• "The McCain campaign's recent angry tone and sharply personal attacks on Senator Barack Obama appear to have backfired and tarnished Senator John McCain more than their intended target, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll has found.... Over all, the poll found that if the election were held today, 53 percent of those determined to be probable voters said they would vote for Mr. Obama and 39 percent said they would vote for Mr. McCain."
• As "Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama prepare for their third and final debate Wednesday at Hofstra University on Long Island, it appears there might be a more instructive prism through which to judge these encounters: not as a competition between two men but as a prolonged tryout for Mr. Obama," the Times also reports.
• "Three weeks before the Nov. 4 election, some voters in the increasingly important battleground state of Virginia are still agonizing over whether to cast their ballot for" McCain or Obama, the Washington Post reports. "Many of those undecided Virginians are planning to watch the final presidential debate Wednesday night in search of answers."
• With McCain "unveiling a $52.5 billion package of proposals on Tuesday, both presidential candidates have now outlined their plans for addressing the economic crisis, leaving voters with a clear choice when it comes to one of the biggest challenges the next president will face," the New York Times reports.
• "A majority of Americans predict the economic crisis is going to get worse and most are not confident that either U.S. presidential candidate will be able to fix it, according to a USA Today/Gallup Poll published on Tuesday," Reuters reports.
• "Political strategists once assumed that polls might well overstate support for black candidates, since white voters might be reluctant to admit racially tinged sentiments to a pollster," the New York Times reports. "Newer research has cast doubt on that assumption. Either way, the situation is confounding aides on both sides, who like everyone else are waiting to see what role race will play in the privacy of the voting booth."
• "While the two campaigns Tuesday accused one another of trying to steal or suppress votes, experts in election administration are focusing on the old standbys: Faulty machines, questionable voter lists, last-minute litigation," the Politico reports. "The likely trouble spots, the experts say, include two familiar election reprobates: Ohio and Florida."
• "A community organizing group that has been attacked by Republicans and the McCain campaign over accusations of fraudulent voter registrations sought to provide assurances on Tuesday that instances of wrongdoing were not widespread," the New York Times reports.
• "The entertainment industry is usually a lightning rod when presidential contests roll around," the Washington Times reports. "Other than the occasional fundraiser, celebrities are keeping their distance from" Obama "and the election in general, afraid of again tilting the election in the Republican Party's favor."
Dems 2008: Obama Begins Ad Push -- In Xbox Games
• "Three weeks before the election," Obama "is going through something of a dress rehearsal for his first 100 days in office," The Hill reports. "Buoyed by a slew of recent polls showing that the economy has boosted Obama and Democrats in the House and Senate, Democratic leaders in Congress are aggressively posturing to steamroll Republicans over the economy in the coming weeks."
• "Despite plans to boost tax rates for the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans," Obama "is making the deepest inroads into wealthy voters in more than a decade for any Democratic presidential nominee, suggesting the November 4 election could mark a fundamental shift in voting patterns," Reuters reports.
• Obama "for the first time on Tuesday addressed the ACORN controversy that Republicans are seeking to attach to his campaign, minimizing the impact of alleged voter registration fraud linked to the activist group and stressing ACORN is not advising his campaign," the Politico reports.
• "In the first three weeks of September," Obama "ran 1,342 television commercials in the Washington media market that reaches heavily populated and contested Northern Virginia," while McCain "aired just eight commercials" during the same period, the Politico reports. "Similar disparities are playing out across the country as the Illinois Democrat flexes his financial muscle to outspend McCain and the Republican National Committee on television advertisements, in some cases by ratios of as much as 8-to-1."
• "Too busy playing video games to watch presidential ads on television?" AP asks. "Obama has found you, too, by becoming the first presidential candidate to buy ad space inside a game."
• For more on political advertising, see NationalJournal.com's Ad Spotlight blog.
• "Joe Biden said Tuesday that" McCain "is offering no new ideas for a financially distressed nation, only the same negativity toward rival" Obama, AP reports.
• Biden "has paid more than $2 million in campaign cash to his family members, their businesses and employers over the years, a practice that watchdogs criticize as rife with potential conflicts of interest," the Washington Times reports.
• "Maryland hasn't supported a Republican candidate for president in two decades, and that the state will go for" Obama "on Nov. 4 is considered a virtual certainty," the Washington Post reports. "But that didn't stop hundreds of organizers -- partisan and otherwise -- from rushing to register voters before yesterday's deadline."
GOP 2008: Palin Still A Hit With Parents of Special Needs Children
• McCain "proposed a more-expansive economic recovery plan Tuesday that would slash the capital gains tax, suspend taxes on unemployment benefits and guarantee 100 percent of all savings to boost confidence in the banking system," the Washington Times reports.
• McCain "will apparently take the dare in tonight's final presidential debate," the Boston Globe reports. "After his campaign began attacking" Obama "over his ties to 1960s radical William Ayers, McCain did not raise the issue during last week's debate," but said in a recent radio interview: "I think [Obama's] probably ensured it will come up this time."
• McCain "supports background checks for buyers at gun shows and has his name on a law restricting special-interest group advertising, two positions strongly opposed by the National Rifle Association," AP reports. "So how'd he end up with the group's presidential endorsement? By running against" Obama, "whom NRA leaders accuse of wanting to put the firearms industry out of business."
• "Shortly after Sarah Palin was named" McCain's "running mate, the world learned of the choice she made to keep her infant son with Down syndrome," the Wall Street Journal reports. "Some of her most poignant stump moments -- a sharp contrast with her regular mudslinging at the Democrats -- occur when she talks about her son, Trig, now six months old."
• "After a month of market turmoil, top Wall Street executives paid thousands of dollars to gather and listen to the GOP ticket deliver their stump speeches" Tuesday night, the Wall Street Journal reports. "McCain and Palin raised $10 million at a high-dollar Manhattan fund raiser according to one McCain adviser."
Downballot 2008: Dems Cut Loose Disgraced Florida Rep.
• "At a time when many Republicans are distancing themselves from their party," Oregon Senator Gordon Smith "is a study in the extreme," the New York Times reports. "He is not just saying nice things about Democrats; he has run television commercials suggesting that he, Mr. Obama and Senators John Kerry and Edward M. Kennedy, both of Massachusetts, are of like minds on a variety of issues, including alternative energy and hate crimes."
• "Democratic Party operatives are cutting Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.) loose in the wake of allegations of an extra-marital affair that has significantly hurt his reelection prospects," The Hill reports. "Democrats have no plans to reinvest after Mahoney's comments in the past 24 hours failed to knock down an ABC News report that the Florida Democrat made a $121,000 payment to a former congressional staffer with whom he had an affair and subsequently fired from his campaign."
• "Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson told jokes about his ex-CIA officer wife's AK-47 marksmanship to a rapt audience of" Arizona "Democrats at an event just a few miles from the Cornville retreat of" McCain, CongressDailyPM (subscription) reports. "The breezy atmosphere encapsulated the tone of a resurgent Arizona Democratic Party aiming to capture a majority of the state's House delegation."
• "Angry at more than two dozen Republicans who are publicly supporting Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu over GOP challenger state Treasurer John Kennedy, the Louisiana state Republican Party is considering ways to discipline party officials who endorse Democrats," CongressDailyPM (subscription) also reports.