The Midterm Snapshot: October 12

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Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Three weeks remain until Election Day, and even as voters lose confidence in President Obama's ability to handle the economy, one of the main arguments Democrats are making — and apparently will continue to make, despite widespread derision — is that Republican groups may be using foreign money to influence the election. Meanwhile, another Democratic candidate has thrown Nancy Pelosi overboard, the tea party is targeting Barney Frank, and a Republican in West Virginia wants to abolish the minimum wage.

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 — 211-185 GOP (39 toss-ups)
The Daily Beast's Election Oracle: Senate — 52-48 Dems; House — 220-215 GOP

Talking Points

Democrats:

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs is not bothered by numerous independent fact-checks showing that there is no proof that the Chamber of Commerce is illegally using foreign money in its campaign efforts, as Democrats have alleged. "The president will continue to make this argument," he said in his daily press briefing. "We don't know where this money comes from."

Republicans:

The Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, isn't backing down. Quite the opposite. In a letter sent to the board of directors today, the Chamber's president, Tom Donohue, promised that "for the next three weeks leading up to Election Day you will see us ramp up efforts to educate voters about the positions of candidates of both parties who are committed to free enterprise and economic growth." Donohue added that it was "sad to watch the White House stoop to these depths."

Eye On ...

Massachusetts-4:

The Tea Party Express, the tea-party group that helped push Joe Miller and Christine O'Donnell to come-from-behind victories, are apparently targeting longtime Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank. According to Politico, it'll start airing radio ads against Frank and is asking supporters for money. Frank's seat is considered safe ... but that's what they said about Lisa Murkowski and Mike Castle, too, at one point. This year, you really never know. For what it's worth, Frank's opponent, Sean Bielat, released an internal poll in late September showing him within ten points of Frank.

West Virginia Senate:

Some Republican candidates, like Linda McMahon, have run into trouble for suggesting that we lower or repeal the minimum wage. But Republican businessman John Raese, who is giving Democratic governor Joe Manchin a run for his money in the race for Robert Byrd's former Senate seat in West Virginia, reiterated his support for abolishing the minimum wage today. "The minimum wage is something that FDR put in place a long time ago during the Depression," he told ABC News. "It didn't solve any problems then, and it hasn't solved any problems in 50 years."

Tennessee-8:

Another vulnerable Democratic congressional candidate has disavowed support for Nancy Pelosi. Nearly a week after Alabaman Bobby Bright became the first Democrat in Congress to say he wouldn't vote to reinstate Pelosi as speaker of the House next year, Roy Herron, who is running for an open seat in Tennessee previously held by a Democrat, says he wouldn't vote for Pelosi, either. “He would vote for a candidate that is more centrist, that represents the district, someone who closer shares the views and values of the district," a spokesman says.