Anne Gearan & David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post: "when President Obama meets Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Boca Raton, Fla., he will face an opponent who has already made up tremendous ground on the subject by criticizing Obama as weak, waffling and distracted by his reelection goals."
Matt Spetalnick & Steve Holland of Reuters: "When President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney face off on Monday in their third and final debate, it will be the Republican challenger's last best chance to recover from his botched 'Libya moment' and exploit vulnerabilities in his opponent's foreign policy record. But Romney has an uphill struggle to make his case against Obama, who will be buoyed by the advantages of incumbency as well as polls showing him with an edge -- though a shrinking one -- on the question of who is more trusted in global affairs."
A new Obama ad highlights the contrasts between Romney's foreign policy views & Obama's accomplishments:
CW: I think this American Bridge ad is just a Web video. I hope they run it -- or a 30-second version -- on the teevee:
Mark Murray of NBC News: "Heading into Monday's final debate and with just over two weeks until Election Day, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are now tied nationally, according the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll." ...
... James Hohmann of Politico: "A new Politico/George Washington University Battleground Tracking Poll of 1,000 likely voters -- taken from Sunday through Thursday of last week -- shows Romney ahead of Obama by two points, 49 to 47 percent. That represents a three-point swing in the GOP nominee's direction from a week ago but is still within the margin of error. Obama led 49 percent to 48 percent the week before." ...
... CW: John Cassidy of the New Yorker has more on polling results, but it's too depressing for me to read. ...
... Nate Silver 2: "The bad news for President Obama: it's been almost a week since the second presidential debate.... But there is little sign that this has translated into a bounce for Mr. Obama.... Instead, the presidential race may have settled into a period of relative stability. There is bad news for Mr. Romney as well, however. The 'new normal' ... is considerably more favorable for him than the environment before the first debate, in Denver. However, it is one in which he still seems to be trailing, by perhaps 2 percentage points, in the states that are most vital in the Electoral College." ...
... Nate Silver 1: "The biggest gender gap to date in the exit polls came in 2000, when Al Gore won by 11 points among women, but George W. Bush won by 9 points among men -- a 20-point difference. The numbers this year look very close to that." ...
... Here's some better news. Sarah Dutton, et al., of CBS News: "President Obama is holding on to a five-point lead over Republican Mitt Romney in Ohio, but that margin has been cut in half since September, according to a new Quinnipiac University/CBS News poll.... A gender gap persists: ... The president enjoys a 15-point lead with women, while Romney is ahead by seven points among men, 51 to 44 percent." Yesterday I linked to a poll that had Obama up in Ohio by only one point, which is to say -- zip.
E. J. Dionne: "There is every reason to wish that Obama would pull [his second-term agenda] together in a more inspiring way. Some of us would like him to be much bolder in addressing income inequality, the huge roadblocks to upward mobility, and the persistence of poverty. But is there is an Obama second-term agenda? Yes, there is."
New Yorker Editors: "The reëlection of Barack Obama is a matter of great urgency. Not only are we in broad agreement with his policy directions; we also see in him what is absent in Mitt Romney -- a first-rate political temperament and a deep sense of fairness and integrity."
Paul Krugman: "Over the past few months advisers to the Romney campaign have mounted a furious assault on the notion that financial-crisis recessions are different.... A white paper from Romney advisers argues that the only thing preventing a rip-roaring boom is the uncertainty created by President Obama.... Nobody should believe them.... The Romney team is willfully, nakedly, distorting the record...."
Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post: "A new Romney ad puts in one place five claims that have been previously debunked." CW: Wow! Five big lies in 30 seconds! Could this be a record? Probably not.
Oh, great. Bill Keller tells Mitt Romney what to say in the debate tonight. The usefulness of Keller's advice column is to remind us of how many ways Romney is a foreign-policy jackass. Nonetheless, I expect he will take some of Keller's advice. It's up to Obama -- oh, will he do it? -- to remind viewers of Romney's many stupid, bellicose positions & remarks & suggest -- accurately -- that Romney is a ticking timebomb. Lyndon Johnson's "Daisy" ad seems almost appropriate.
Scott Shane of the New York Times: intelligence officers routinely take several days to prepare public statements to describe intelligence gathered in the field. "The gap between the talking points prepared for [U.N. Ambassador Susan] Rice and the contemporaneous field reports that seemed to paint a much different picture illustrates how the process of turning raw field reports, which officials say need to be vetted and assessed, into polished intelligence assessments can take days, long enough to make them outdated by the time senior American officials utter them."
