By Eliot Nelson & Arthur Delaney
GEORGE SOROS DONATES $1 MILLION TO OBAMA CAMPAIGN - Paul Blumenthal: "A spokesperson for Priorities USA Action, the super PAC backing President Barack Obama's reelection, confirmed to The Huffington Post Thursday that billionaire investor George Soros has committed $1 million to the PAC... Soros already has given $1.275 million to super PACs, the majority of which went to the Democratic opposition research hub American Bridge. His announced contributions this election still come nowhere near the amount that he gave to try to unseat President George W. Bush in 2004. Soros donated more than $30 million in that election -- a record sum until international casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson dropped more than $70 million this year into a host of super PACs and non-disclosing non-profits." [HuffPost]
You stay completely adrift, Romney campaign! Sam Stein: "Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are in the midst of a fundraising swing that is taking them to some unexpected locations that appear to have limited electoral significance. On Thursday, Ryan held back-to-back fundraisers in Knoxville and Memphis, Tenn., two cities in a reliably Republican state. Tomorrow, Romney is set to hold a fundraiser in Philadelphia...These come on the heels of a fundraiser that Ryan hosted on Sept. 25 in Houston, Texas and a reception that Romney held Sept. 27 in Washington, D.C." [HuffPost]
TODD AKIN DISPLAYS TREMENDOUS FLEXIBILITY: PLACES FOOT ALL THE WAY IN MOUTH- Akin made tremendous strides today in his mission to not have a single woman vote for him. Laura Bassett: "Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin (Mo.) told reporters on Thursday that his opponent, Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, was much more 'ladylike' in her 2006 campaign against Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.) than she is in her campaign against Akin. McCaskill 'had a confidence and was very much more sort of ladylike,' Akin told a Bloomberg reporter at a stop on his 'Common Sense' bus tour in Jefferson City, Mo. 'In the debate we had Friday, she came out swinging, and I think that's because she was threatened.' McCaskill's spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment." [HuffPost]
WHAT A RUDE STORY ABOUT MITT ROMNEY - Ryan Grim and Dave Jamieson: "Sensata Technologies is a healthy manufacturing company that employs nearly 200 workers at a factory in Central Illinois. The company has become the focus of national attention because it has been taken over by Bain Capital, which plans to shut the factory down, lay off the workers, and outsource the production to China before the end of the year. The workers have pleaded with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the founder of Bain Capital, to exert his considerable influence to save their jobs. Romney still makes millions each year in income from Bain. So far, he has declined to weigh in, and the factory is scheduled to close by the end of the year. While the workers and the town may suffer, Romney himself has done well as a result of Bain's work with the company. According to his recently released 2011 tax returns, Romney transferred $701,703 worth of Sensata stock to the Tyler Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit controlled by Romney." [HuffPost]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Everything bad is actually even worse than you thought. Martin Crutsinger: "The U.S. economy grew at a sluggish 1.3 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, held back by the severe drought that reduced farm production in the Midwest. The growth rate was lowered from a previous estimate of 1.7 percent, the Commerce Department said Thursday." Have a terrible evening. [Associated Press]
UPSIDE DOWNER - The economy was hiding a few jobs from us. Mark Gongloff: "A tiny, routine revision in some jobs data could have a big political payoff for President Obama. The Labor Department on Thursday morning quietly released a new benchmark for payroll employment in the U.S. It turns out that with the revision, there has been net job growth -- not much, but more than nothing -- during Obama's first term. According to the revision, total non-farm payrolls stood at 133.686 million jobs in August, up from 133.561 million in January 2009, when Obama's first term began. Before the revision, payrolls were at 133.300 million in August. In other words, 125,000 jobs have been created, in total, during Obama's first term, compared with a prior estimate of a loss of 261,000." [HuffPost]
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IT'S ELECTION DAY! EVERY DAY IS ELECTION DAY! - Early voting begins today in Iowa, so Mitt Romney's campaign reboots are going to have to be serious reboots (like actually lifting up Mitt's left arm and hitting control-alt-delete on his keypad). Jon Ward: "Iowa was the first swing state to begin early voting, though not the first to begin voting overall. Ohio will follow when it opens up the polls on Tuesday. All the other swing states start their early voting near the end of October. The Obama campaign made a concerted effort to get supporters to the polls in all 99 Iowa counties on the first day of early voting, to build on the candidate's growing momentum in the state. But they expected some Republicans at the polls. As Obama's state director, Brad Anderson, and communications director, Erin Seidler, stood outside the auditor's office, they expressed surprise at the lack of any discernible presence for supporters of the GOP nominee, Mitt Romney." [HuffPost]
George Mason Professor Michael P. McDonald looks at the stats of who is doing the early voting.
