• "Barack Obama delivered a reassuring economic message and a combative John McCain blistered his opponent as ill-prepared and opportunistic as the two entered the final four weeks of the marathon presidential campaign with swings through the battleground states of the Midwest," the Washington Post reports.
• "They long have been political hot potatoes inside the Beltway, but suddenly Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have become pawns in the 2008 presidential campaign," the Post also reports. "The candidates' records on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not as clear as their statements during the debate."
• "Tens of thousands of eligible voters in at least six swing states have been removed from the rolls or have been blocked from registering in ways that appear to violate federal law," the New York Times reports. "The actions do not seem to be coordinated by one party or the other, nor do they appear to be the result of election officials intentionally breaking rules, but are apparently the result of mistakes in the handling of the registrations and voter files as the states tried to comply with a 2002 federal law, intended to overhaul the way elections are run."
• "With less than a week to sign up voters in many states, registration groups have revved up their efforts to target young people where they live: on their cellphones, computers and video games," the Los Angeles Times reports. "Rock the Vote, the nation's largest youth registration group, recently launched a feature on Microsoft's Xbox 360 that allows gamers to request voter registration forms from their handsets."
• "Democratic strategists are now optimistic that the ongoing crisis could lead to a landslide Obama victory," the Politico reports. "Four large states McCain once seemed well-positioned to win -- Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Florida -- have in recent weeks shifted toward Obama. If Obama were to win those four states -- a scenario that would represent a remarkable turn of events -- he would likely surpass 350 electoral votes."
GOP 2008: Like Ayers, McCain Supporter Has Ties To Violent Groups
• McCain "devoted most of two campaign appearances on Wednesday to lusty attacks on" Obama "and gave less attention, and offered very few specifics, to the growing economic woes of American voters," the New York Times reports. "'Who is the real Senator Obama?' Mr. McCain asked in an increasingly sharp tone in Ohio, as Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska stood to his side."
• "Egged on by a surly crowd," McCain and Palin "delivered a stark condemnation of" Obama's "policies and character Wednesday, casting him as an unreliable choice for president," the Los Angeles Times reports. "The edgy tone of the rally" in Bethlehem, Pa., "was set even before the duo arrived onstage, when local Republican official William Platt warmed up the audience by twice referring to the Democratic nominee as 'Barack Hussein Obama.'"
• "The McCain campaign, in a continuing effort to link" Obama "to domestic terrorism, released a statement Wednesday from a New York supporter, recounting how his family home was firebombed by the radical 1960s group founded by Obama supporter William Ayers," the Wall Street Journal reports. "But the McCain supporter, John M. Murtagh, has his own ties to radical protesters: He served as a lawyer for a Catholic priest who led protests at an abortion clinic that turned violent."
• "The homeowner assistance plan that" McCain "announced without detail in the presidential debate Tuesday night would allow millions of financially stretched Americans to refinance their mortgages with government help, but it would leave taxpayers to cover the losses, rather than the financial institutions that hold the original mortgages," the New York Times reports.
• McCain's proposal "carries big potential benefits for the troubled real-estate sector, but could reduce the funds available for rescuing banks," the Wall Street Journal reports. It "also could make winners out of investors -- including predatory mortgage lenders -- that the Bush administration and Congress have tried to exclude from the government's largesse."
• McCain "returned to the campaign trail yesterday with new emphasis on a domestic agenda that appeared designed in part to address the concerns of white women, a crucial voting bloc that has moved steadily in recent weeks toward" Obama, the Boston Globe reports.
• "In a campaign with plenty of gaffes to go around," McCain "added one to the mix Wednesday," the Wall Street Journal reports. "The Republican vice-presidential candidate [sic] addressed a crowd in Pennsylvania as 'my fellow prisoners.'"
• Palin's "husband spoke numerous times to state officials about firing his ex- brother-in-law, a state trooper he described as 'dangerous' to the governor's family, according to a sworn statement," Bloomberg News reports.
• "The 20-year-old son of a Tennessee state Democratic representative plead not guilty Wednesday after being indicted for purportedly hacking into an e-mail account belonging to" Palin, United Press International reports.
• Palin "will drop the ceremonial first puck when the Philadelphia Flyers open the season against the New York Rangers on Saturday," AP reports. "Palin, the Alaska governor and self-described 'hockey mom,' will join the winner of a team promotion for the 'Ultimate Hockey Mom' to drop the puck."
Dems 2008: Obama Rejects McCain's Mortgage Bailout Scheme
• Obama's "campaign on Wednesday rejected" McCain's "plan to buy up 300 billion dollars of bad home loans clogging the US economy as too expensive and an example of 'erratic' leadership," Agence France-Presse reports.
• "Unlike his opponent," Obama "does not brand himself as the 'straight talk' candidate, but he has presented himself as a change agent with new, workable, bipartisan ideas for the economy," the New York Times reports. "His remarks on Wednesday were only the latest, though, to reveal a disconnect between his optimistic promises and the trickier work of enacting an agenda in a polarized capital now gripped by a financial crisis."
• "A gloomy economic outlook is providing a ray of sunshine for" Obama "in the Republican stronghold of Indiana, pinching" McCain's "efforts to hold onto once-reliable electoral votes," the Wall Street Journal reports. "Mr. Bush carried Indiana by 21 percentage points in 2004, and Sen. McCain had a strong lead in state polls through Labor Day. Even Sen. Obama's campaign staff acknowledges that winning here remains a long shot."
• "Obama has built a biography on overcoming obstacles -- on fusing unlikely bonds that help him to adapt and then advance," the Washington Post reports. "He knew from the moment he took the oath of office in Springfield," Illinois, "that he wanted to move beyond the state Senate, so he set out to orchestrate his rise in trademark fashion: by emphasizing relationships over results; by transforming from an outsider into the ultimate insider."
• Obama "spent $3.3 million on TV ads on Monday alone -- a remarkable one-day expenditure that more than doubled" McCain's "spending that day, according to the ad tracking firm, Campaign Media Analysis Group," the Wall Street Journal reports.
• "McCain purchased $1.25 million worth of television advertising in Michigan last week, the same week he withdrew from the state and effectively conceded defeat," NationalJournal.com reports.
• For more on political advertising, see NatoinalJournal.com's Ad Spotlight blog.
Downballot 2008: GOP Sweating Possible McConnell Loss
• "The economic upheaval is threatening to topple Republican Congressional candidates, putting more Senate and House seats within Democratic reach less than a month before the elections, lawmakers and campaign strategists say," the New York Times reports.
• "Business and labor groups are ramping up advertising in a handful of Senate races, seeing that chamber as the battleground that will have an outsize impact on the next administration's policies, regardless of which party controls the White House," the Wall Street Journal reports. "Democrats and their union allies are hoping to pick up enough seats to have 60 Democratic senators in the next Congress," but "business groups are trying to stop them from reaching that goal."
• "With polling in Kentucky suddenly showing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) in a dead heat with Democratic upstart Bruce Lunsford, Senate Republicans are privately starting to worry their leader could be knocked off and have begun contemplating what their leadership might look like in his absence," Roll Call (subscription) reports.
• "A new poll conducted for Minnesota Public Radio shows Democratic challenger Al Franken gaining on GOP Sen. Norm Coleman in the wake of Congress' approval of the financial industry bailout bill -- which Coleman voted for and Franken opposed," CongressDailyPM (subscription) reports.