By Eliot Nelson, Ryan Grim & Arthur Delaney
ROMNEY'S GUBERNATORIAL DEBATES: A LOOK BACK - Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis: "[Romney]'s breakthrough against Democrat Shannon O'Brien didn't come in the early debates, but only after tinkering with his approach. Moreover, he was able to catapult into the lead by being perceived as the victim, not by playing the role of aggressor...Dwight Robson, O'Brien's campaign manager, remembered Romney making headway by playing up his outsider status. But he felt that his candidate got the best of the night. "Our goal had to be to knock him off his prepared lines," Robson explained...Reflecting on it 10 years later, O'Brien... offered some reflections on Romney that could provide some lessons for Obama in Wednesday's debate. Romney, she said, had adopted a rope-a-dope strategy, playing tentative through much of the debates before finally punching back at a critical moment. 'They wanted me to be tough,' she said. 'That was a strategy to get me into a conflict. I took the bait. I kept going at him. I don't think that helped me.' It was a bit of political skill from her opponent that neither she or her advisers had expected. 'I think [Obama] has to be careful being too negative, too nasty,' she said. 'He has to be very matter of fact.' [HuffPost]
SLEEPER SELL: ROMNEY SUFFERS 'SLEEP MODE' MALFUNCTION - The Romney camp is setting up its candidate for a Scott Brown "flu game" debate performance. McKay Coppins: "Romney got virtually no sleep Monday night, an aide said, blaming a freight train that passed through a grade crossing near the hotel and blew it horn roughly every hour all through the night. The candidate's sleep deprivation so worried his staff that the campaign looked into switching hotels. The logistics were ultimately too tough, the aide said, and there was concern about how it would look." Good thing you told a reporter, then. [BuzzFeed]
@SabrinaSiddiqui: Fwiw, I stayed at same hotel as Romney on Monday night and heard no train -- hotel tells me trains pass 1-2 times a night, not every hour.
Debate coverage: We'll be live-tweeting the debate on @HuffPostHill and the HuffPost Politics team will be covering this sucker end-to-end.
Oh yeah, the debate begins at 9:00 pm EST on pretty much every channel except for the ones that run "World's [blankiest] [blank]"-type programming.
BOWLES, SIMPSON START PLAYING IN HOUSE RACES - In New Hampshire, the co-chairs of the Bowles-Simpson commission -- former GOP senator Alan Simpson and Morgan Stanley director Erskine Bowles, a former Clinton official -- endorsed incumbent Republican Charlie Bass over progressive Democrat Annie Kuster. Bass is taking full advantage of the endorsement, running full page ads in newspapers across the state. Kuster, who lost a squeaker to Bass in 2010, hit back hard, accusing Bass of wanting to gut Medicare, signaling the coming a full-throated debate over the social contract, government spending and the obligations of the super rich. "Let me be clear: I will never cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. My Tea Party opponent will," she said in a statement.
TODD AKIN UPDATE - Back in 2008, Todd Akin took to the House floor and declared that doctors who provide abortions -- or "abortionists," to use his term -- provide abortions to women who are not pregnant "You find that along with the culture of death go all kinds of other law-breaking," he said of organizations that offer abortions, "not following good sanitary procedure, giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant, cheating on taxes, all these kinds of things, misuse of anesthetics so that people die or almost die." This either means A. Women suffering from hysterical pregnancies are constantly trying to get abortions or B. Todd Akin knows as much about medical science as Honey Boo Boo does. We're going to go with B. Rather than try to wiggle its way out of yet another reproduction-related blunder, the campaign stood by Akin's comments. "There's ample evidence that abortion doctors on any number of occasions have deceived women into thinking that they're pregnant, and then collect money for a procedure that they don't perform,"Akin spokesman Rick Tyler told BuzzFeed. "And I say they don't perform it because obviously the women weren't pregnant." [BuzzFeed]
PETE PETERSON STOPPING IT FROM RAINING ON OLDS, POORS, WITH NEW CAMPAIGN - A new Pete Peterson austerity effort is being run out of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a Peterson-funded operation that is itself housed within the ostensibly liberal New America Foundation, CRFB head Maya MacGuineas told HuffPost Hill. The new project, The Campaign to Fix the Debt, is chaired by two bipartisan guns-for-hire, former Democratic Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and former Sen. Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican. The outfit is priming for the lame duck session of Congress after the election, when negotiators will hash out an expiration of the payroll tax cut, the Bush tax cuts, as well as deal with scheduled cuts to social spending and the pentagon budget. MacGuineas said she has already raised close to $30 million, but the goal is "bigger than that, it's a lot." The operation is coming together quickly, and has already hired between 25 and 30 staffers, with plans to potentially double. Along with a paid-media campaign, the group will be looking to create and influence coverage in some 40 states or more with locally focused teams. "There will be critical moments, both in the lame duck and hopefully next year, when there's a big deal being considered where we would use every tool in our arsenal to push for people supporting that deal. And so paid advertising could likely be significant at that time," she said.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Sadness from the unemployment mailbag: "I have zero self esteem. I have let down my family and everyone I love. I'm a lousy role model for my son. I don't wish to be a burden for the government, my parents or my family. I just want a job." [Hang in there!]
