What Romney needs in the first presidential election: “Romney needs to use the Denver encounter to reverse the slide he has found himself in since the party conventions. While Republican partisans claim that many of the public pollssurvey too many Democrats and are thus casting Romney as further behind than he is, the behavior of the Romney campaign suggests it does not believe this. Many of its recent strategic moves have smacked of damage control and appear to reflect an understanding that if the campaign stays on its current trajectory, Obama will prevail,” writes Brookings’ E.J.Dionne. (Washington Post)

Manhattan Institute’s Nicole Gelinas has questions for the presidential debate: “Neither presidential candidate has spoken much about the financial crisis or how to prevent another one. Yet the financial meltdown of four years ago still affects people’s lives today. Americans struggle under bubble-era debt. They struggle, too, with poor job growth. The moderator of this week’s debate, PBS’ Jim Lehrer, should deploy a few pointed questions to encourage the contenders to break their silence.” (Washington Examiner)

AEI’s Michael Barone: The particulars of polls. (National Review)

Politico’s Arena asks: On the shows of hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Fox News’ Dick Morris, the polls are part of an international plot by the media to depress Republican voters – and hide the fact that Romney is charging toward a win. Is this movement doing anything to rally Republican voters?  Do the hosts have a point about poll inaccuracies in such a tight race?

Room for Debate asks: To counteract professorial bias — equally prevalent among male and female academics, according to the study — should there be affirmative action, or something similar, to advance women in science and related subjects? Or is there a better way? (New York Times)

Frederick and Kim Kagan: Losing Iraq. (National Review)

Manhattan Institute’s Ben Boychuk: Jerry Brown’s tax-hike hail Mary. (New York Post)