Good morning folks,

We hope that at least some of you got to enjoy the long weekend.  The post-debate Romney bounce continues, with national polls from Pew, Gallup, and multiple statewide polls showing a noticeable movement in the challenger’s direction.  Meanwhile, what does Team Obama keep doing?  Repeatedly talking about a debate that was an utter disaster for their guy.  Chuck Toddwondered aloud on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, “When is the Obama Campaign going to stop talking about the debate? One thing that grabs me about the Big Bird Ad, which by the way isn’t really airing anywhere, they cannot seem to turn the page from their debate… they keep talking about it, we’re now almost a week now… they still want to be talking about the debate and any conversation about that debate helps Mitt Romney.”  Indeed.

But keep talking about it they will… because until the President starts talking about something serious, until he holds a press conference, until he discusses Libya, until he does SOMETHING,ANYTHING that isn’t fluff, there simply isn’t anything else to talk about.  Last Wednesday, the country saw a President who has not had allowed himself to be questioned or challenged, who has repeatedly avoided difficult interviews in favor of “poppy” venues like “The View,” “Letterman,” and local sports radio.  That was Team Obama’s choice and they are now paying a significant price for it.  It’s one thing to deliver a mocking speech at a rally of supporters, it’s an entirely different thing to face direct criticism of one’s failures and be forced to answer for them.

Happy Birthday to the Fix’s Aaron Blake.
BURNING QUESTIONS

The President is Going To Have to Explain This, via Jake Tapper.

AND THIS  via Daily Beast:  Libya Cable Detailed Threats… In a dispatch sent the day he was killed, Ambassador Christopher Stevens described how the militias keeping the peace in Benghazi threatened to quit over a political feud.

  • President Obama was campaigning in Las Vegas  at the time.

STATE OF PLAY 

THE LEFT IN PANIC – ANDREW SULLIVAN, writing on “The Dish” blog on The Daily Beast “Did Obama Just Throw The Entire Election Away?”: “The Pew poll is devastating, just devastating. Before the debate, Obama had a 51 – 43 lead; now, Romney has a 49 – 45 lead. That’s a simply unprecedented reversal for a candidate in October. Before Obama had leads on every policy issue and personal characteristic; now Romney leads in almost all of them. Obama’s performance gave Romney a 12 point swing! I repeat: a 12 point swing.  Romney’s favorables are above Obama’s now. … That gender gap that was Obama’s firewall? Over in one night …“I’ve never seen a candidate self-destruct for no external reason this late in a campaign before. … I’m trying to see a silver lining. But when a president self-immolates on live TV, and his opponent shines with lies and smiles, and a record number of people watch, it’s hard to see how a president and his party recover.

YG’s TakeDeep Breaths. 

PEW RESEARCH POLL

  • Among likely voters, Romney holds a slight 49% to 45% edge over Obama. He trailed by eight points among likely voters last month.
  • By about 3:1, voters say Romney did a better job than Obama in the Oct. 3 debate,
  • Romney is now better regarded on most personal dimensions and on most issues than he was in September.
  • Romney is seen as the candidate who has new ideas and is viewed as better able than Obama to improve the jobs situation and reduce the budget deficit.
  • Romney’s supporters are far more engaged in the campaign than they were in September
  • Romney’s personal image has improved. His favorable rating has hit 50% among registered voters for the first time in Pew Research Center surveys and has risen five points since September. At the same time, Obama’s personal favorability rating has fallen from 55% to 49%.
  • Obama and Romney now run even (44% each) in terms of which candidate is the stronger leader. Obama held a 13-point advantage on this a month ago.
  • In July, just 41% thought Romney’s policies would help the middle class. This has risen to 49% in the current poll; a comparable percentage of voters (50%) say that Obama’s policies would help the middle class.
  • Romney also has gained ground with younger voters. Today, 51% of those under 50 have positive impressions of the GOP candidate, up from 43% in September. Mirroring Romney’s improvement among these younger voters is an erosion in Obama’s ratings among this group: 49% of 18-49-year-old voters now view him favorably, down 10 points from September.

GALLUP POLL

  • Registered voters’ preferences for president are evenly split in the first three days of Gallup tracking since last Wednesday’s presidential debate.
  • 2/3 of Americans Watched Debate, Those who viewed the debate overwhelmingly believe Romney did a better job than Obama, 72% to 20%.
  • Even Democrats rated Romney as doing a better job than Obama, 49% to 39%.

Behind the Pew/Gallup Surge, with WAPOST’S Jon Cohen: These polls show more people are now identifying as Republicans in the wake of Romney’s debate performance. Just as they showed a clear Democratic tilt earlier in the fall, and in the immediate aftermath of Romney’s “47 percent” comments. Shifts happen in the electorate. The only constant is change… … All of the change in both polls came from the composition of each sample. In pre-debate interviews by Gallup, self-identified Democrats outnumbered Republicans by five percentage points, according to Gallup’s Jeff Jones. By contrast, in the three days following the debate, the balance shifted in a GOP direction, with 34 percent of registered voters identifying as Republicans (two points up from pre-debate), 33 percent as Democrats (four points down).  For Pew, a nine-point Democratic advantage in mid-September is now plus one percentage point for the GOP.

