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National Democrats to hit the airwaves in Maine Senate race

Claire McCaskill’s unlikely supporter: Joe Ricketts

The almost-competitiveness of Arizona and Pennsylvania

What if the presidential debates don’t matter?

Campaign ads take a turn for the nasty

Race becomes an issue in North Carolina gubernatorial campaign

Gov. John Kasich makes a comeback in Ohio

The devastatingly bad candidacy of Todd Akin — and how it could cost Republicans the Senate


Mitt Romney told reporters Friday that he believes voters will pay close attention to the upcoming debates and make a decision about what is in the best interest of their country and family. “The American people will listen carefully to the conversation that’s held over three debates and the fourth, with the vice presidential debate,” Romney said. “They’ll decide who can help their family, who will be able to get our economy going in the way it could be going and they’ll make a decision based on what they believe is in the best interest of the country and their own family. And I expect to be able to describe that in a way people will understand -- and if they do, I’ll get elected.”

* Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said on MSNBC Friday morning that Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) "kind of makes [Rep.] Michele Bachmann look like a hippie."

* Akin consultant Kellyanne Conway compared the barrage of GOP attacks against the congressman to the situation cult leader David Koresh faced in Waco in 1993: “The first day or two where it was like the Waco with the David Koresh situation where they’re trying to smoke him out with the SWAT teams and the helicopters and the bad Nancy Sinatra records. Then here comes day two and you realize the guy’s not coming out of the bunker. Listen, Todd has shown his principle to the voters," she said. Meanwhile, former senator Kit Bond (R-Mo.), who once called for Akin to end his bid, now backs him

* National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Tex.) said the NRSC has “no plans” to spend money on the Missouri Senate race. “I just think that this is not a winnable race,” Cornyn said. “We have to make tough calculations based on limited resources and where to allocate it, where it will have the best likelihood of electing a Republican senator.” After previously saying it would not spend any money for Akin, the committee re-opened the door to doing so on Wednesday.

* Romney released a new Spanish-language TV ad featuring Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno (R) saying, "These last few years have been very hard for our families. With Mitt Romney, things will get better."

* Former congresswoman Heather Wilson (R) released an internal poll showing her running about even with Rep. Martin Heinrich (D). Wilson is at 42 percent in the Public Opinion Strategies poll, while Heinrich is at 43 percent. Independent candidate Jon Barrie is at 9 percent in the poll, which is the same level of support he received in Heinrich's internal poll released earlier on Friday. Third party candidates usually poll better than they perform. 


* Former President Bill Clinton is headed to New Hampshire next Wednesday to campaign for President Obama. 

* The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is up with a new contrast ad in New York's 19th District that says Rep. Chris Gibson (R) "put his party first when he voted to end the Medicare guarantee" while Julian Schreibman "says put the middle class first." Meanwhile, Crossroads GPS is spending $461,000 on an ad buy that hits Schreibman for supporting the federal health care law.  

* A Democratic poll of the Montana Senate race conducted for the League Of Conservation Voters shows Sen. Jon Tester (D) and Rep. Dennis Rehberg running about even. The Democrat is at 44 percent and the Republican is at 42 percent in the Global Strategy Group survey. 

* A Republican poll conducted for YG Action Fund shows GOP nominee Richard Tisei holding a slight lead over Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.). Tisei leads Tierney 45 percent to 37 percent in the North Star Opinion Research poll. YG Action Fund is a super PAC run by former aides to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.).


All 50 states. 

With Aaron Blake