With the first presidential debate just days away, Mitt Romney is taking aim at the deficit, an issue even more important than job creation to independent voters, according to a Wall Street Journal poll. He told voters at a rally in Ohio yesterday that despite his tax-cutting plans, they shouldn't "be expecting a huge cut in taxes because I'm also going to lower deductions and exemptions." Romney plans to cut all income tax rates by 20% and lower the corporate tax rate to to 25% from 35%, but his staffers describe the plan as a tax reform, not a tax cut, and argue that it will not significantly increase the deficit.
- President Obama, meanwhile, is pushing "economic patriotism" ahead of the debate, the AP reports. In a new ad airing in seven battleground states, the president outlines an economic plan he says will create a million new manufacturing jobs.
- Some conservative Mormons are doing their own debate preparation, according to an email obtained by BuzzFeed. The email—not officially sanctioned by the church—is circulating in at least four states and urges Mormons to fast and pray for Romney for 24 hours to ensure he will be blessed in the debates, which start Wednesday.
- In the debates, Romney needs to be assertive and "draw a sharp contrast between a Romney recovery and Obama stagnation," Newt Gingrich tells Politico. "If he is as assertive and direct with Obama as he was with me in the two Florida debates, he’ll be fine," Gingrich says. "He's got to go in there, not be hostile but be assertive, clear, and direct, and not back off."