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'YOU DIDN'T BUILD THAT' ATTACK NOT WORKING - New polling indicates that most voters were either unmoved or impressed by President Obama's "you didn't build that" comments. Looks like the Democrats have found themselves another teflon president. Next thing you know, people will be calling Barack Obama our first black president. Wow, this guy's got the gift! Politico: "A pretty amazing result from the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll: Barack Obama's infamous "you didn't build that" comment isn't a net negative...Thirty-six percent said it made them feel more positively about Obama, 32 percent said it made them view him more negatively and 26 percent said it made no difference." Hey, you know what the Republicans built? Their convention... almost entirely centered around those remarks. [Politico]
Maybe not every single person in America owns a business.
But the GOP has a new gaffe to relentlessly pound into our ears! Elise Foley: "Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) took advantage on Wednesday of Vice President Joe Biden's comment that the middle class has been 'buried' in the past four years, saying Biden might be the best asset Republicans have in the upcoming election. 'For the last four years the American middle class has been buried ... no, those aren't my words,' Rubio said in Denver. 'Those happen to be the words of the distinguished vice president of the United States of America.' 'No, don't boo, he's the best thing we've got going, guys,' Rubio said. 'Because in a moment of clarity, in a brief moment of clarity, he told us what we already knew.'" [HuffPost]
Don't miss FRONTLINE The Choice 2012. The definitive look at the presidential candidates from those who know them best. Tuesday, Oct. 9 @ 9/8C only on PBS
ROMNEY SUPPORTED FAILED HOMELAND SECURITY INITIATIVE - It wasn't Rudy Giuliani placing New York City's terrorism response center near a potential terrorist target bad, but it was still bad. Andrea Stone: "A devastating new report that found homeland security officials have wasted perhaps billions of dollars on intelligence-gathering complexes known as fusion centers that haven't detected a single terrorist threat, even as they invaded citizens' privacy, could present another political headache for one of their biggest advocates: Mitt Romney. Romney played a pivotal role in promoting the establishment of these counterterrorism centers across the country to 'connect the dots' and stave off another 9/11, as The Huffington Post reported in May. In his role as chairman of a national task force on intelligence sharing, the then-Massachusetts governor used his bully pulpit to call for a nationwide network that would meld together local, state and federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies to detect threats." [HuffPost]
"Butt-chugging" is no longer the most shocking thing to come out of Tennessee. Nick Wing: "Brad Staats, a GOP congressional candidate in Tennessee, drew some negative attention to his campaign this week after posting a picture of his handgun to Facebook and using it as a springboard to "welcome" President Barack Obama to Tennessee. Staats, who is running to unseat five-term Democratic incumbent Rep. Jim Cooper, made the original post on September 27 on his campaign's fan page." [HuffPost]
DEAR CITIZEN, SORRY TO HEAR YOU'RE DEAD -- LOVE, THE GOVERNMENT - A number of mostly African-American voters have been asked to prove their existence to local authorities lest they be removed from the voter rolls, the governmental equivalent of those squiggly lettered password boxes you have to fill out when buying sports tickets (but those aren't racist). Houston Chronicle: "Voters in traditionally African-American neighborhoods were disproportionately affected when Harris County officials notified 9,000 people their registrations could be cancelled unless they proved they were not deceased, according to a Chronicle analysis of data obtained from the Texas Secretary of State. Already, 32 percent of voters who received "Are you dead?" letters across the county in September - just six weeks before the presidential elections - have confirmed they are very much alive, election officials said this week. Because of widespread complaints, no county voters will be purged before the November elections unless their deaths are independently confirmed, according to Don Sumners, the county's tax assessor collector and voter registrar." [Chronicle]
