Off to the races: Clinton vs. Cruz

Hillary Clinton at the 10th anniversary of the Center for American Progress said: “We are careening from crisis to crisis instead of having a plan bringing people to that plan, focusing on common sense solutions and being relentless in driving toward them.” More: On the government shutdown, “Clinton derided the consequences when lawmakers use ‘scorched earth’ tactics and operate in an ‘evidence-free zone,’” The Hill writes.

Speaking of those who helped shutdown the government… in a phone interview with the Des Moines Register ahead of his appearance in Iowa Friday, Ted Cruz “isn’t saying whether he’d be willing to take the government into a shutdown again as leverage for a Republican cause.” Said Cruz: “There will be time enough to talk about specific strategies and tactics. What I think is critical is that we keep front and center the need to stop Obamacare, because it isn’t working and it’s hurting millions of people.”

And: “What I am endeavoring to do across the country is mobilize and energize the American people, the grass roots, to turn this country around — to get back free-market principles and constitutional principles.”

At the same event at CAP, by the way, Al Gore railed against the Keystone Pipeline, calling it an “atrocity”: “This should be vetoed. It is an atrocity. It is a threat to our future.”

USA Today: A North Carolina Republican party precinct captain resigned after a Daily Show interview in which he bragged “that the state's Voter ID regulations would ‘kick the Democrats in the butt,’ and after making reference to ‘lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything.’”

Showing what a star Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has become in New York state, this anecdote from a woman, an apple farmer, from Upstate New York, who attended an event with Gillibrand (a hamburger contest) to National Journal: "My husband told me I could come to this event only because it was Gillibrand. If it had been [Chuck] Schumer, he said he would have to divorce me." Writes Ben Terris: “A lesser talent might be torn between her two selves: the rural centrist from the closest thing that New York has to ‘real America’; and the Wall Street-financed, corporate lawyer who's appeared in fashion shoots for Vogue magazine. But after a rocky start in a political career that has lasted less than a decade, she has a found a way to turn the dichotomies to her advantage. Kirsten Gillibrand is determined to have it all—and, along the way, perhaps give Democrats their next bright, young national star.”

PENNSYLVANIA: There is speculation that Joe Paterno’s son, Jay – an assistant coach at Penn State – is considering a run for congress in PA-5 against Glenn G.T. Thompson. In 2012, Thompson won with 62% of the vote.

VIRGINIA:Jessica Taylor: “Trailing in polls for weeks, Republican Ken Cuccinelli pinned his waning hopes in the Virginia governor's race to Obamacare's woes, warning of the "big government" he claimed will envelop the state should the GOP lose control of the statehouse. But a last-ditch effort in the final debate of the campaign may not be enough to overcome his steady deficit to the Democratic nominee, Terry McAuliffe. The GOP attorney general opened and closed the hour-long exchange at Virginia Tech with shots at the glitches the health care website has been plagued by, and maintained that McAuliffe's support for the plan and additional Medicaid expansion would be devastating for the state.”

James Hohmann: “Ken Cuccinelli might have been expected to throw the kitchen sink at Terry McAuliffe in the final debate of a governor’s race the Republican attorney general is on track to lose. It was more like a Nerf football.”

First Read: Terry McAuliffe (D) has been outspending Ken Cuccinelli 3-to-1 in the last three weeks, maintaining a $1 million a week pace while Cuccinelli’s spending has been declining.