This is not going to help Romney's 53rd reboot. Mother Jones: "Mother Jones has obtained a video from 1985 in which Romney, describing Bain's formation, showed how he viewed the firm's mission. He explained that its goal was to identify potential and hidden value in companies, buy significant stakes in these businesses, and then 'harvest them at a significant profit' within five to eight years." [Mother Jones]
Or this: "Mitt Romney muffed the punt when asked about the recently concluded NFL referees' lockout, a fight that has drawn the focus of sports fans nationwide. 'I sure hope they do,' the Republican presidential nominee said early Thursday afternoon in response to a reporter's question about the referees' return after an agreement was reached with the league over pension and other benefits." [The Hill]
OBAMA BENEFITING FROM SMALL DONORS - No, he isn't gaining a financial edge from short people -- we suspect their Napoleon complexes draw them to the more confrontational policies of the GOP -- but is receiving a substantial number of donations under $200. Paul Blumenthal: "Small-donor contributions make up nearly all of the Obama campaign's fundraising lead over the Romney campaign. Obama for America, the official campaign committee, has raised $157 million more than Romney for President through the end of August. Remove the small donors, and that lead shrinks to only $14.7 million. Romney's campaign has been unable, either because of the candidate's lack of a strong connection to his party's base or because of the inadequacies of its online and direct mail efforts, to raise these small contributions in anything close to the same numbers. Obama has pulled in $189 million from small donors, while Romney has received a comparatively tiny $46.7 million." [HuffPost]
Wealthy Democrats have finally stopped spending all their money on private school admissions counseling and have begun donating to the president's reelection campaign. NYT: "More than 40 individuals and couples had given at least $250,000 to the leading Democratic super PACs through the beginning of September, according to a New York Times analysis of campaign finance records, and dozens more have given $100,000 or more. But the money is not coming from the expected places. Few of the wealthiest men and women closest to Mr. Obama have donated, even as the super PAC backing Mitt Romney raises millions of dollars from his friends and former colleagues. Only a few gay donors are among the biggest givers, despite Mr. Obama's embrace of same-sex marriage last spring. Most of the wealthy liberals who financed the party's last major outside spending effort, in 2004, remain on the super PAC sidelines." [NYT]
Check out the new AMERICAblog redesign, it's awful purty.
OBAMA TO PHONE NETANYAHU - The Israeli prime minister has spent the last few weeks kicking the back of the president's proverbial seat. Barack Obama has finally turned around and screamed, "WHAT?! WHAT IS IT, ALREADY?!" WSJ: "Amid criticism for not meeting in person with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while he is in the U.S., President Barack Obama will likely talk with him via phone Friday, the White House said. 'I expect the president will have a follow-up phone call with the prime minister probably Friday,' White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters, a rare instance of the White House previewing a call. A phone call may not silence critics who feel Mr. Obama snubbed the Israeli leader by not meeting with him in person. The two have had a frosty relationship that has grown chillier in recent months as Mr. Netanyahu has pressured Mr. Obama to take a harder line over Iran's nuclear program." [WSJ]
ProPublica, doing God's work: "Today, we're rebooting Free the Files with a new tool to help detail campaign ad filings in 33 swing markets. Every day, we'll be pulling fresh files from the FCC website, and asking for your help extracting key data points that will help uncover outside spending in the final days of the campaign...What do we expect to find in the FCC filings? A range of information - from identifying which outside groups are buying ads and where, to finding new groups that enter the fray late in the game, to details on who is behind opaque nonprofits that are playing a larger role in the election." [ProPublica]
This heartwarming 1968 picture of Mitt Romney sitting beside a love note he drew his would-be wife Ann in the sand is the strongest proof yet that he doesn't have an "Intel Inside" sticker pasted behind his ear.