-11 says Rasmussen: Intensity of support or opposition can have an impact on campaigns. Currently, 29% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way Obama is performing as president. Forty percent (40%) Strongly Disapprove, giving him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -11

PA WITHIN MARGIN OF ERROR? Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by a 2 point margin, identical to his lead in late September according to Susquehanna Polling and Research. But the Republican’s debate performance contributed to a 6 point jump in his favorability rating.  In a poll conducted just after the first presidential debate, from Oct. 4 to 6, 47 percent of respondents said they support Obama; 45 percent support Romney. 3 percent support Libertarian Gary Johnson.

  • Obama leads among all females 52-42,
  • Romney leads 49-42 among males.
  • Romney leads Obama in the Southwest (49-36), “T”/Central (63-27), and South Central/Harrisburg (51-39), while Obama leads Romney in the Northwest (58-39), Northeast/Lehigh Valley (53-38) and Philadelphia (86-13). Obama leads narrowly in the 4 suburban counties in the Southeast (50-45), while Romney leads narrowly in Allegheny County (51-46).

AND WE’RE GOIN TA MICHIGANNNNNN, YAAAAAAAAH, via Detroit Free Press: Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s performance in his first debate with President Barack Obama helped him trim Obama’s lead in Michigan by seven percentage points and put the state back in play, according to a poll released Monday to the Free Press. About 48% of likely voters would support Obama, and 45% would support Romney… ….The poll, done on the three days immediately following the debate, showed a surge toward Romney by independent and undecided voters.  Of those polled, 43% described themselves as Democrats and 38% as Republicans. The poll also found Romney ahead among independent women and Obama ahead among independent men, though its margins of error grow as the sample is divided into smaller groups.

Back to Earth, Via Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei: Campaign officials said any change will be confined by Romney’s own cautious nature. And they are candid that their electoral map still looks terrible: Romney is behind in nearly every vital state. Ohio still looks very tough to win and New Hampshire, once a possibility, looks very bleak, officials say.  But one big reason for hope inside the Romney campaign is that conservatives were so down on the campaign before the debate — and so rapturous during it — that they will give him a lot of maneuvering room to talk in more moderate ways.  With several polls showing Romney bouncing back nationally, his aides contend they are well equipped to keep the race close until Election Day. The polls show increasing Republican enthusiasm, which is driving Boston’s optimism. Romney aides hope they can then conjure that into momentum going into next week’s second debate, despite the setback of last week’s strong jobs figures, which helped Obama get off the mat.

  • More TAGG: Shortly before the first debate, it finally boiled over. What followed was a family intervention. The candidate’s family prevailed on Mitt Romney and the campaign operation, to shake things up dramatically, according to campaign insiders. The family pushed for a new message, putting an emphasis on a softer and more moderate image for the GOP nominee — a “let Mitt be Mitt” approach they believed more accurately reflected the looser, generous and more approachable man they knew. ….But the biggest change in the ecology, according to the insiders, is the more assertive role of Tagg Romney, who has been “making sure that his father’s environment is such that he’s relaxed when he goes up to do things, and making sure that he’s not over-programmed, and is protected from the cacophony of advice,” a family friend said. … His advice reflects the views of Ann Romney, according to the friend: “She wants the man she knows to be shown, to be seen.”

Liar Liar Ain’t Going To Work, via Rich Lowry: Democrats have convinced themselves that all the president needs to do to come roaring back in the next debate is rebut Romney’s dishonesties, which will expose his indefensible agenda and shallow reinvention. The president’s team evidently underestimated Romney once already. If it believes this “lying liar” interpretation of the debate — rather than pushing it in the media for lack of anything else to say — it will underestimate him yet again.  Mitt Romney bested President Obama on the merits in Denver. Anyone insisting otherwise simply can’t handle the truth.

New Romney Line – 43 at 8: “As a matter of fact, I just read that if you look back 60 years, and you look at all the months we had with unemployment above 8 percent before President Obama, there were 39 months in all 60 years with unemployment above 8 percent. With this president, there’ve been 43 months under one president alone. –

ALL TIED UP – Krauthammer. 

BuzzFeed Goes Inside the President’s Disastrous Debate: “What was the worst that could happen? “Well, he could fall off the stage,” Psaki said in her disarmingly effective fashion. And Obama more or less did….” How?  Read here.

