* Nate Silver believes there’s now grounds to conclude that Mitt Romney’s freeloading 47 percent remarks have done him real damage.
Also: “the more pertinent question seems not whether Mr. Obama is losing ground, but whether he is still gaining it.” It’s not impossible. Gallup’s tracking today held at 50-44.
* As Evan McMorris Santoro notes, some conservatives are so worried about Romney’s chances now that they’ll even look the other way while he talks up Romneycare to prove how empathetic he is .
* If it’s Friday, it’s time for Steve Benen’s regular installment of Romney’s most glaring distortions of the week. It’s a whopping 37 items, which perhaps has something to do with time running out.
* Chris Cillizza digs into the polling history to demonstrate that debates rarely do much to change a race’s basic contours. So: even more pressure on Romney to land blows, which could lead to to overreach.
* Michael Cohen does his own deep historical dive and comes to the same conclusion, and makes a rather relevant point: He’s not named “no drama Obama” for nothing.
* Romney’s strategy for the debate: to “try to force the president out of his comfort zone by attacking Obama’s economic record, then hope the president blunders trying to defend it.”
* But: David Dayen brings the latest economic indicators, and they’re not good at all.
* Josh Hicks has the most comprehensive dive into the “controversy” over Elizabeth Warren’s heritage I’ve seen yet. The bottom line continues to be that there is simply is no proof Warren benefitted from it in any way.
* Great stuff from Tim Murphy on a Romney campaign mailer in Virginia vowing to do more to combat ... Lyme Disease. Talk about micro-targeting! Also:
Here’s the problem, though. That Lyme disease epidemic Romney is so concerned about? The spread of the disease is aided and abetted by climate change.
* Friday afternoon news dump: The intelligence community explains why Obama administration officials initially put out falsehoods about the Benghazi attack.
* Major Garrett notes that Romney has remained oddly silent about the bungled Benghazi statements, and says Romney’s last chance to elevate the issue is to hit Obama over them at the debates. Worth watching.
* Alexander Bolton on the degree to which the GOP’s hopes for Senate control hinge on races in New England, in states where Obama leads by overwhelming margins, meaning a huge reliance on ticket splitters.
* Reality check of the day: Jim Tankersley on the larger economic realities that loom beyond this election: Increasing inequality, declining mobility, and an eroding American Dream. Brutal.
* And the chart of the day: Obama’s lead in national polling averages when you remove Rasmussen from the equation. Hint: It’s bigger. Who’s the one skewing the polls again?