battleground state of Ohio, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey. Romney takes 50 percent support against Obama's 48. The survey of 750 likely voters has a 4 percent margin of error.
Romney is holding to a narrow 1-point lead in Florida, while Obama has pulled into a tie in North Carolina, according to a new pair of polls. Romney leads Obama 50 to 49 percent in the Sunshine State, according to a CNN/ORC poll released Monday. Meanwhile, a poll from Elon University shows the candidates tied at 45 percent apiece in North Carolina, despite recent evidence that the state was shading toward the Romney category.
A Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 survey shows Romney holding the edge among voters in a key region of central Florida, winning 51 percent support to Obama’s 45 among registered voters along Florida’s I-4 corridor. The stretch of the state running from Tampa Bay on the Gulf Coast to Daytona Beach in the east is seen as a crucial area for winning the state’s swing voters, and the poll suggests the key swing state is moving toward Romney.
The liberal super-PAC American Bridge 21st Century is accusing Mitt Romney of treating the economy "like a game" in an television ad. "To Mitt Romney, your job and our economy are just a game. Romnopoly. You don't have to wait to find out what a Romney presidency would mean. 'I'd let Detroit go bankrupt.' If you're Mitt, get rich with a little help from government, then you can tell everyone else they're on their own," says a narrator in the ad.
Restore Our Future, a super-PAC backing Romney's campaign, is launching a major ad buy in Pennsylvania for the last week of the campaign, the group has confirmed to The Hill.
President Obama is firing back at a commercial from Romney's campaign that says Chrysler will move production of its Jeep brand to China in a new ad. Team Obama did not release details about the ad, but it is expected to air in auto-heavy areas of Ohio such as Toledo, where Romney's ad was running over the weekend.
BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE:
The National Republican Congressional Committee is out with ads calling former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) "shameful" and slamming former Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) for missing votes while in Congress. They also have new ads against Reps. John Barrow (D-Ga.), Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) and Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), and against Illinois Democrats David Gill, Cheri Bustos and Michigan Democrat Gary McDowell.
The liberal CREDO super-PAC released polls in five districts it's involved in, showing their side with momentum: Reps. Allen West (R-Fla.) trails his opponent by a point, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) is down 14 points in his district, Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) is tied in his race, Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) trails by 4 points and Rep. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.) has a 1-point lead in his race. The group did not release numbers in the other six districts it's involved in. Cravaack released his own internal poll on Monday showing him up by 10 points.
CALIFORNIA: American Action Network is launching a direct-mail and radio campaign targeting Democrat Julia Brownley in the final stretch of the campaign.
FLORIDA: House Majority PAC is launching two new ads against Rep. Allen West (R) in Florida, targeting what they characterize as his position to end Medicare and for failing to focus on jobs. The ads come as a new Public Policy Polling survey puts Democrat Patrick Murphy ahead of West by 1 percentage point, and as West rolls out an endorsement from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R).
TENNESSEE: House Majority PAC released a second ad against Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R) in Tennessee's 4th District, on the heels of a weekend revelation that he had another mistress while he was married. The ad highlights the fact that the Tennessee Conservative Union is pushing for his resignation, and is backed by a $180,000 buy and brings the group's investment in the race up to $280,000.
Hurricane Sandy is roiling Senate races along the East Coast. The storm is forcing event cancellations from Virginia up through Maine, altering campaigns' final pushes ahead of next week's election.
ARIZONA: Arizona GOP Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl appear in a new ad for Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) slamming Democrat Richard Carmona and expressing support for the Republican candidate in Arizona's Senate race.
MASSACHUSETTS: Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) announced on Monday afternoon that he will not be participating in his fourth and final debate with Democrat Elizabeth Warren, citing safety concerns due to the storm. It was scheduled for Tuesday night. Brown leads Warren by 2 percentage points in a new Boston Globe poll, a reversal of the same poll's September numbers, which showed Warren ahead. The new poll gives Brown 45 percent support to Warren's 43, a statistical tie within the survey's 4-point margin of error, just over a week from Election Day.
MISSOURI: Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) issued a final fundraising plea for Rep. Todd Akin (R) on Monday, while Newt Gingrich campaigned with the candidate in a last-minute push for votes. Akin remains down in most polls, but one released over the weekend put him within 2 percentage points of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D).
NEBRASKA: Former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson endorsed Bob Kerrey (D).
NEVADA: "The National Republican Senatorial Committee is out with a new ad hitting Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) on her ongoing ethics investigation and her support of the stimulus.
NORTH DAKOTA: Former President Clinton has entered the North Dakota Senate race, stumping for Heidi Heitkamp (D) Monday evening and recording a radio ad on her behalf.
PENNSYLVANIA: Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and challenger Tom Smith (R) fought over spending and debt in their lone debate this past weekend, with Casey attacking Smith for wanting to overhaul Medicare and Social Security and Smith attacking Casey for his support of Democrats' health insurance overhaul law.
VIRGINIA: George Allen (R) is bashing a green group and a Democratic super-PAC for launching an attack ad against him Monday while Hurricane Sandy menaces the state. The former governor and ex-senator has canceled campaign events Monday in his tight race against Democrat Tim Kaine.
WISCONSIN: Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) put out another rough ad questioning Rep. Tammy Baldwin's (D-Wis.) commitment to the troops. "Not only did Baldwin vote against honoring the victims of 9-11, she fought to block funding that provides body armor for our troops just to make a political point. Baldwin even voted against tough sanctions on a nuclear Iran while pocketing sixty grand from a radical pro-Iran group," the ad charges with a radio ad of its own defending Baldwin and saying Thompson saw 9/11 as "just another opportunity for personal profit ... got a government contract to provide healthcare to 9/11 first-responders, but Thompson was negligent – leaving 9/11 heroes without the care they were promised." The two have been getting increasingly nasty with their attacks on the other's character in the tight race. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fired back.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
President Obama says he would like to establish a "secretary of Business" if he wins a second term. In an interview with MSNBC, the president said he wants to consolidate a number of business and trade-related agencies, creating a "one-stop shop" for oversight. Obama's statements amount to a late-campaign effort to burnish his business credentials against Mitt Romney, who has highlighted his success as a private-equity executive throughout the presidential race.
Obama said if reelected the "first order of business" would be deficit reduction, and that his administration would also focus on immigration.
Paul Ryan used his lone campaign appearance Monday to encourage supporters in Florida to donate to relief efforts for those affected by Hurricane Sandy, and told those with relatives outside the state to encourage them to heed warnings from emergency personnel. "Floridians, you are no strangers to big storms," Ryan said at a rally in Fernandina Beach, Fla. "You know better than anyone of the need for communities to come together and for neighbors to help one another."
Ann Romney earlier this year at a private fundraiser described Romney as the "grown-up" the country needs to repair the economy and prevent an economic collapse in the style of Greece.
The first lady is still hitting the campaign trail in middle America. Michelle Obama told an Iowa crowd that the president is making the hurricane "his priority."
The head of the nation’s largest labor federation blasted Romney for pandering to coal country, saying Obama would better support miners’ rights and jobs. Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, said Romney’s coal country plaudits are a farce. He pointed to Romney’s time at the helm of Bain Capital, which he said led to outsourcing that trampled middle-class jobs. At the same time, Trumka said, Romney in 2003 had opposed coal as governor of Massachusetts.
The U.S. Department of Labor said it is doing everything it can to ensure that the latest unemployment figures are released on Friday as scheduled.
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