ObamaCare – Still Not Popular: The latest poll of likely voters from Rasmussen Reports shows that, by a margin of 15 percentage points (54 to 39 percent), Americans support the repeal of President Obama’s centerpiece legislate

The President Has No Clothes – John Podhoretz: Obama…is a stranger to humility and does not believe he has limitations.  He demonstrated that in his first two years in office, when he acted and spoke as though his victory meant he could and should do anything he wished. The problem for him is that he has acted the same way in his third and fourth year in office — when he has had every reason to conduct himself with the humility and sense of limitations he falsely claimed his victory had instilled in him.  If he loses in November, this will be the reason why. He believed in his own hype about hope and didn’t change when change could have transformed his presidency into an undoubted two-term proposition.  There’s an argument abroad since the debate that Obama was so awful he revealed the truth about himself — a truth papered over by the extraordinary circumstances in 2008 that helped him win the presidency. He is not nearly as eloquent, masterly, and smart as he and his sycophants think he is, and now everybody is onto him. So the argument goes.

College GOP on Offense in Ohio, via Morning Score: The CRs are taking out an ad in the Ohio State student newspaper, The Lantern, to make fun of Obama using his arms to make a human “H” when he should have made an “I” during an earlier trip to the Buckeye State.

Celebrity Stacey Dash Faces Racist Attacks After Endorsing Romney. 

HOUSE RACE BUZZ

AAN & CLF MUSCLE, Via Politico: Republicans are poised to flex their financial muscle in the final month leading up to the election, dumping an avalanche of cash into congressional races in an attempt to protect the House GOP majority. POLITICO has learned that two leading Republican groups, American Action Network and the Congressional Leadership Fund, are teaming up to spend nearly $13.5 million in House battles across the country.

GOP MUSCLE, VIA ROLL CALL: … American Action Network and Congressional Leadership Fund, two outside groups run by former House GOP aides, have spent significantly more. Spokesman Dan Conston said the groups have spent $2.8 million on television out of their $7.6 million budget.  ….YG Action Fund, a super PAC founded by former aides to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), has spent about $6 million so far helping Republican House candidates, part of about $10 million in planned spending. Its sister organization, the Young Guns Network, has spent millions more on issue advocacy.

VIA MORNING SCORE: YG ACTION ADVERTISES FOR ALLEN WEST: The entirely positive spot, entitled ‘Common Sense,” highlights the freshman’s military service, support for Israel and opposition to tax hikes. “Solutions, straight talk, leadership: Allen West for Congress.” The Eric Cantor-linked super PAC put over $200,000/1,000 points behind the ad, which will run through Oct. 19.

PA-12: Young Gun Keith Rothfus Leads Mark Critz, via Politics PA: Republican challenger Keith Rothfus leads Rep. Mark Critz by a narrow margin, according to an internal poll released by a GOP super PAC that is backing Rothfus.  The survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and commissioned by the YG Action Network, showed Rothfus with 42 percent of the vote and Critz with 40. That’s a 9 point swing from the group’s August poll, which showed Critz ahead 46 percent to 39.  “Mark Critz has changed, people just don’t trust him any longer now that he’s gone Washington and become a part of the Obama machine, which is why he’s now losing this race,” said YG Action Fund spokesman Brad Dayspring. His group is spending upwards of $500,000 to blast Critz in television ads.

  • ROLL CALL: The race for Pennsylvania’s 12th district continues to be one of the most competitive in the country, according to new polling data from a GOP super PAC. The new survey shows attorney Keith Rothfus (R) leading Rep. Mark Critz (D) by a mere couple of points, 42 percent to 40 percent. Sixteen percent reported they were undecided about the race in the poll from YG Action Fund. The margin of error was 4.9 points.

NC-08: Kissell = Obama: The National Republican Congressional Committee has released a new TV ad tying  Rep. Larry Kissell to Barack Obama and North Carolina’s high unemployment “Kissell has supported President Obama’s failed policies that have devastated North Carolina’s economy,” said the group’s spokeswoman, Andrea Bozek, in a release announcing the ad. “It’s time to give Kissell a pink slip before he can do even more damage.

CA-24: LOIS CAPPS IN TROUBLE: Young Gun Abel Maldonado is up 1 point, 45-44, over incumbent Rep. Lois Capps in an internal poll conducted for his campaign by Public Opinion Strategies. In August, Maldonado trailed by 5 points.

  • Maldonado Spox Kurt Bardella: “With less than a month to go, people throughout the Central Coast are responding to Abel Maldonado’s message of creating jobs, ending bailouts and leveling the playing field with China.  You have to tell people what you’re for and it’s perplexing that to this day, the sitting Congresswoman of 14 years has yet to define what she is for and what she will do to address the number one issue people here care about – creating jobs.  Spending 100% of your time attacking your opponent may work in Washington, but it won’t work here.”

THIS & THAT

Pushy Comcast workers worry Capitol Hill residents

Gentlemen: GQ’s Fall Trend Report

Tablet Users Read More News 

Google Banking?

BLING WARS – Jolie vs Anniston on Enagement Rings 

Justin Bieber – Beer Pong Champion 
Seize the day….

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