By MICHAEL FALCONE and AMY WALTER
GROUND GAME ON. As candidates across the country begin their last frenzied week of campaigning, the parties and outside groups turning their attention to a robust get-out-the-vote operation, which will be absolutely key for embattled Democrats. Take the AFL-CIO, for example. The union group is blasting out 10 million mail pieces this week — focused on GOTV — bringing their mail total to 28.6 million pieces. Members will be getting a “slate card” with a list of union endorsements tailored by Congressional district as well as a personalized letter from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. And with just over a week to go before Election Day, Democrats are making that case that the tide may be shifting in their direction.
“Despite national momentum being on the Republican side for months, we are not seeing anything resembling a Republican surge,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said in a memo today. “In fact, to the contrary, in key Senate races, we are seeing encouraging signs for Democrats. Granted this analysis accounts for only one full week of early vote data, we believe our modeling shows that Democrats are engaged, enthused — and most importantly — voting. Should these trends continue, Democrats will have a strong election night on November 2nd.” Menendez’s memo cites the latest early voting numbers from around the country as evidence that the trend is favoring Democrats.
REALITY CHECK: Taking control of the Senate was always the tougher mountain to climb for the GOP this year. The House is a different story. Democrats are suggesting that “enthusiasm gap” is smaller than we’ve been led to believe, which, if true, may help save some Democrats who sit in traditionally Democratic districts, it’s not going to be much help for those Democrats who need to win over independents and even some Republicans (think Congressional district like Nevada-3, Arizona-5, and Colorado 3 and 4).
RHODE ISLAND BLUES. Tiny Rhode Island is the center of the universe today as both President Obama and GOP leaders descend on the state. Obama will travel will speak to workers at American Cord & Webbing in Woonsocket. This evening the president headlines a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reception at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence followed by a private DCCC dinner. As ABC’s Jake Tapper noted on “Good Morning America” this morning Obama’s stop in the Providence area will be his 23rd visit in a row to a blue county he won handily two years ago, with an average of 70 percent of the vote. http://bit.ly/auc01u
NOTED: President Obama has yet to endorse the Democratic candidate, Frank Caprio, in the competitive Rhode Island governor’s race, and he’s not happy about it. In fact in a radio interview with WPRO in Providence reacted to the news that Obama reportedly (http://bit.ly/dfAuuE) won’t be publicly getting behind him during his visit to the state today. Obama can "take his endorsement and shove it,” Caprio said this morning. He called Obama’s decision "Washington insider politics at its worst." The gubernatorial contest is a rare potential pick-up opportunity for Democrats. One reason Obama is staying out of it could be the fact that challenging Caprio is former GOP Sen. Lincoln Chafee. Chafee, who is running as an independent and is narrowly trailing Caprio, endorsed Obama in 2008. http://bit.ly/c6CcxV
Joining Obama in this dark blue state are Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown. Steele is taking his "fire Pelosi" bus tour to Warwick for a tonight. Brown is helping raise money for another GOP candidate trying to pick up a seat held by a Kennedy — in this case, Patrick Kennedy's Providence-based 1st Congressional district. Kennedy is retiring and the race to replace him has been competitive. The GOP released a poll late last week that showed a dead heat between Providence Mayor David Cicilline and GOP state Rep. John Loughlin. Democrats say their internal numbers still show Cicilline in the lead, but regardless of the posturing, it's a lot closer than anyone could have thought a few months ago. http://bit.ly/9JOlQl
(Correction: An earlier version of the Note misidentified the candidate that Democratic polling shows is leading Rhode Island's 1st district race. It is David Cicilline not John Loughlin.)
HOW WE GOT HERE. With a week to go, the consensus is that a wave is going to wipe out the Democratic majority. As Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., put it in an interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper, “the question is how many Democrats can find a way to the high ground.” The story of 2010 could be as much about how Democrats lost independents as how they lost to the Tea Party. The Congressional majority that Democrats won in 2006 was built on the backs of independents who gave Democrats almost 60 percent of the vote. This year, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, they are losing likely independent voters by 20 points. So, what happened?
Bailouts, AIG bonuses, stimulus, health care, cap and trade, taxes. All of the above. Bottom line, Obama and the Democrats inherited an anxious America. One that was willing to give the Democrats a shot at fixing things, but was terrified about the next shoes that could drop. And, in the end, what they saw from Congress was, well, more shoes. What they wanted was a vision for how this country was going to get back on track economically. And, despite talk from many top Democrats, including the president, that they just needed better messaging, it was the message itself that was the problem — not the fact that they didn’t sell it well enough.
