President Obama now leads Mitt Romney 50 percent to 44 percent among registered voters in the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll out today. That's after a previous survey before last week's Democratic National Convention showed the two candidates tied at 48 percent.
ABC News Pollster Gary Langer notes: "For the first time Obama's numerically ahead of Romney in trust to handle the economy, the key issue of the 2012 contest, albeit by a scant 47-45 percent. Obama's seized a 15-point lead in trust to advance the interests of the middle class. And strong enthusiasm among his supporters is up by 8 points from its pre-convention level; Obama now leads Romney by 10 points in 'very' enthusiastic support." http://abcn.ws/P7xYfZ
BUT THE RACE IS STILL VERY TIGHT: Among likely voters - people who say they're both registered and certain to vote - the race squeezes shut at 49-48 percent, Obama-Romney, essentially unchanged since before the conventions (+2 Romney then, +1 Obama now, well within sampling error.) That means that Romney's supporters express greater intention to vote - a challenge for Obama's ground game, and a suggestion that the race could come down to turnout. http://abcn.ws/P7xYfZ
ON TAXES: Obama for the first time is running about evenly with Romney in trust to handle the deficit, and scoring 50-43 percent against him in trust to handle taxes - not a statistically significant margin given the sample size, but still a slight improvement, and Obama's best numerically this year. In general, it's a problem for Republicans when a Democrat is competitive on taxes and the deficit.
WHAT A NARROW LEAD MEANS IN 2012: A lot, according to ABC's Matthew Dowd, who contextualized the new numbers on "World News": "A four point lead, or a four or five point lead in this environment is as significant as a 10 to 12 point lead 15, 20 years ago," Dowd said. "Today, we only have about six percent of people that are truly swing and truly persuadable, so if you get a four or five or six point bounce, it means you're maximizing" what you can get. http://abcn.ws/RGXFSE
THE EMPATHY GAP: Obama's advantages include a persistent lead over Romney in empathy; registered voters by 50-40 percent think Obama better understands the economic problems people are having, and continue to rate him as more personally likeable, by a broad and steady 61-27 percent.
LOOK WHO'S WANTED FOR DINNER: From ABC's Gregory J. Krieg: As for suppertime, still more ugly numbers for Romney. Fifty-two percent of registered voters polled by ABC News said they'd rather have Obama visit their homes for dinner. Just 33 percent said they'd prefer Romney at the table. http://abcn.ws/QaEJzF
ABC's AMY WALTER: Much of President Obama's post-convention bounce can be attributed to Democrats "coming home" - a sure sign that the convention was successful in rallying the base. The real test, however, is whether Obama has moved ahead in the battleground states where the partisans have been engaged for weeks and months. To move ahead there, he has to do more than just turn out his base. He needs to move those still undecided independents and other swing voters who are unhappy with his performance on the economy but not convinced that Romney can do better.
ABC's RICK KLEIN: It's the time for hand-wringing over what Mitt Romney is doing wrong. But what about what he must be doing right? The new ABC News-Washington Post poll shows, again, that President Obama is the more likeable candidate, plus the one viewed as a better dinner guest, a more loyal friend, and the preferred caretaker if a voter became ill. Obama even has edges on handling the economy, terrorism, Medicare, and is running roughly evenly on the deficit. So why isn't this a blowout? Romney didn't get a convention bump, but neither has he been bounced out of the water. This is an electorate that is far from sold on the guy it clearly likes more.
