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A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.
-- The Big Picture: Public dissatisfaction with President Obama and the direction of the country give Republicans an edge in the midterm elections, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Six in ten say they can't trust the federal government to do what's right. There is less interest in the midterm elections than there was in 2006 or 2010, but Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting. Republicans lead the generic ballot 50 percent to 44 percent. In states with competitive Senate races, Republicans lead the generic ballot 57 percent to 39 percent. (Washington Post)
-- What That Means In The States: Republicans control 59 of 98 partisan legislative chambers across the country. A favorable political environment is likely to boost that number this year, giving Republicans control of an unprecedented number of legislative chambers. The GOP controlled both chambers in 30 states after the 1920 elections, and their modern record is 62 chambers, following special elections in 2011 and 2012.
-- Chambers To Watch: New Hampshire House, and its 400 members. Washington State Senate, where Republicans govern with centrist Democrats. Nevada Senate and Colorado Senate, which Democrats hold by one-seat margins. Iowa Senate, Kentucky House and West Virginia House, all of which are governed by slim Democratic majorities. Arkansas House and Pennsylvania Senate, two Democratic opportunities to make gains. (Washington Post)
-- Medical workers fighting off the Ebola outbreak in West Africa are seeing far fewer cases of the disease than anticipated. Over the weekend, fewer than half the treatment beds in Liberia were occupied, and new admissions are dropping. Even the percentage of samples testing positive for Ebola is dropping. Health officials aren't declaring victory; in fact, they don't know why the number of cases is dropping. Some officials suspect the WHO's estimate of 10,000 new cases a week by December was dramatically inflated. (New York Times)
-- The Department of Homeland Security is increasing security measures at federal buildings across the country after last week's shooting at Canada's Parliament building and threats from terrorist groups. DHS officials say the steps are precautionary, not tied to any specific terrorist threat. (Washington Post)
-- The investigator who led DHS's internal review of the 2012 Secret Service prostitution scandal resigned quietly in August after refusing to answer questions about his own alleged involvement with a prostitute. Broward County, Fla., sheriff's deputies saw the investigator, David Nieland, entering a house they had under surveillance as part of a prostitution investigation. Nieland denied the allegations, but he refused to answer further questions. (New York Times)
-- Front Pages: WaPo leads with the new poll showing Republicans surging. NYT leads with this Eric Lipton look at lobbyists plying state attorneys general. WSJ highlights big business groups betting on a Republican Senate. USA Today leads with DHS's heightened alert level, along with a crazy photo of a NASA rocket exploding on Wallops Island, Va., last night. And LA Times leads with the happy news that Dallas nurse Amber Vinson left an Atlanta hospital Tuesday after beating Ebola.
Poll-a-Palooza: Last chance to empty those polling budgets, folks.
-- Iowa: A new Loras College poll shows something we haven't seen for a while: Rep. Bruce Braley (D) leading. Then again, it's actually a statistical tie: Braley leads state Sen. Joni Ernst (R), 45 percent to 44 percent. The same poll has Gov. Terry Branstad (R) up 55 percent to 34 percent over state Sen. Jack Hatch (R). President Obama's approval rating is at just 42 percent. (Loras, pdf) Loras had Braley up 4 in early September. CNN showed Braley leading by 1 the next week, and he hasn't led a public live caller poll since.
