The Obama campaign strikes back on abortion, reiterating that they think Romney is misleading voters with the abortion exemption stance that he started advertising this week:
The Obama people are also pumping another $6 million of ads into seven states, with Ohio, Florida and North Carolina getting the most attention. They're up with a small radio buy in Minnesota as well, where the polls look to be tightening. Zooming out, John Sides adds to the mounting evidence that Obama's ad operation is winning overall:
Romney’s strong fundraising and big spending suggest that he and allied groups might finally eliminate Obama’s advertising advantage. But as of the week ending October 14, that has not happened. … [Ad] spending on behalf of Obama continues to outpace spending on behalf of Romney. Obama and allies aired about 5,000 more television ads than Romney and allies last week.
He also summarizes the two campaigns' targeting:
Both Romney and Obama are pursuing largely the same targeting strategy, focusing on Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. The next tier of states is Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, and—despite some reports to the contrary—North Carolina. Obama’s spending has outpaced Romney’s most significantly in Nevada and Florida. The Obama campaign’s focus on Florida is interesting and, ultimately, perhaps fruitless. Of the 5 toss-up states on the Pollster map, Florida is currently the state where Obama has the smallest chance of winning. Nate Silver also sees Florida as an unlikely tipping point in this election.
In outside spending, Rove's American Crossroads Super PAC is taking on the Obama administration's Libya response in a new web video:
Weigel points out a very misleading edit:
[T]he Crossroads video is attempting to change the record. When Gregory asked Rice whether terrorism occured in Banghazi, Rice did not mumble about the video. She offered some disclaimers then said that "opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate." The idea that Rice foolishly claimed that the attack was part of a video protest, and nothing more, is a myth that only comes true with sketchy edits.
McKay Coppins reports that the Romney campaign is holding its fire for now:
[A] campaign official, granted anonymity to discuss strategy, said their plan to re-litigate the Libya issue was postponed when instant polls and focus groups immediately after the debate showed Romney winning exchanges about the economy, deficit, and gas prices. In the time between the Tuesday night spin room, and the candidate's Wednesday morning rally, Romney's team decided they would build on their momentum in those areas, rather than play defense on foreign policy, the official said.
Meanwhile, the NRA seizes upon Obama's gun control comments from Tuesday's debate:
The NRA is spending $1.5 million on television commercials in Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and an additional $800,000 on online ads in the aforementioned states as well as Colorado, Iowa and Nevada each week, an NRA official tells CNN. The initial ads featured a broad theme that blamed Obama for the country's debt, stated the nation's sovereignty was threatened and warned that people's rights were being attacked, including the Second Amendment during his presidency. But the NRA decided to focus the new ad campaign entirely on the people's rights to defend themselves after Obama mentioned a ban on assault weapons during the second presidential debate.
Then there's the liberal dark-money group People For The American Way, which is going up in four states hitting Romney (in Spanish) over immigration. It' a $1.2 million buy, and here's one of the two spots:
On the down-ticket, Bill Clinton stars in a new ad from the campaign of Iowa Democrat Christie Vilsack, who is challenging incumbent Steve King:
And in Maine, a pair of environmental groups is supporting the Senate campaign of former Independent Governor Angus King:
Ad War archive here.