Sliding Scale:

The latest Gallup poll shows Mitt Romney up two percentage points over Barack Obama among likely voters, 49 percent to 47 percent. When factoring in registered voters, however, Obama leads Romney by three percentage points, 49 to 46. (Read more)

Major Repercussions: How much did the debate matter? It mattered enough, we now know, to sway the polls in Romney’s direction. But The Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan takes that one step further and wonders whether Obama’s poor performance could end up costing him the election. He writes: “Before Obama had leads on every policy issue and personal characteristic; now Romney leads in almost all of them. Obama’s performance gave Romney a 12 point swing! I repeat: a 12 point swing.” (Read more)

What Went Wrong: Here’s another potential reason Obama performed poorly in last week’s presidential debate: He failed to prepare properly and didn’t listen to his advisers, a Democrat close to the Obama campaign revealed. What’s more, the source continued, Obama thought he won as he walked off the Denver stage. “President Obama made it clear he wanted to be doing anything else — anything — but debate prep,” the Democrat said. He also made it perfectly clear during the debate that he wanted to be doing anything else other than debating. (Read more)

Mitt’s Smokin’: Bain Capital raked in millions of dollars off of Big Tobacco in the United States and Russia while Mitt Romney was CEO, a new reports says. According to The Huffington Post investigation, “the consulting firm helped Philip Morris increase its revenues in the U.S., and aided two other tobacco titans as they vied to move forcefully into the Russian market.” That’s a far cry from the “wholesome salesman to the middle class” image Romney has tried to paint for himself. (Read more)

We’re Done Here: GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan walked out of an interview with a local television station in Michigan after the reporter asked him a “strange” question. The “strange” question, by the way, appears to be the following: “And you can do all that by cutting taxes? With a big tax cut?” Ryan accused the reporter of putting words in his mouth. (Read more)

Vote for Romney … Or Else? Billionaire CEO David Siegel, possibly the poster boy for corporate greed, wants his employees to know that there will be trouble for them if Obama is re-elected. Siegel acknowledges that his company, Westgate Resorts, is thriving (“we’re the most profitable we’ve ever been,” he said), but still sent out a threatening email to his workers nevertheless. In it, Siegel writes: “What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration. Of course, as your employer, I can’t tell you whom to vote for, and I certainly wouldn’t interfere with your right to vote for whomever you choose.” Except he goes on to say that if Obama wins the election, he “will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company.” So what he’s really telling his workers (with a not-so-subtle wink) is if they want to keep their jobs, they should make sure Romney gets elected (i.e., vote for Romney). (Read more)

Extreme Measures: A Republican candidate for the Arkansas legislature believes the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for children who disrespect their parents. Yes, that’s about as insane and crazy as it comes, but in Charlie Fuqua’s 2012 book “God’s Law: The Only Political Solution,” he did in fact write that: “The maintenance of civil order in society rests on the foundation of family discipline. Therefore, a child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society in a way that gives an example to all other children of the importance of respect for parents. The death penalty for rebellious children is not something to be taken lightly. The guidelines for administering the death penalty to rebellious children are given in Deut 21:18-21.” Fuqua claims to be “pro-life,” though it’s unclear whether he understands what exactly that means. (Read more)

Video of the Day: It was only a matter of time before Big Bird was featured in political campaign ad. The entry, a tongue-in-cheek assault against the popular “Sesame Street” character, comes to us courtesy of President Obama’s campaign.

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