-- Alaska: A rare live-caller poll! Alaska veteran Ivan Moore finds Sen. Mark Begich (D) leading former Attorney General Dan Sullivan (R) 48 percent to 42 percent, and Rep. Don Young (R) up only 44 percent to 43 percent over attorney Forrest Dunbar (D). Moore added a tighter voter screen, too, which showed Begich up 8 and Dunbar up 5. Grain of salt: Alaska polling is really, really unreliable. But in 2008, Moore predicted a 1-point Begich win, and Begich won by 1.3 points. (Ivan Moore, Real Clear Politics)
-- Massachusetts: Businessman Charlie Baker (R) has another real lead in another real poll. He's beating Attorney General Martha Coakley 45 percent to 41 percent among likely voters, thanks to an incredible 50 percent to 10 percent lead among independents. Baker has a 15-point edge among men, and Coakley leads women by 8 points. (UMass Lowell, pdf)
-- Oregon: The first live-caller poll we've seen after scandals involving First Lady Cylvia Hayes shows Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) leading state Rep. Dennis Richardson (R) 45 percent to 43 percent. (Oregonian) The same poll shows Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) leading physician Monica Wehby (R) 49 percent to 30 percent. (Oregonian) If you'd have said Merkley would win by a wider margin than Kitzhaber, we might have called you crazy. Meanwhile, the poll shows a ballot measure legalizing marijuana failing, by a 44 percent to 46 percent margin. (Oregonian)
-- Maine: Gov. Paul LePage (R) and Rep. Mike Michaud (D) are statistically tied at 40 percent, with 13 percent opting for independent Eliot Cutler in a new Pan Atlantic SMS Group poll. LePage led by 5 points in the group's September survey, and Cutler's support has dropped 7 points in the meantime. (Real Clear Politics)
-- New Hampshire: The UNH Survey Center finds Rep. Ann Kuster (D) opening a 53 percent to 30 percent lead on state Rep. Marilinda Garcia (R). Garcia was up four points earlier this month in the race for New Hampshire's 2nd district, which includes Nashua, Concord and the rural northern part of the state. (UNH) Earlier this week, the same pollster found Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) hanging onto a narrow lead over former Rep. Frank Guinta (R), 44 percent to 40 percent, in the battle for the 1st district, which is Manchester and the Seacoast. (UNH)
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- WH'16: Another sign Jeb Bush is serious about a presidential run: He's starting to explain his support for Common Core in terms of President Obama. In an appearance Tuesday at Vanderbilt, Bush said Common Core got a bad rap because Obama began to "take credit for it," by tying it to Race to the Top waivers. Bush also called Obama's foreign policy an "unmitigated disaster." (Tennessean) Common Core is still going to haunt Bush if he runs.
-- South Dakota: So much for that head-fake. The NRSC and the DSCC are canceling ad reservations after polls started showing Gov. Mike Rounds (R) pulling ahead once again. The DSCC is spending just $29,000 on ads this week, making their investment far below the $1 million they pledged to spend on the race just a few weeks ago. And the NRSC cancelled $346,000 in ad time they'd purchased over the last week. (Sioux Falls Argus Leader)
-- Minnesota: The marketing department in MNsure, the state health care exchange, approved a $925,000 contract without obtaining the proper authorization, according to an audit conducted by the state legislature's watchdog agency. The audit didn't find any fraud inside MNsure, and exchange officials say they expect a smoother enrollment process this year, after trouble with the website stymied some people seeking insurance. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)
-- South Carolina: Former Republican state legislator Tom Ervin, running for governor as an independent, formally quit the race on Tuesday and threw his support to state Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D). Ervin was polling in the low single digits even after dropping $2.5 million of his own money on ads that started running long before Sheheen and Gov. Nikki Haley (R) got on TV. Pollsters said almost all of Ervin's support was coming from Sheheen anyway. (The State)
-- Montana: The presidents of Stanford and Dartmouth will send 100,000 letters to Montana residents apologizing for mailers they sent out comparing state Supreme Court candidates to President Obama and Mitt Romney. The mailers were sent by political science faculty conducting research at the two schools, and officials said they might violate state election law. The wording of the letters was agreed to by both schools, Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch and Commissioner of Public Practices Jonathan Motl. (Associated Press)
-- Florida: A craft beer bar in Stuart, Fla., is suing the state over a ban on growlers, half-gallon jugs patrons can take home. The Crafted Keg filed suit in federal court on Tuesday; Anheuser-Busch distributors have fought against bills introduced in the legislature that would have allowed growlers to be sold. Growlers are legal in 47 states. (Associated Press)
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama meets with public health and national security officials this afternoon in the Situation Room for an update on the government response to the Ebola outbreak. Obama will deliver remarks at an event with health care workers fighting Ebola in the East Room at 3:40 p.m.
