Welcome back to Hotline Sort. Booker drops hints about gubernatorial ambitions, Chris Murphy faces trouble in Connecticut, Heitkamp goes on the Medicare attack and Obama's convention speech doesn't match his previous rhetorical greatest hits.
10) Colorado congressional candidate Joe Coors donned an Arby's uniform and served fast food, in an attempt to showcase he's a normal guy. Coors is challenging Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo, in a suburban Denver district.
9) Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., already facing tough odds to win another term, steps in it with an off-kilter reference to the Holocaust.
8) In their first debate, Democrat Christie Vilsack went hard after Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, calling him a "bully" and an "embarrassment." The Sioux City Journal reports that Vilsack's attack "caught the 10-year incumbent off-guard and appeared to leave him flummoxed and on the defensive."
7) Newark Mayor Cory Booker is hinting that he's looking to run for governor against GOP Gov. Chris Christie in 2013, and not wait until 2014 to make a play for the Senate. At a LGBT caucus meeting Thursday, Booker said: "I'm telling you right now, it's not a matter of if we're going to win marriage equality in New Jersey, it's a matter of when we're going to win it. And I know in my heart of hearts, if God is willing, I will be there on that day that bill is signed. I might even have a very good seat when it gets done."
6) Trouble for Connecticut Senate candidate Chris Murphy: The Democratic nominee was sued in 2007 for defaulting on a $180,000 mortgage on his home. The story landed on the hometown Hartford Courant's front page, filled with unflattering details about Murphy's struggles to "stay current on his personal housing expenses."
Ethical and financial issues doomed former Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd last cycle, who stepped down instead of risking losing a seat in a Democratic-friendly state. Murphy has been taking hits over missing Congressional votes and over his own personal finances, and he's struggling against the Republican nominee, Linda McMahon.
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
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."
'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.