As Republicans eye the keys to both houses, Democrats are taking the gloves off: Candidates around the country are opening an earlier-than-ever round of attack ads assailing opponents as anything from a "dishonest used-car salesman" to a "predatory real estate speculator." Starting with five weeks to go could backfire, some worry, but many feel their backs are up against the wall and there's no choice but to go all-out, reports the New York Times.
The Republicans, meanwhile, aren't getting down and dirty just yet, but a familiar henchman waits in the wings: In a separate story, the Times reports that GOP strategist Karl Rove is quietly back, building what the paper calls a "shadow Republican Party" with GOP heavies like Mary Cheney. In a cycle in which Michael Steele has effectively neutered the RNC, Rove's group will be vital—and will likely wage a post-election war against the Tea Party for what one strategist calls "the heart and soul of the Republican Party."
For more on the Dems, click here; for the Rove story, click here.