with ABC's Chris Good ( @c_good)
TAPPER'S Q'S FOR OBAMA'S WH: NETANYAHU VS. U.S. AMBASSADOR. After reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued with U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro over Iran, ABC's Jake Tapper asks … TAPPER: "First of all, can you confirm - or what can you tell us about the meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Ambassador [Shapiro]? And second of all, just what do you make of skepticism that the U.S. would act if Iran crossed a line, because nobody knows what the line is?" WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: "The line is the president is committed to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and he will use every tool in the arsenal of American power to achieve that goal. And he is -" TAPPER: "So it's construction of a weapon?" CARNEY: "Look, it is not fruitful as part of this process to engage in that kind of specificity. What we know as a - and I have said an many others have said is that we have eyes into the program, we are aware of developments, and we would know if there were a so- called breakout move by Iran to - toward the building of a nuclear weapon. And that has not happened." http://abcn.ws/ObDqfs
GOD AND MITT AT THE START OF THE FALL CAMPAIGN. In a new twist, Mitt Romney has been talking God on the campaign trail, ABC's Michael Falcone reports: At a campaign rally in Mansfield, Ohio on Monday Romney pledged that, if elected, "I will not take God out of my heart, I will not take God out of the public square and I will not take it out of the platform of my party. His promise in Ohio on Monday echoed his remarks in Virginia on Saturday when Romney led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. "That pledge says 'under God,' and I will not take God out of our platform," Romney told a Virginia Beach crowd. "I will not take God off our coins, and I will not take God out of my heart." This relatively new line in Romney's stump speech is partly a reaction to the Democratic Party's platform debacle at their convention in Charlotte, N.C. last week. Democrats initially removed the phrase "God-given" from the platform, but at President Obama's urging, the language was later added back - and approved. http://abcn.ws/ NXvi8a
NOTED: Republican strategist and former communications director to Rick Santorum, Hogan Gidley, said Romney was smart to include the religious reference for two reasons: "So that voters realize he's focused on the economy - and not going to waste his time trying to take God out of our lives and so that the vast majority of people who believe in that God know that he's talking to them."Another GOP strategist noted that the new lines "allow Romney to make the sale with evangelicals - who, despite what they say, are still unsure about electing a Mormon to office."
AIG BAILOUT COULD TURN A PROFIT. After all the political turmoil caused by the government's fraught bailout of AIG, the Associated Press reports: "The U.S. government said Monday it will show a profit of more than $12 billion from its $182 billion bailout of AIG after selling a big chunk of its shares in the insurer. The Treasury Department announced the sale of almost 554 million American International Group Inc. shares at $32.50 apiece, netting the government about $18 billion." http://yhoo.it/P7LujE
HHS: 'OBAMACARE' SAVED $2.1 BILLION IN PREMIUMS. The Department of Health and Human Services released a new study on insurance rate reviews and requirements for how much insurers spend on medical claims. From HHS's news release: "The health care law - the Affordable Care Act - has saved consumers an estimated $2.1 billion on health insurance premiums according to a new report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services. For the first time ever, new rate review rules in the health care law prevent insurance companies in all states from raising rates with no accountability or transparency. To date, rate review has helped save an estimated $1 billion for Americans. Additionally, the law's Medical Loss Ratio (or 80/20) rule is helping deliver rebates worth $1.1 billion to nearly 13 million consumers." http://1.usa.gov/TNcyaT
CHICAGO TEACHERS' STRIKE IS BIGGEST IN A GENERATION. ABC's Alex Perez reports for "World News" from the Windy City: It's the largest teachers' strike this country has seen in more than two decades - 29,000 union members strong, refusing to go to work until they get what they want. The showdown pits the powerful union against Chicago's mayor, President Obama's former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. … Chicago teachers are fighting for better pay and benefits, but the sticking point is a new plan to base teacher evaluations in part on how well their students score on standardized tests. The unions argue that would put teachers at a disadvantage and possibly cost them their jobs. These contract talks are being closely watched around the country, battles over testing playing out in school districts in at least 23 states. http://abcn.ws/QBW3wU