-- Vice President Biden attends the funeral service for the late Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee at the National Cathedral this morning before traveling to Boston this afternoon. In Lynn, Mass., Biden will join 6th district candidate Seth Moulton at a YMCA, before attending a fundraiser for Moulton and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) in Cambridge. Tonight, Biden attends an event for gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley (D).
-- House Democratic leaders asked for a last-minute cash infusion from members in a conference call Tuesday, in which a dozen members pledged to transfer about $500,000 to the DCCC. Just 77 members have met or exceeded dues owed to the DCCC.
-- DCCC chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) sent members a list of nine candidates on what he called the "Red Alert List," including Reps. Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), Bill Enyart (D-Ill.), Pete Gallego (D-Texas), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) and Rick Nolan (D-Minn.). Also on the list: Brad Ashford, running against Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.); Aimee Belgard, who's running for retiring Rep. Jon Runyan's (R-N.J.) seat; and Domenic Recchia, challenging Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.). (Washington Post)
-- Did Vice President Biden get a sweetheart deal on a vacation in Grand Teton National Park? The Interior Department is launching an investigation into their management of the Brinkerhoff Lodge, a lakeside cabin operated by the National Park Service where Biden and 12 family members vacationed in August. VIPs aren't allowed to use the cabin for vacation, but NPS said Biden got an official park briefing while he was there. Biden's office said the vice president will reimburse the park $1,200 for renting the lodge. (Time)
TV Time Out: Our exclusive look at who's advertising, and where.
-- The TV Time Out is a week away from running its course, and most folks have shipped their last ads. Now comes the credit-claiming. Over the next few days, we'll run down the biggest spenders in the races that will decide control of the U.S. Senate this year. A note on methodology: We combined groups operating under the same general umbrellas, like American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, into one number for simplicity's sake. These are estimates, probably on the low end of what the actual numbers will be. These numbers come from ad buyers in the know, not CMAG or other ad monitoring groups.
-- Alaska: The two sides have spent more than $25 million on behalf of Sen. Mark Begich (D) and former Attorney General Dan Sullivan (R). The biggest Republican spenders: The two Crossroads groups ($6.2 million), the NRSC ($4.3 million) and Sullivan's campaign ($1.7 million). The biggest Democratic spenders: Put Alaska First, the Senate Majority PAC-funded group ($4.4 million), the DSCC ($3.7 million), and Begich's campaign ($1.6 million).
-- Arkansas: Democrats and Republicans spent $46 million on ads in the Natural State. Top Republican spenders on behalf of Rep. Tom Cotton: The Koch brothers' network ($8.1 million, split between three entities), the Crossroads groups ($6.1 million) and Cotton's campaign ($5.9 million). Top spenders on behalf of Sen. Mark Pryor (D): Senate Majority PAC and Patriot Majority ($6.6 million combined), Pryor's campaign ($5.7 million) and the DSCC ($4.5 million).
-- Colorado: What was once going to be a sleepy race is now one of the most expensive, drawing $67 million in ad spending. The biggest spenders on behalf of Rep. Cory Gardner (R): Crossroads GPS $11.1 million), Gardner's campaign ($7.3 million) and the Koch brothers network ($5.4 million). Top backers of Sen. Mark Udall (D): Udall's campaign ($7.4 million), the DSCC ($6.4 million) and Senate Majority PAC ($4.9 million).
-- Georgia: The $25 million spent by both sides breaks down almost exactly evenly. The biggest backers of businessman David Perdue (R): Perdue's campaign ($4.3 million), the NRSC ($4.3 million) and Ending Spending Action Fund ($3.6 million). Philanthropy executive Michelle Nunn's (D) best friends: Nunn's campaign ($8.3 million), Women Vote ($1.8 million) and the DSCC ($1.3 million).