Check out the latest political analysis from ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Amy Walter, Jon Karl and John Berman from “Good Morning America,” including everything you missed this weekend in 60 seconds. http://bit.ly/b8x2at
WILD CARD. High turnout among Hispanics in states like California, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Arizona, and Florida could make a major difference in key races, ABC’s Huma Khan reports today. “In a nationwide survey conducted by Pew Hispanic Center, two-thirds, or 65 percent, of Latino registered voters said they plan to support the Democratic candidate in their local congressional district, while just 22 percent said they would support the Republican candidate. … The hot-button issue of immigration — while not necessarily the top issue of concern among registered Hispanic voters – still has alienated Hispanics from Republicans. From New York to Colorado, GOP candidates have come out forcefully against illegal immigration and amnesty. ‘When there are commercials that show nefarious looking actors sneaking around a fence, it doesn't matter how acculturated you are. There is a little bit of a sting out of an ad like that,’ said Robert E. Lang, professor of sociology and director of Brookings Mountain West at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, referring to Nevada GOP candidate Sharron Angle's campaign ad. ‘Any time you say, ‘This is the other,' and you push the other away from the core, you alienate them in that process.’” http://bit.ly/buKQ2z
ALL OVER THE MAP. The map, it is a changin’. Four governor’s races that were once rated “Toss Up” we've moved to the “Lean Democrat” category. They are: California, Maryland, Minnesota and Connecticut. Meanwhile one gubernatorial contest that was “Toss Up” we now rate “Lean Republican” — Wisconsin. Check out ABC’s updated House, Senate and governor’s race maps right here: http://bit.ly/cRwPpH
NOTED: In California, Meg Whitman’s campaign pushed back on new poll numbers out on Sunday that showed her opponent Jerry Brown widening his lead in the state’s governor’s race. A University of Southern California/Los Angeles Times poll found Brown leading Whitman 52 percent to 39 percent among likely voters. Not so fast, Whitman’s camp said. “Just like their poll earlier this fall, today's Los Angeles Times poll, conducted by a Democrat polling firm, assumes a completely irrational turnout mix,” the GOP candidate’s campaign said in a statement. “Additionally, it's aged. That's fine for cheese and wine, but not polls.”
ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”: ABC’s Rick Klein welcomes Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the Tea Party Express, a group at the forefront of the movement that has been changing the GOP — and the entire political landscape — this year. Also on the program: Tova Wang, senior fellow at DEMOS, a public policy research and advocacy organization. Wang will talk about issues of voter fraud in advance of Election Day. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern. http://bit.ly/ABCTopLine
TELL ME ALL YOUR THOUGHTS ON GOD. Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell told the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody that "God is the reason" she is running and that she believes "prayer plays a direct role in this campaign.” In an interview with Brody she also alluded to a “double standard” in how the media has been treating her over the course of the campaign. Here’s an excerpt: “There’s certainly a double standard and I don’t often quote Gloria Steinem but she said you can look at a double standard if they wouldn’t attack the male opponent that way and there’s no doubt that they wouldn’t say the things they’re saying about me, they wouldn’t do the things that they’re doing if I weren’t a woman. I’m not whining but there certainly is a double standard especially when it comes to conservative woman.” http://bit.ly/9syiSG
BILL ON BACHMANN. At a campaign appearance for Democratic Congressional candidate Tarryl Clark in Minnesota on Sunday, former President Bill Clinton had a few choice words about Clark’s opponent, Rep. Michele Bachmann, CNN reports. “Every Republican leader from Theodore Roosevelt to Dwight Eisenhower would be voting for [Democrat Tarryl Clark] in this election," Clinton said. "Her opponent and that crowd in Washington make Richard Nixon look like a member of Students for a Democratic Society. They make Newt Gingrich and George Bush look like garden variety liberals." http://bit.ly/cUM8KO
THE NOTE IS HIRING AN INTERN. Calling on College Students! The ABC News Political Unit is now seeking full-time Winter 2011 interns in Washington, D.C. The paid internship begins in late December or early January and runs thru May of 2011. Political Unit interns attend political events and contribute to stories for the politics page of ABCNews.com. They also help ABC News by conducting research, maintaining our calendar of upcoming political events, and posting stories to ABCNews.com.
In order to apply, you MUST be either a graduate student or an undergraduate student who has completed his or her first year of college. The internship is NOT open to recent graduates. You also must be able to work eight hours per day, Monday through Friday. Interns will be paid $8.50/hour. If you write well, follow politics closely, and have some familiarity with web publishing, send a cover letter and resume to Zach Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org, by Monday, November 15, with the subject line: "INTERN" in all caps. Please indicate in both your cover letter and the body of your email your student status and the specific dates and hours of your availability.
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