The Midterm Snapshot: October 11

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Photo: The Atlantic

With just a little over three weeks until voting day, President Obama is making a last effort to get Americans back to work and Republicans are returning fire over accusations that they're using foreign money to influence the election. Meanwhile, a West Virginia Democrat literally shoots cap and trade with a gun, a Republican in Florida gives the Pledge for America a "D" grade, and that guy in Ohio who dresses up as a Nazi loses the support of his party.

National Polls and Projections

Five Thirty Eight: Senate — 51.5-48.4 Dems; House — 226.5-208.5 GOP
Cook Political Report: Senate — 47-42 Dems (11 toss-ups); House — 198-197 Dems (40 toss-ups)
CQ Politics: Senate — 48-44 Dems (8 toss-ups); House — 211-190 (34 toss-ups)
Real Clear Politics: Senate — 48-46 Dems (6 toss-ups); House — 210-186 GOP (39 toss-ups)
The Daily Beast's Election Oracle: Senate — 52-48 Dems; House — 220-215 GOP

Talking Points

Democrats:

President Obama is talking up his proposal for $50 billion in infrastructure spending, which he says will help employ people immediately and help the country and economy in the long-term. "All we need is the political will. This is a season for choices. This is a choice — between decline and prosperity and past and future," he said in a Rose Garden appearance.

Republicans:

After days of attacks by Obama and the DNC on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a GOP-friendly business lobbying group, for allegedly using foreign money in their election spending, Republicans are fighting back. On Sunday, Karl Rove said that the Democrats "have not one shred of evidence to back up that baseless lie." And today, former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie hits back in a Washington Post op-ed. "In the West Wing, apparently, the American principle is that you're guilty until proven innocent, and our highest elected and appointed officials are there to hurl the charges," Gillespie writes. "It is telling that this White House equates ads that threaten its hold on power as a threat to democracy. They're not actually one and the same."

Eye On ...

West Virginia Senate:

It was once believed that popular Democratic governor Joe Manchin would not have a difficult time keeping Robert Byrd's former seat in Democratic hands. And although Manchin remains well-liked as a governor, his opponent's insistence that Manchin would help enact the evil Obama agenda if elected has seemed to resonate with the electorate. So Machin is addressing that claim head-on. In a new ad, he says that he'll "take on ... this administration to get the federal government off of our backs and out of our pockets," calls for the repeal of the "bad parts of Obamacare," and demonstrates his opposition to cap-and-trade climate-change legislation by shooting it, in paper form, in the woods. In other words, his ads are not immediately distinguishable from Republican ads at this point.

Florida-22:

Tea-party darling, enemy of "Coexist" bumper stickers, and violent-rhetoric lover Allen West, the Republican nominee in Florida's toss-up 22nd district, trashed the GOP's highly touted Pledge for America in an interview with Politico today. West calls the Pledge "boilerplate" and gives it a "D" grade. This is especially awkward timing, because House Minority Leader John Boeher came into town to stump for West today.

Ohio-9:

Rich Iott, the Republican nominee for Congress in Ohio's 9th district, didn't have much of a chance to beat incumbent Marcy Kaptur even before it was discovered that he likes dressing up as a Nazi on weekends. So there was little reason for the party not to immediately disown Iott, as House Minority Whip Eric Cantor did yesterday on Fox News Sunday. That doesn't mean Iott has to like it, though. Cantor "didn't understand what historical reenacting is all about, or the education side of it," Iott said on CNN today. "And he just made a decision without all the facts."