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* Mitt Romney's campaign appears increasingly confident about its chances in North Carolina -- to the point that it is beginning to shift staffers from the state to other battlegrounds. "With the increasingly widening polls in North Carolina, we will continue to allocate resources, including key senior staff, to other states,” said Romney spokesman Michael Levoff. Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki responded: “The Romney team doesn’t ask me for advice, but pulling resources out of a state where early vote started today and there were lines wrapped around block to vote for the president when you have a narrow path to 270 doesn’t seem like a smart strategy." 

* If Romney doesn't win in November, he won't be running again, wife Ann Romney said during an appearance on ABC's "The View" Thursday morning. Mitt Romney was initially slated to be on the program with his wife, but later had to scrap the appearance due to scheduling difficulties. 

* At a campaign stop in Nevada, Vice President Biden said of Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (Wis.): “Ryan has written a book called ‘The Young Guns‘ with two other fellas, members of the House, Republican leaders in the House … unfortunately the bullets are aimed at you." Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck characterized the remark "over-the-top rhetoric." 

* Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) raised $1.6 million during the third quarter, less than a third of Sen. Claire McCaskill's (D) $5.8 million haul. Akin -- who stoked controversy in August when he said "legitimate rape" rarely causes pregnancy -- ended the period with just $553,000 in the bank, compared to McCaskill's $2.1 million. Meanwhile, a Democratic poll shows McCaskill leading Akin 47 percent to 35 percent, with a third party candidate at 8 percent. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee survey was conducted by Harstad Research from Oct. 15-17. Akin and McCaskill will debate for the final time Thursday night. 

* Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) apologized for suggesting that Elizabeth Warren (D) used paid actors in a TV ad Warren ad that featured family members of mesothelioma sufferers. "It was wrong for me to have jumped to those conclusions and I apologize to those I offended," Brown said. Meanwhile, Brown released a new TV ad Thursday slamming Warren's legal work in the 1990s on behalf of LTV Steel, saying she "sided with yet another big corporation against working people." At the time, the company was fighting a rule forcing it to pay into a health care fund for retired workers. Warren's campaign has countered that the retirees' benefits weren't in jeopardy. 

* Two environmental groups are coming to former governor Angus King's (I) defense in the Maine Senate race. The League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club released a contrast TV ad that touts King's record on energy and slams Republican nominee Charlie Summers. 


* Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) released an environment-focused ad that could easily have come from a Democratic candidate. "I'm working to protect our environment," West says in the commercial. "We have a responsibility to keep Florida beautiful," the Republican congressman concludes at the end of the spot. West faces a tough reelection bid against Democrat Patrick Murphy. 

* State Sen. Deb Fischer (R) leads former senator Bob Kerrey (D) by five points, 50 percent to 45 percent, according to an internal poll conducted for Kerrey's Nebraska Senate campaign Sunday-Tuesday by Harrison Hickman Analytics. An Omaha World-Herald poll conducted in late September showed Fischer up by 16, and most public surveys have shown her holding a double-digit lead.  

* Former governor Linda Lingle (R) trails Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) by just four points, 47 percent to 43 percent, according to a poll of the Hawaii Senate race conducted for the Lingle campaign by Jan van Lohuizen from Oct. 9-16. It's rarely a good sign when candidates release internal polls showing them losing -- something worth bearing in mind with regard to the Lingle survey and the Kerrey poll. 

* The Republican Governors Association launched a new TV ad attacking Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock's (D) record on jobs. "Time after time, he stood in our way or refused to the fight for Montana," the narrator says. 


Who won the "First Lady" debate?

With Aaron Blake