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Axelrod Coaches Biden (October 8, 2012, 05:34 PM)

New York Times: "Under the tutelage of David Axelrod, the president's chief strategist who is personally overseeing the preparations, Mr. Biden will be counseled on how to avoid Mr. Obama's mistakes and even correct them with a more aggressive prosecution of the Republican ticket. Mr. Axelrod's involvement highlights the stakes the Obama campaign places on the debate, and Mr. Biden has been reading 'Young Guns,' the book co-written by Mr. Ryan, and practicing attack lines that Mr. Obama avoided. The focus on Mr. Biden comes as the campaign tries to diagnose what went wrong in Denver and what to do about it. Advisers had seen two presidents during practice debates, one who had been listless and passive two nights before and another energetic and aggressive the next night. It turned out the former was the one who showed up in Denver. He kept looking down and was not using the lines they had practiced assailing Mitt Romney, who kept the president on the defensive and presented a forceful case against his re-election."

Romney Erases Obama's Lead (October 8, 2012, 05:05 PM)

A new Pew Research survey finds Mitt Romney no longer trails President Obama after the vast majority of respondents think Romney won their first presidential debate.

Among registered voters, Romney has drawn even with Obama, 46% to 46%, after trailing by nine points in September.

Among likely voters, Romney holds a slight 49% to 45% edge over Obama. He trailed by eight points among likely voters last month.

Interestingly, however, the Gallup tracking poll shows Obama with a five point lead, 50% to 45%.

On Expectations (October 8, 2012, 12:00 PM)

Hendrick Hertzberg: "During the run-up to last week's Presidential debate, the congeries of journalists, columnists, bloggers, television commentators, politicians, and 'strategists' who collectively craft the conventional wisdom reached a cautious consensus: Mitt Romney would probably do better than expected. Since it is precisely these pundits whose predictions determine expectations, Romney had to do a lot 'better than expected' in order to do better than expected. What only a few members of what might be called the expectorate (not to be confused with the electorate) expected was that Romney would do so much better than expected--and Barack Obama so much worse."

Tied Race? (October 8, 2012, 10:04 AM)

National Journal reports President Obama and Mitt Romney were tied in interviews conducted for Gallup's daily tracking poll in the three days immediately following last week's first presidential debate.

First Read: "But to see if the race has truly changed, we're awaiting battleground-state polls conducted over the weekend through today -- to fully let the debate, job numbers, and everything else sink in. The body language from both campaigns suggests that the race did change; you're seeing 1) a more confident Romney camp and 2) an Obama campaign with a greater sense of urgency. And if the upcoming polls show this, it will give Team Romney another shot in the arm, just like Obama got after the conventions. But it's also very possible that the race hasn't fundamentally changed, but simply tightened and is back to where everyone thought it would be six months ago."

A Veep Debate That Could Matter (October 8, 2012, 09:38 AM)

"Vice presidential debates typically matter as much as vice presidential picks -- which is to say not a lot -- but a convergence of factors is raising the stakes on this week's faceoff between Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden," Politico reports.

"The circumstances around the face-off this week at Centre College actually most resemble not 2008 but 2004: The incumbent president flops in his first debate, forcing his older and more seasoned vice president to take it to a younger foe."

Obama Aides Plot Comeback (October 8, 2012, 09:37 AM)

New York Times: "President Obama's campaign is working feverishly to restore its momentum after a lackluster debate performance last week, an effort that began with a conference call 10 minutes before the debate even ended and led to new advertisements, a rewritten stump speech, a carefully timed leak and a reversal of months-old strategy."

Obama Counterattacks (October 8, 2012, 09:23 AM)

With Mitt Romney giving a major foreign policy speech today, the Obama campaign puts out a brutal new ad focusing on his summer trip abroad and erratic foreign policy statements.

Romney Remains Vague on Foreign Policy Details (October 8, 2012, 09:05 AM)

Mitt Romney plans a major foreign policy speech today where he is expected to criticize President Obama by saying that "hope is not a strategy," the New York Times reports.

"But beyond his critique of Mr. Obama as failing to project American strength abroad, Mr. Romney has yet to fill in many of the details of how he would conduct policy toward the rest of the world, or to resolve deep ideological rifts within the Republican Party and his own foreign policy team. It is a disparate and politely fractious team of advisers that includes warring tribes of neoconservatives, traditional strong-defense conservatives and a band of self-described 'realists' who believe there are limits to the degree the United States can impose its will."

In fact, several Romney advisers say "they have engaged with him so little on issues of national security that they are uncertain what camp he would fall into, and are uncertain themselves about how he would govern."

However, New York magazine notes that "talking tough even if he doesn't have the specifics worked out could be an effective strategy, as long as Romney advisers can restrain themselves from venting to reporters for the next month."

Thompson Forgets How Many Homes He Owns (October 8, 2012, 08:54 AM)

Wisconsin U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson (R) apparently has a hard time keeping track of how many homes he owns, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.

"Three," the former governor responded last week at a campaign event. When pressed if there was another one, he answered "No" without hesitation.

"Only later did a correction come from his campaign staff: He actually has one more place he calls home."

Obama Leads Despite Growing Enthusiasm Problem (October 8, 2012, 08:49 AM)

A new Politico/George Washington University Tracking Poll shows President Obama just ahead of Mitt Romney nationally among likely voters, 49% to 48%.

Key findings: "The head-to-head numbers have held remarkably steady through the past three weeks, but there's been a notable shift of intensity from the Democrats to the Republicans since the party conventions over a month ago... Among those extremely likely to vote, Romney actually leads Obama 52% to 46%. That's up from a 2-point lead last week."

Most of the survey's calls were made before Romney's strong performance at the first presidential debate in Denver.

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