-- Iowa: The two sides shoe-horned $43 million into one tiny state (that's $10 million per Congressional district). Highest spending for state Sen. Joni Ernst (R): NRSC ($6.2 million), Koch network groups ($5.8 million) and Ernst's campaign ($2.8 million). Most spending for Rep. Bruce Braley (D): DSCC ($8.3 million), Braley's campaign ($4.8 million) and Senate Majority PAC ($4.2 million).
-- Tomorrow: Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Virginia.
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- Gov. Rick Perry's (R) out-of-state travel has cost Texas taxpayers $3.3 million in security bills since he won re-election in 2010. Most of that, $1.8 million, came between August 2011 and January 2012, when Perry was running for president. Perry's direct travel costs are paid for by his campaign, his PAC or groups that invite him to visit, but the state covers costs of troopers who travel with him. (Houston Chronicle) Also, how did we miss this: In a conversation with The New York Times earlier this year, Perry said he would consider moving to California after he leaves office. The irony is so rich.
-- A leading candidate for president of the Navajo Nation suffered a serious setback Tuesday when the current president vetoed legislation that would have let voters decide whether presidential candidates are fluent in the Navajo language. Tribal law requires fluency from presidential candidates. Chris Deschene, who finished second in the August primary election, is proficient, but not fluent. He said he would stop campaigning after the veto. The Navajo Supreme Court ordered Deschene removed from the ballot and replaced with the primary's third place finisher. (Associated Press)
-- Stock futures are mixed before the bell, a day after U.S. markets gained more than 1 percent. International markets are humming along; Asian indices closed up more than 1 percent today. (CNN)
C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.
-- The state of U.S.-Israeli relations is at a low ebb, writes The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg. "The fault for this breakdown in relations can be assigned in good part to the junior partner in the relationship, Netanyahu, and in particular, to the behavior of his cabinet. Netanyahu has told several people I've spoken to in recent days that he has 'written off' the Obama administration, and plans to speak directly to Congress and to the American people should an Iran nuclear deal be reached. For their part, Obama administration officials express, in the words of one official, a 'red-hot anger' at Netanyahu, for pursuing settlement policies on the West Bank, and building policies in Jerusalem, that they believe have fatally undermined Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace process."
-- One "official said that the Obama Administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. ... In 2010, and again in 2012, Administration officials were convinced that Netanyahu and his then-defense minister, the cowboyish ex-commando Ehud Barak, were readying a strike on Iran. ... The public criticism of Obama policies is simultaneously heartfelt, and also designed to mobilize the base [in advance of possible elections next year]." Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Susan Rice refused to meet with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon when he visited D.C. (The Atlantic)
C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work
-- Swimmers have been crossing Walden Pond, the lake in Concord, Mass., where Henry David Thoreau meditated on life for two years, even though it's not actually allowed. Now, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation says it will allow open-water swimming at Walden, after issuing a set of proposed rules that would prevent swimmers from getting too close to boats. (Boston Globe)
Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.
-- Leading lots of the conservative outlets all day yesterday: A surrogate warming up the crowd before an event with Hillary Clinton and Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) referred to North Carolina state House Speaker Thom Tillis as an "Uncle Tom" over the weekend. State Rep. Alma Adams (D), who's going to win former Rep. Mel Watt's (D) open 12th district seat, said: "We need to send Uncle Tom -- Tillis, that is -- home." (Weekly Standard)
Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today
-- A creationism summit scheduled for Saturday at Michigan State University includes workshops called "Hitler's Worldview" and "The Big Bang is FAKE." The Origin Summit will look at how evolution influenced Hitler's views. MSU faculty have complained to school officials, but the school says it will allow the group to meet at the Eli Broad College of Business. (MLive) Best of all: They're raffling off a free iPad at the end of the day!