New York Times Editors: Mitt Romney & President Obama agree: "Government does not create jobs. Except that it does, millions of them.... Public-sector job loss means trouble for everyone.... If not for state and local budget austerity, [a] report found, the economy would have 2.3 million more jobs today, half of which would be in the private sector." CW: I really don't think Obama fundamentally understands macroeconomics. He would be a lot smarter if he read Krugman regularly.
Worse Than You Thought. Contributor Haley S. noticed an important correction to a New York Times editorial I linked yesterday, one which discussed the dire consequences of the Romney-Ryan plan for healthcare coverage: "An earlier version of this editorial misstated the additional amounts Medicare beneficiaries would pay if the health care reform act is repealed. The average beneficiary would pay about $5,000 more through 2022, not $4,200 more over the 2011-2012 period. Heavy prescription drug users, on average, would pay about $18,000 more through 2022, not $16,000 more over 2011-2012." (No link.)
The New York Times Editors endorse candidates in Congressional races in New York state & Connecticut.
AND Rep. Todd Akin (RTP-Missouri), who is running to unseat Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), likens her to a dog.
A Democrat Self-Destructs. Alex Altman of Time: "During a testy exchange in a Thursday night [Arizona Senate] debate, moderator Brahm Resnik quipped, 'Now I know how Candy Crowley felt.' he said. To which [Democratic candidate Richard] Carmona replied: 'You're prettier than her,' and patted the moderator's hand. 'Not sure how to take that,' Resnik said. Nor should women in Arizona."
Washington Post Editors: "George McGovern was a product of some of this country's best traditions -- religious and political -- and also of a long, grinding economic Depression that shaped the ideas and behavior of much of his generation. He was a patriot, a war hero and, as most who met or knew him would testify, a remarkably civil and pleasant man." ...
... Former Sen. & Republican Leader Bob Dole (R-Kansas) writes a very affecting remembrance of George McGovern.
... Joan Walsh of Salon writes a very informative post on the career of George McGovern. ...
... Joshua Rothman calls up some old New Yorker stories about McGovern.
** Brad Friedman of the Brad Blog: the lack of public oversight -- in all 50 states -- of privately-owned voting machines is a serious problem that throws into question the integrity & accuracy of election results. For Chuck Todd of NBC News to dismiss this issue as a "conspiracy theory" does a great disservice to NBC viewers. Friedman includes numerous instances of voting machine error or purposeful manipulation of the tally. CW: I don't say often enough that Chuck Todd is a Class A (& you know what the "A" stands for) idiot. ...
... Audrey McAvoy of the AP: "A photograph of a 93-year-old World War II veteran casting what will likely be his last ballot has captured the hearts of tens of thousands of Internet users. The photo shows Frank Tanabe lying in a hospital bed at home as his daughter Barbara Tanabe helps him fill out his absentee ballot. A half-million people saw the picture on the website Reddit after his grandson posted it there on Thursday, making it one of the most popular items on the social media network for a day after.... Tanabe volunteered to join the Army from behind barbed wire at the Tule Lake internment camp in California.... The Army assigned Tanabe to the Military Intelligence Service, a classified unit whose members were collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal last year...."
New York Times: "Tens of thousands of people with chronic conditions and disabilities may find it easier to qualify for Medicare coverage of potentially costly home health care, skilled nursing home stays and outpatient therapy under policy changes planned by the Obama administration. In a proposed settlement of a nationwide class-action lawsuit, the administration has agreed to scrap a decades-old practice that required many beneficiaries to show a likelihood of medical or functional improvement before Medicare would pay for skilled nursing and therapy services."
Los Angeles Times: "Radcliffe Haughton, a 45-year-old Wisconsin man suspected of killing three people and wounding four others in a Sunday morning shooting at a spa, was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot, police said. Police said they found Haughton's body inside the Azana Salon and Spa in the western Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield, where the shooting erupted shortly after 11 a.m." The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story is here.
Washington Post: "Authorities in Jordan have disrupted a major terrorist plot by al-Qaeda-linked operatives to launch near-simultaneous attacks on multiple civilian and government targets, reportedly including the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Amman, Western and Middle Eastern officials said Sunday. The Jordanian government issued a statement describing the plot and saying that 11 people with connections to al-Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq have been arrested."
Washington Post: "As the number of people sickened with meningitis after receiving contaminated steroid injections continues to rise, lawsuits are starting to pile up. At least 12 people have filed separate complaints in federal and state courts seeking damages from the compounding pharmacy that produced the steroids, New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass."
Reuters: "Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France< titles and banned for life on Monday after the International Cycling Union (UCI) ratified the United States Anti-Doping Agency's (USADA) sanctions against the American. 'Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling,' UCI President Pat McQuaid told a news conference as he outlined how cycling would have to start again." AP story here.