22 Days to Go – In the final stretch, President Obama and Mitt Romney are running dead even in the polls. Obama is up 49-48 nationally in a new Battleground Poll conducted with George Washington University, but Romney leads 50-48 in the 10 battleground states. What Romney camp is excited about: 51% now view Romney favorably, while last month only 49% viewed him favorably as a person.
Town Hall Awaits – The format for Tuesday night's presidential debate is expected to be a challenge for both Obama and Romney, as neither has sparkled in town hall meetings in the past. The debate will be held in Hempstead, New York, and moderated by CNN's Candy Crowley, but the format will force them to interact with voters, as opposed to engage in heated exchanges with one another. Both have held dozens of town halls with voters, butneither has sparkled in that setting in the past.
How the Questions Will Be Chosen – 80 to 84 voters will join the town-hall debate on Long Island, which will begin at 9:30 p.m. The Commission is using Gallup to pick the audience: All will be uncommitted, registered voters from Nassau County who say they plan to vote in the election. The sample includes a variety of incomes, races, and political persuasions, and was selected from a random sample using landlines and cell phones. People who want to ask a question will submit questions to moderator Candy Crowley, who will screen the questions to eliminate duplication and include a balance of both domestic and foreign policy questions. Somewhere between 12 to 16 people are expected to ask questions.
Candy Crowley Under Scrutiny – (via TIME) "In a rare example of political unity, both the Romney and Obama campaigns have expressed concern to the Commission on Presidential Debates about how the moderator of this Tuesday’s town hall has publicly described her role. While an early-October memorandum of understanding between the Obama and Romney campaigns suggests that CNN’s Candy Crowley would play a limited role in the Tuesday-night session, Crowley, who is not a party to that agreement, has done a series of interviews on her network in which she has suggested that she will assume a broader set of responsibilities. As Crowley put it last week, “Once the table is kind of set by the town-hall questioner, there is then time for me to say, ‘Hey, wait a second, what about X, Y, Z?’” In the view of the two campaigns and the commission, those and other recent comments by Crowley conflict with the language the campaigns agreed to, which delineates a more limited role for the debate moderator."
How Obama is Preparing – After his timid performance in Denver, Obama is planning to be more aggressive and energetic in this debate. He is expected to raise questions about Romney's work at Bain Capital. Campaign adviser Robert Gibbs told "State of the Union" on Monday, "Obviously, the president was disappointed in his own performance. He didn't meet his expectations. I think you'll see somebody who's very passionate about the choice that our country faces - and putting that choice in front of voters." Romney campaign adviser Ed Gillespie's response: "Well, the president can change his style. He can change his tactics. He can't change his record. And he can't change his policies." Political strategist Anita Dunn has been playing Candy Crowley in Obama's debate preparation.
How Romney is Preparing – (via Politico) "In the days leading up to Mitt Romney’s Denver debate triumph, the team helping him prepare reached a breakthrough with one critical insight: The candidate did best when he felt free to talk like a businessman, pitching voters as though he were pitching investors. Stop trying to edit your answers for political effect—a habit Romney had internalized, of necessity, in the long fight for the GOP nomination—his advisers urged him. Trust language that comes naturally to you. … Practice sessions for the second round, according to Republicans familiar with the preparations, have been focused almost entirely on the stagecraft and body language of engaging with the questioners. Romney has been warned not to physically back away from a questioner, but to lean in as if having a one-on-one conversation that just happens to have 50 million or so eavesdroppers."
And the Nobel Prize in Economics Goes To... (via Bloomberg) "Alvin E. Roth and Lloyd S. Shapley shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for their work on matching supply and demand for everything from single men and women to organ donors and their recipients. “The combination of Shapley’s basic theory and Roth’s empirical investigations, experiments and practical design has generated a flourishing field of research and improved the performance of many markets,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which selects the winner, said in a statement in Stockholm today. “This year’s prize is awarded for an outstanding example of economic engineering.” Shapley, 89, used cooperative game theory to study and compare different matching methods. Roth, 60, built on his work, using experimental economics and market design to solve real-world problems, including matching 20,000 doctors annually with U.S. hospitals during their first year of employment and 90,000 teens with New York City high schools."
ICYMI – Watch Felix Baumgartner's stunning, record-breaking skydive from outer spacehere.
Top PolicyMic Stories – How the TSA and Police Drag the Fourth Amendment Through the Mud (Zach Fulkerson) – Although the right to privacy has long been dwindling, the invasive TSA procedures have all but repealed the Fourth Amendment.
How Affirmative Action Has Failed Minorities (Joshua Michaels) – If universities want to foster diversity, affirmative action needs to go.
Obama vs. Romney Is Like Choosing Between Coke and Pepsi (Karl Lindemann) –Things show little sign of changing regardless of who enters the White House next January.
What We’re Reading – Election's simple test: Who can ignite growth? (Charles Schwab, in Forbes); Felix's jump, reenacted in LEGOs (YouTube); Assad's house of torture (Congrats to Pundit Anna Day, published in The Daily Beast!); The hunt for Geronimo (Vanity Fair); Where did baby carrots come from? (Fast Company); 21 authors try their hand at 140-character novels (The Guardian).