ROMNEY TO OBAMA: STAND UP FOR KIDS. Mitt Romney called on President Obama to side with students, ABC's Emily Friedman reports from Lake Forest, Ill., a Chicago suburb where Romney was fundraising on Monday: "Well, I think the president ought to stand up and say we that we ought to put the kids first in this country and the teacher's union goes behind," Romney said during a radio interview with conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt. "Look I think we've gotta help the kids, help their parents, help the teachers, but the teacher's union is opposed to many of the reforms in education that we know are critical to the success of our kids." http://abcn.ws/RBX1eS
RYAN: 'WE STAND WITH MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL.' Paul Ryan crossed party lines and praised President Obama's former chief of staff as his administration negotiates with the teachers, ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports from Portland: "If you turned on the TV this morning or sometime today, you probably saw something about the Chicago teacher's union strike," Ryan said at fundraiser at the Governor Hotel here. "I've known Rahm Emanuel for years. He's a former colleague of mine. Rahm and I have not agreed on every issue or on a lot of issues, but Mayor Emanuel is right today in saying that this teacher's union strike is unnecessary and wrong. We know that Rahm is not going to support our campaign, but on this issue and this day we stand with Mayor Rahm Emanuel." http://abcn.ws/TN5B9P
HIGH RISK, CRITICAL MOMENT FOR UNIONS. The consequences of failure could be dire for teachers' unions nationwide, writes New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse: If the famously feisty Mr. Emanuel wins this confrontation, he could set the table for a major setback for teachers' unions nationwide and a potential rethinking of teachers' enthusiasm for Democrats in this year's elections. Advocates of sweeping education changes like Michelle Rhee, the former head of the school system in Washington, will be able to declare that if Chicago's mighty union was willing to accept such changes, so should teachers' union locals across the nation. http://nyti.ms/RPw8CX
REVISITING RYAN'S 'NO' ON 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS BILL. From ABC's John Parkinson: Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican nominee for vice president, voted July 29, 2010 against the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act when the measure first came up for a vote in the House of Representatives … Now, almost two years later, congressional Democrats are citing Ryan's opposition to the bill as "another example of Ryan's extreme ideology." "This bipartisan law is crucial to the families and victims of 9/11 and will be a painful thorn in the Romney campaign's side as our nation comes together again on the 11th anniversary of the attacks," one senior Democratic aide told ABC News. http://abcn.ws/S71MrD
AD WARS: OBAMA CARPET-BOMBS ROMNEY DURING CONVENTIONS. Bloomberg's Ellen Uchimiya reports: "Our friends at Kantar Media's CMAG have the numbers: during the Republican convention, the Obama campaign ran 14,007 ads at an estimated cost of $8,147,940. Republicans spent far less during the Democratic convention - running a mere 131 ads (mostly Spanish-language) that cost $165,640. The Obama campaign also spent big for their week in the sun (if figuratively, as it poured in Charlotte): they dropped $4,247,490 on 10,684 TV ads, while Team Romney spent $1,131,730 on the 578 ads they aired during their convention." bit.ly/TJCu7c
JACKSON, JR. BACK IN DC, BUT NOT IN CONGRESS. The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe reports: "Aides on Monday said they did not know when Jackson plans to report back to work, but confirmed again that he is back in the District after spending about a month at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota being treated for depression. His wife, Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson, told a Chicago television station in a text message Monday that 'He's hanging in there. Gonna be home under his doctor's care until further notice. Won't be back to work until the doctors give the green light.'" http://wapo.st/QCPexm
WHAT LEADERSHIP GAP? After Bob Woodward told ABC's DIane Sawyer in an exclusive interview that "gaps" in President Obama's leadership led to the collapse of the "grand bargain" on the debt limit last year, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney sought to downplay that notion. ABC's Matthew Larotonda reports: "There is no question that the President during those negotiations had to be the responsible party and ensure that however they ended, they prevented default," he said. http://abcn.ws/QIoAgX
