* The Salt Lake Tribune’s endorsement of Obama is absolutely brutal to Mitt Romney, in a more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger way that befits a paper that knows Romney well.
* The Obama campaign is up with a very harsh new ad in Ohio hitting Romney for opposing the auto rescue, which helped bring unemployment down in the state:
As Jed Lewison notes, the contrast between Romney’s “let Detroit go bankrupt” Op ed and ordinary people talking about how Obama stepped in to rescue the industry when they were suffering is very rough stuff. The spot is another sign that the Obama camp is pivoting hard into an aggressive defense of his economic record in the race’s final stretch.
* Another Obama ad in the other swing states seizes on Romney’s claim that hiring more teachers won’t grow the economy to sharpen the contrast over how to restore middle class economic security.
* Steve Benen’s regular Friday installment of Romney’s most glaring falsehoods and distortions of the week weighs in at a whopping 49 items — perhaps because time is fast running out.
* Fox News poll: Obama leads by three among likely voters in Ohio, 46-43. That’s down from seven a month ago, but a three point lead is consistent with the RCP average and with the race’s overall tightening.
Also: “more than 400,000 Ohio voters had already cast ballots as of Wednesday...and the poll shows those early voters siding with Obama by 20 points.”
* A new CNN poll finds Romney slightly ahead among likely voters in Florida, 49-48. Obama leads among registered voters, 50-43.
Romney is up 2.4 in RCP’s Florida average, and he seems likely to win there, but he still hasn’t taken it off the board.
* ICYMI: Don’t miss Jonathan Bernstein’s careful assessment of all of the polling evidence and why it indicates (despite the premature gloating among Romney backers) that Obama remains slightly ahead.
* Good piece by Francis Wilkinson on the real reason for Romney’s evasions and distortions: Romney and Paul Ryan don’t really want voters to see this election as a big choice between the two sides’ actual agendas. They want to obscure the true nature of their differences.
* Gallup: Americans judge Obama the winner of the second debate, 51-38. That’s after Gallup found Romney won overwhelmingly the first time.
* The Obama-allied Priorities USA will report raising $15 million in September, another sign that liberal donors have awakened and that the GOP’s ad spending advantage in the final stretch is not assured.
* A balanced response from David Dayen to right-leaning writers who say the liberal agenda and worldview are shadows of their former selves.
* “VOTER FRAUD IS A FELONY!” Jamil Smith on new billboards that are popping up in Ohio and Milwaukee, and why they seem like deliberate voter supression.