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* A new CNN/ORC International poll of likely voters shows President Obama holds a slight lead over Mitt Romney. Obama leads 52 percent to 46 percent, a bump up for the president from the previous survey conducted just before the Democratic convention, which showed the race tied at 48 percent. The poll also shows Romney leading Obama by 14 points among independents. The latest poll was conducted during the three days following the end of the Charlotte convention.

* A poll conducted for Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) opponent shows that he is running about even with the congresswoman. Democrat Jim Graves trails Bachmann by just a 48 percent to 46 percent margin in the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research survey, which shows a majority of independents prefer the Democrat.

* Wendy Rosen, the Democratic nominee against Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) pulled out of the race on the same day the Maryland Democratic Party alleged that she voted in both Maryland and Florida in 2006 and 2008. Local Democratic officials will select a replacement for Rosen.

* The pitches intended to encourage people to donate money to Romney's campaign via web, text, and email were (until today) nearly identical copies of the wording used by the Obama campaign to solicit donations.

* The battle for the House is on, with Republicans reporting more than $4 million worth of independent expenditures across 22 districts over the weekend. The National Republican Congressional Committee is investing big (a combined $2 million) in conservative-leaning districts held by Democratic Reps. Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Mark Critz (Pa.), Jim Matheson (Utah) and John Barrow (Ga.). These are the four districts where the NRCC has spent the most so far, and overall, it is playing more offense than defense at this early stage.


* The National Republican Senatorial Committee is hitting the airwaves in Maine this week with a $500,000 ad buy. Independent former governor Angus King is the clear frontrunner in the three-way race that also includes Democrat Cynthia Dill and Republican Charlie Summers. The NRSC's foray suggests Republicans believe there is a path to victory for Summers.

* West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) is up with his first TV ads, including one spot that continues his strategy of putting distance between himself and Obama. "Since the day I became governor, I fought the Obama administration's war on coal," Tomblin says in one of the spots.

* Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan will be back in Washington this week for a vote on a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded until next March. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he expects that Ryan will vote for the measure, which contains spending levels higher than the ones Ryan proposed in his budget plan.

* Singer Nicki Minaj has provided a little more clarity: She did not actually endorse Romney in the presidential campaign. In an interview, Obama suggested that Minaj might not actually have been endorsing the Republican, and she confirmed as much. "Thank you for understanding my creative humor & sarcasm Mr. President, the smart ones always do..." tweeted Minaj.



With Aaron Blake