THE MINAJ BOUNCE? NICKI DIDN'T ENDORSE MITT AFTER ALL. Rest easy, Obama-supporting rap fans: Nicki Minaj did not seriously endorse Mitt Romney in a verse interpreted that way by some. ABC's Matthew Larotonda reports: Rapper Nicki Minaj has broken her silence on her apparent endorsement of Mitt Romney via her Twitter account. And apparently, President Obama's suggestion she was playing a "character" was not too far off. She writes: "@nickiminaj Ha! Thank you for understanding my creative humor & sarcasm Mr. President, the smart ones always do… *sends love & support* @barackobama" http://abcn.ws/UGLfhY
PAUL RYAN: THEY DON'T MAKE ASPARAGUS DOUGHNUTS. ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports from Seattle on Paul Ryan's minor campaign-trail indulgence: Paul Ryan is a fitness buff who's a fan of the rigorous P90X work out regime and he tries to eat healthy even on the campaign trail, but on his plane today he indulged in a rare treat: a doughnut. … "This is the healthiest one I could find. It's got blueberries or at least it looks like it does," Ryan said. The GOP vice presidential candidate said he doesn't "hate sweets," he just doesn't "love them." … "I like asparagus. They don't make asparagus donuts though. Apple fritters though. I've had an apple fritter." http://abcn.ws/TN4KWH
RUNNING FROM OBAMA ON TV. Two Democrats are attacking President Obama in TV ads, ABC's Matthew Larotonda reports: Take Charlie Wilson, a former Ohio congressman who lost his reelection bid in 2010 to Republican Rep. Bill Johnson. Facing his old foe again this November, Wilson has debuted a new ad that strikes as much at his own party as at his opponent's. … Also on the ballot: West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, whose first ads are out today and squarely distance him from Democrats in Washington. In one 30 second ad, the narrator says Tomblin's "conservative financial management" has balanced West Virginia's budget, "while the federal government can't stop spending." Another attacks Obama's energy policy. http://abcn.ws/QaHqkA
PANETTA: BIN LADEN BOOK GIVES AWAY TOO MUCH. The Associated Press reports on a CBS interview of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta: "Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is assailing publication of a book about the raid that killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, saying the account by a former Navy SEAL could jeopardize future U.S. operations. … 'Well, I think when somebody talks about the particulars of how those operations are conducted, it tells our enemies, essentially, how we operate and what we do to go after them.'" http://abcn.ws/RPwFF8
BETTER OFF NOW? GALLUP SAYS SO. "Over half of Americans in an August USA Today/Gallup poll said they and their family were not better off now than they were "four years ago," Gallup Editor in Chief Frank Newport writes, while pointing out that key economic indicators look better now than they did when President Obama took office. Economic Confidence Index, responses on standard of living and the way things are going in the U.S., and Gallup's Job Creation Index are all in much better shape than they were in January 2009, Newport points out. http://bit.ly/P9DPlg
ROMNEY ADVISER: FOREIGN-POLICY ATTACKS JUST A 'SHINY OBJECT.' Democrats rolled out a series of foreign-policy and defense attacks on Mitt Romney at their convention in Charlotte, but BuzzFeed's Michael Hastings, McKay Coppins, and Zeke Miller talk to one Romney aide who isn't too worried: "The Romney campaign, however, doesn't think national security is a winning issue for Obama. Romney foreign policy advisor Robert O'Brien called the Obama campaign's tactic a transparent ploy to distract from the sagging economy, including a recent jobs report that was 'a disaster for them.' 'It doesn't surprise me that they're raising foreign policy because it's another distraction from the Administration's terrible economic record,' O'Brien told BuzzFeed. 'They're going from one shiny object to the next.'" http://bit.ly/UGUsHb
@markknoller : Vivid memory of WH Chief of Staff whispering into Pres Bush's ear: "A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack".
-President Obama will attend the 9/11 Observance ceremony at The Pentagon Memorial and visit Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
-Vice President Joe Biden will attend the Flight 93 National Memorial commemorative service in Pennsylvania.
-Mitt Romney delivers a speech to the National Guard Association convention in Reno, Nev.
-Paul Ryan spends the day in Wisconsin.
Check out The Note's Futures Calendar : http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV