* A new CNN poll finds that a plurality, 42 percent, say that they are worse off than four years ago, while 37 percent say they are better off and 19 percent say they are the same.

But the poll also finds that only 38 percent blame Obama and Dems for the country’s current economic problems, versus 54 percent who blame Bush and Republicans. Fifty three percent of independents, and 62 percent of moderates (fixed), blame Bush and the GOP — again casting doubt on the Romney theory of the race.

* New NBC/WSJ swing state polls: Obama leads Romney among likely voters by five in Florida and Virginia (49-44 in both); and by seven in Ohio (50-43).

This is the first clear indication of the impact the conventions may be having in the swing states, though Obama’s bounce could always subside.

* A pretty rough takedown of Mitt Romney’s health care dissembling from Joe Klein, who talks about how “sad” it is that he retains so little in common with the Mitt who signed health reform in Massachusetts.

* Daniel Larison gets this right: Conservatives refuse to defend the substance of Romney’s claim that the Obama administration sympathized with the attacks, because they can’t.

* Jonathan Bernstein reminds us that Republicans on sinking campaigns have turned to frantic media bashing as a last resort for decades, and asks whether the Romney camp has decided it’s losing.

* The sourcing is tenuous, but the Daily Beast reports that the Romney campaign required 10 years of tax returns to vet Paul Ryan. The Obama camp rushed out a Web video featuring Jon Alter marveling at how much more info Romney wanted than he’s willing to share about himself.

* Obama on Egypt: He says the country is not an ally, but under U.S. law, it is one.

* But the White House argues that it’s more complicated than it looks at first glance. Nonetheless, conservatives are grabbing on to this one like a bone to push back on Romney’s Embassy mess.

* Elizabeth Warren goes negative in a new ad, casting Scott Brown as a handmaiden of the rich and herself as a fighter for the middle class — perhaps a sign she’s feeling pressure from Dems to shift strategy.

* Speaking of Warren, I’m glad that David Dayen continues to closely track the development of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. As you may know, she build that.

* And Taegan Goddard flags an interesting Joe Scarborough quote:

“And the lesson is clear: If we want to win the battle of ideas in the long term, we should be willing to face the fact that Mitt Romney is likely to lose — and should, given that he’s neither a true conservative nor a courageous moderate. He’s just an ambitious man. Nothing wrong with that, except when you want to be president. Great leaders combine ambition and ideas and conviction.”

What else?