Speaking of the shockingly transparent disenfranchisement of voters... "Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has launched a new fundraising plea seeking to draw donations from supporters of his controversial move to purge suspected non-citizen voters from the rolls. In the letter, obtained by the Associated Press, Scott starts by saying that 'unlike President Obama's allies,' he doesn't 'view the world through a partisan lens.' His attempt to claim that he isn't politicizing the issue, however, is quickly followed by attacks on Obama and other Democrats for not supporting his voter purge." [HuffPost]
TEDDY FINALLY WINS: DC NATURALLY RUINS ONE OF THE FEW CULTURAL TRADITIONS IT HAD - WaPo: "Wearing a red headband and bright gold shoes modeled after those made famous by world's fastest man Usain Bolt, Teddy got off to a slow start, trailing Abe, then Jefferson, then Washington. But a green blob intended to resemble the Phillie Phanatic felled the three leaders in the right field corner, and Roosevelt strolled home by himself as the crowd roared and began chanting his name (really). He then ripped off his usual jersey, revealing a red 'Natitude' t-shirt, and soaked in the cheers." [WaPo]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Puppy takes on shoe.
MILLENIAL DOES MILLENIAL THING - HuffPost DC: "Nick Freilich is asking the Internet for $75,000 to help him pay off his law school loans. He's a 30-year-old graduate of Georgetown Law who realized, too late, that he does not want to practice law. He'd like some help so that he can concentrate on what he does want to do -- write fiction and make music and movies -- and so he can move out of his parents' house, in Santa Monica, Calif." [HuffPost]
- BuzzFeed compiled a list of the best YouTube comments. [http://chzb.gr/Vgn24P]
- Time-lapse video of a giant 12-foot LEGO vampire being constructed. [http://bit.ly/VjJacX]
- Muggsy Bogues is a chump. Behold Jamani Love, the 4'5" basketball phenom. [http://bit.ly/QriIes]
- A map showing the types of 311 complaints in New York City. Not much graffiti in Staten Island. [http://invent.ge/O3UFDU]
- Wanna see a press conference where the phrase "butt-chugging" is repeated over and over? Here you go.. [http://bit.ly/QXuJXZ]
- Tommy Lee is 50-years-old. Just thought we'd throw that one out there. [http://bit.ly/VggKSF]
- You had us at "talking penguins." [http://bit.ly/Rcg4bZ]
@Tyrangiel: Just for fun, it'd be nice to see Jim Lehrer host the Oscars and Seth MacFarlane moderate the debates.
@pourmecoffee: I hope we will finally get a straight answer tonight on whether God will be taken off coins and out of Mitt Romney's heart.
@BrendanNyhan: Love this Politico: "Can Romney win the first half-hour?" politi.co/WimQ32What about the handshake? WHO WILL WIN THE HANDSHAKE?
5:00 pm: We have a confirmed Bubba sighting! Bill Clinton is the featured guest at a Boston roundtable discussion fundraiser for President Obama's campaign. No word on whether they plan to egg Romney HQ afterwards. [Boston, MA]
6:00 pm: Todd Akin is in DC for a campaign function. Will he say that estrogen can burn through steel? Only one way to find out... (unless you know someone with a hidden camera). [Eastgate, 710 East Capitol Street SE]
8:30 am: You can even have breakfast with Todd Akin! You know, eggs are little more than involuntary abortions performed on chickens. [Eastgate, 710 East Capitol Street NE]
8:30 am - 9:30 am: Hear Steve Cohen lament about how he wasn't let into the Congressional Black Caucus at his breakfast fundraiser at Johnny's Half Shell. Or maybe he won't bring that up. He probably won't bring that up. [Johnny's Half Shell, 400 North Capitol Street]
12:00 pm: Elite coastal values FTW! Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, Steve Israel and members of New York's Democratic congressional delegation attend a DCCC fundraiser on Park Avenue. [New York, NY]
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