5) If there was any doubt that Republicans view Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., as one of the most vulnerable Democrats (as NRCC chair Pete Sessions told us last month), the big investment in the race by the GOP-aligned YG Action Funds should dispel any doubt. As Scott Bland reported, they're spending big bucks on a scathing ad attacking Tierney's ethical record, featuring details about his family's illegal gambling operation. Meanwhile, the DCCC made their first big ad buy Thursday and Republicans are doing theirs today, according to ad reservations shared with Hotline on Call. We can expect to see the NRCC ads roll out at the beginning of next week but voters will start seeing them right away. 4) North Dakota Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp is up with a new ad attacking Rep. Rick Berg for supporting Paul Ryan's entitlement reforms. It never mentions Ryan by name, instead featuring a senior woman who accusing Berg of supporting raising her Medicare premiums. It ends with Heitkamp, on camera, saying: "I'll work to strengthen Medicare, not destroy it." The Medicare attacks have become an essential part of the Democratic playbook in the state; the DSCC went up with a similar-themed ad this week as well. 3) As Steve Shepard reported last night, it was a tale of two Senate candidates with two different messages in Charlotte the last two days. Wisconsin Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin immediately went on the attack against Republican Tommy Thompson last night - in an appearance that received minimal attention. By contrast, Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren appeared in primetime, and never mentioned Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass. Meanwhile, the convention state's gubernatorial nominee, lieutenant governor Walter Dalton, was largely ignored, only giving a short, unmemorable speech at the onset of Thursday's proceedings. 2) Mitt Romney's campaign released 15 new ads in eight battleground states that criticize President Obama for the stagnant state of the economy, and tout Romney's plans to create jobs. The ads link Obama to high foreclosure rates, defense cuts, government regulations and the national deficit. They're running in all the big battlegrounds, with the notable exception of Wisconsin. 1) President Obama received lukewarm reviews for his convention speech, hitting on themes familiar to those following his recent stump speeches. He made the case to use government programs to help secure the social safety net of the middle class. National Journal's Ron Fournier wrote that "it wasn't a blueprint as much as it was a collection of lofty goals and promises - more than Romney put forward last week, less than voters may demand." Politico's John Harris and Jim Vandehei write: "Democratic rhetoric is openly protective of big government in a way it was not during the Clinton years. Republican rhetoric is dismissive of any positive role for government that makes the 'compassionate conservative' ideas of George W. Bush seem like a very distant echo." The August jobs report, to be released at 8:30 this morning, also could pour cold water on the president's message. As the NYT reports today, "the party could come to an abrupt halt even before he breaks camp here Friday morning when the government releases its employment report for August, a blunt reminder of the forces working against him." For more coverage of all the convention play-by-play, check out NationalJournal.com.
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