NO BLACK SENATORS ON THE HORIZON - Amanda Terkel reports that the upper chamber will continue to be as white as...er, the Senate in a snowstorm? Terkel: "If the Senate were representative of the U.S. population, 13 of its 100 members would be African-American. But there have been only six black senators in the country's history. Right now, there are zero. And it will likely remain that way after the 2012 elections, since none of the major Senate candidates are black....Lawmakers, experts and activists who spoke with The Huffington Post identified a lack of infrastructure to recruit African-American candidates as a major problem, along with troubles raising money and convincing the party establishment and voters to pick minority candidates... The challenge of diversifying the Senate begins at the local and state level. Senate candidates tend to be individuals who have previously served in a statewide-elected office, members of the House of Representatives who represent politically diverse districts or have high name recognition, or individuals who have become well-known in another way." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - The forecast calls for a high-pressure OMG system thanks in part to these baby goats on a see-saw.
"Barney Frank Pot Brownie," no longer just our Parliament cover band: "Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said he's not a regular pot smoker, but he did eat a pot brownie once. And it made him sleepy. Frank, an ardent supporter of marijuana legalization, told CNN on Wednesday night that the only thing he smokes is a cigar or two a day. 'No, I don't," he said when asked if he regularly smokes weed. "I did have a brownie once. It made me sleepy.'" [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]
- Dogs do the "Gangnam Style" dance because it's the internet and everything eventually happens. [http://bit.ly/S2nvai]
- Pizza Hut's new dessert, Kit Kat bars wrapped in pizza dough, is only being sold in the Middle East. Hopefully DHS wouldn't allow that onto our shores. [http://bit.ly/PGjAfi]
- The 1973 Turkish movie Kareteci Kiz contains what might easily be the most overwrought death scene in history. [http://bit.ly/RkQt2w]
- The world's largest drum set is larger than some Manhattan apartments. [http://bit.ly/VNDCXw]
- Cinematic silhouettes made out of paper. A must for fans of cinema, paper. [http://bit.ly/RkPpvx]
- Dogs pushing other dogs in baby strollers is precisely what the Founding Fathers had in mind. [http://bit.ly/QI5k4C]
- People in Japan are injecting saline into their foreheads to create bagel-like bumps. Our office is seriously creeped out by this. [http://bit.ly/RZW6Wn]
@BenjySarlin: DRUDGE FLASH: HAS ANYONE EVER THOUGHT OF THIS HILLARY CLINTON AS PRESIDENT THING?
@Sabrinasiddiqui: DEVELOPING: Mitt Romney doesn't follow sport.
@daveweigel: Remember, this is the time of year when Obama stops being "that moron with the teleprompter" and becomes a fearsome debater who should win.
5:00 pm: The patron saint of Just For Men: Touch of Gray, Mitt Romney, heads to a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., the future home of his free enterprise institute (assuming the poll numbers in Ohio and Florida stay as they are). [Renaissance Marriott, 999 9th Street NW]
6:00 pm: The handful of LGBT voters who aren't members of the Log Cabin Republicans -- talk about an endangered species, amirite? -- attend an LGBT reception with First Lady Michelle Obama. [Chicago, IL]
2:00 pm: President Obama sneaks out of the White House for a nearby fundraiser at the Capitol Hilton. All of downtown will be a nightmare. [Capitol Hilton, 1001 16th Street NW]
5:30 pm: Because nobody gives a damn about the news on a Friday night, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan sneak off to Massachusetts for big-dollar fundraiser at the home of Reebok CEO Paul Fireman. [Chesnut Hill, MA]
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: George Allen takes a trip to the Washington area's Republican redoubt, McLean, for some handshaking, photos and yuks. [McLean, VA]
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