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First thoughts: Fundraiser-in-chief

Obama heads to New Jersey and New York to talk about the economy then raise money… Once again, folks are asking: Is Obama too exposed? (The answer is yes, but in today's media environment, he probably has to be.)… DNC to blast what they say is the GOP/Tea Party Contract with America… It's going to be Fallin vs. Askins in Oklahoma's gubernatorial race… Profiling ID-1… And Rob Simmons says unequivocally that he's back in the Connecticut Senate race.

From Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg
*** The fundraiser-in-chief: After recently sharpening his campaign message against Republicans (he refers to them almost daily now as the "partisan minority") -- as well as acknowledging yesterday that we're less than 100 days until Election Day -- President Obama attends a pair of fundraisers this afternoon and tonight in New York City. Democrats are hoping their DNC/DSCC/DCCC money hauls are enough to protect their majorities in the House and Senate. Yet before donning his fundraising cap, Obama will talk about the economy in Edison, NJ, where he 1) will meet with small business owners to discuss the importance of Congress passing legislation to help small businesses, and 2) will make a statement to the press (at 2:20 pm ET). This will become a familiar pattern for the president's travel where campaigning and fundraising will trump official speeches.

*** Overexposed, again? Also today, Obama tapes his appearance on "The View." That appearance -- plus even his new video on Web MD explaining the health-care law and how to use HealthCare.Gov -- has once furthered a narrative that the president is overexposed. (If you'll recall, we had this same discussion last year after Obama went on Leno, etc.) There is a potential danger here, and it does highlight the fact that there really isn't another key spokesman in the administration to talk about the economy or health care. But as the White House reminds us, the media world is now so diffuse (TV, newspaper, Web, cable Twitter, Facebook) that Obama has to do more than his predecessors ever did. That's the reality. So while folks INSIDE THE BELTWAY believe he's over-exposed, and those folks that watch a lot of cable TV might believe he's overexposed, ask the working parent of two if they think the same thing. One other related point: The White House also recognizes that even while it's losing rhetorical arguments about the economy or health care, it can't give up talking about them. If it does give up, then it will not only lose the short-term battle but also the long-term war.

*** The GOP/Tea Party Contract: At 11:00 am ET, DNC Chair Tim Kaine, DNC Vice Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and other Democratic members will hold a press conference to introduce what they will say is the "Republican-Tea Party Contract With America." These Democratic leaders, DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan tells First Read, "will present the American people a handy 10-point blueprint for how the Republican-Tea Party would govern, based on actual positions taken and held by Republican-Tea Party members." The blueprint includes: repealing the health-care law, privatizing Social Security or phasing it out altogether, extending the Bush tax cuts for the well-off, repealing financial reform, and abolishing the Education and Energy Departments.

*** Today's deficit/debt meeting: President Obama's 18-member bipartisan deficit/debt commission meets at 9:30 am ET on Capitol Hill. Per a release, the commission "will hear from two witnesses -- Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and Barry Anderson, who recently served as head of the Budgeting and Public Expenditures Division of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)."

*** Last night's Oklahoma results: As expected, Rep. Mary Fallin (R) cruised to victory in last night's GOP gubernatorial primary to succeed term-limited Gov. Brad Henry (D). But there was an upset on the Democratic side, with Lt. Gov. Jari Askins edging Attorney General Drew Edmondson by fewer than 2,000 votes. Fallin vs. Askins ensures that the next governor of Oklahoma will be a woman -- the first time that's happened in the state's history. Fallin goes into November as the front-runner.

*** 75 House races to watch: ID-1: The Democratic nominee is one-term incumbent Walter Minnick. The GOP nominee is state Rep. Raul Labrador. McCain won 62% in this district in '08, and Bush won 69% here in 2004. Minnick voted no on the stimulus, no on cap-and-trade, and no on health care. Both Cook and Rothenberg rate the district as Lean Democrat. Just this week, Minnick became the second Democrat to call on Charlie Rangel to resign.

*** More midterm news: In Connecticut, Republican Rob Simmons -- after suspending his Senate campaign but then airing TV ads to announce that he's still on the ballot -- declared at forum last night: "I am running for the United States Senate"… In Wisconsin, "Republican Senate candidate Ron Johnson said … he hasn't decided whether to sell his BP stock, two weeks after he told reporters he would get rid of it."
Countdown to KS and MO primaries: 6 days
Countdown to CO and CT primaries: 13 days
Countdown to Election Day 2010: 97 days

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