* The Obama campaign is running a new ad in seven swing states that signals a tougher message on Mitt Romney and the economy from here on out:

I noted here the other day that the Obama team needs to spell out clearly that when Romney says his plan will make things better a whole lot faster, he is selling people a bill of goods. This new ad is a step in that direction. It should also be made clear that this is a bill of goods that has been peddled to the American people before — and that changing course now could imperil the progress we are making.

* David Maraniss does a deep dive into Obama’s upbringing and ontradictions, why they explain his halting debate performance, and why they suggest he may bounce back at the moment he most needs it.

* If it’s Friday, it’s time for Steve Benen’s regular installment of Romney’s most glaring falsehoods and distortions of the week, which continues to balloon as time runs out.

* The consumer confidence has jumped to a five year high, another sign — coming after the dropping unemployment numbers and jobless claims — of rising economic optimism heading into election day.

* The total who watched yesterday’s Vice Presidential debate: More than 51 million. The tracking should be interesting in the days ahead.

* Also, a smart point about this from Brian Stelter:

Remember Biden’s straight-to-camera appeal to seniors? More than half of the at-home TV audience for the VP debate (26.7 mil) were age 55+.

* Ron Brownstein on what Biden accomplished:

The vice president shoe-horned in virtually every Democratic critique of Ryan and Mitt Romney — from repeated references to Romney’s comments about the “47 percent,” and the similar comments Ryan has made on many occasions, to taxes, the auto bailout, Medicare... Biden reconnected these discrete criticisms into the overarching Democratic case that Romney will enrich the few at the expense of the many even as he consistently portrayed himself and the president as defenders of the middle class. Biden did everything he could to restore the election to the frame the Obama campaign has worked so laboriously to build before last week’s debate, as a question of: Whose side are you on?

ICYMI: My similar take here.

* Post polling guru Jon Cohen rightly notes that some of the key swing state polls have shown almost no movement since before the first debate:

In six state surveys released Thursday by two well-regarded polling partnerships — NBC-Wall Street Journal-Marist and CBS-New York Times-Quinnipiac — there were virtually no shifts for either candidate compared with pre-debate polls. Nationally, the debate effect may have quickly faded. In Washington Post-ABC News polling after last week’s face-off, voters had more positive reactions to Romney on the first two nights after the debate than on the next two. In Gallup tracking, the post-debate tally is nearly identical to what it was in the preceding days.

As I noted here, a possible explanation, advanced by Priorities USA’s pollster, is that the relentless flood of information in these states has hardened opinions of Romney in them far more than nationally.

* However, don’t miss Nate Silver’s reality check on the brittleness of Obama’s swing state firewall and the apparent staying power of Romney’s post-debate bounce.

* Smart post from David Roberts on how Martha Raddatz’s performance as moderator revealed the limitations of center right Beltway conventional wisdom.

* Why is Romney running an ad that attacks Obama for cutting government spending?

* And Jed Lewison comes through with another video edition of Mitt Romney debating Mitt Romney. Just like last time, what’s remarkable is that both versions of Romney display identical levels of conviction.

What else?