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OBAMA AGENDA: Back on the campaign trail

"President Barack Obama is fighting his last campaign mostly at staid Democratic fund-raising events in hotel ballrooms and the private homes of donors, a far cry from the huge crowds who turned out in droves during his White House runs and helped elect him twice," writes Reuters.

That said, he stumps for Democrat Mary Burke in Milwaukee at 6:40 pm ET.

The Washington Post sums it up: "The Ebola quarantine controversy has become a chaotic brawl involving politics, science and the law. The rules on quarantining health-care workers returning from West Africa are changing almost daily and varying according to geography and political climate."

Chris Christie to NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell, yesterday, denying any White House pressure on Ebola policy: “I have a very good relationship with the White House and we work professionally together and I never felt any...I never even got contacted by them. So the New York Times story is completely false as to me.”

From the New York Times: "In a rare public accounting of its mass surveillance program, the United States Postal Service reported that it approved nearly 50,000 requests last year from law enforcement agencies and its own internal inspection unit to secretly monitor the mail of Americans for use in criminal and national security investigations."

The AP: "The Marines' handover of Camp Leatherneck to the Afghans is more than a signal that America's longest war is ending. It is a reminder that the Marines' battlefield gains were tempered by losses: 378 killed, nearly 5,000 wounded."

OFF TO THE RACES: Charlie Cook’s three questions

Charlie Cook writes in the National Journal that three questions will determine how the political winds are blowing on Election Night: "1. Can Democrats save one or even two of the six Senate seats in states that Romney won by 14 points or more? ... 2. Can Republicans hold on to Georgia, Kansas, and Kentucky? ... 3. Of the four Democratic-held seats up this year that could each easily tilt this situation in favor of either party, how will the chips fall?"

The Washington Post: "Republicans enter the final week of the midterm campaign holding higher ground than the Democrats, aided by public dissatisfaction with President Obama’s leadership, with the overall direction of the country and with the federal government’s ability to deal with major problems, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Driving attitudes is a pervasive sense of a country in trouble. Overwhelming majorities say the country is badly off-track and give the economy negative ratings. Economic expectations are little better today than they were at this time four years ago."

The New York Times, on Martin O'Malley: "[A]s Mr. O’Malley campaigns for Democrats in the midterm elections and positions himself as the party’s fresh alternative to the 67-year-old Mrs. Clinton, his middle age matters much less than his failure thus far to offer something new. Unlike Elizabeth Warren, he does not stand for the economic populism that rouses the party’s base. He lacks a ceiling-cracking selling point to boost his biographical appeal and is best known in political circles as a competent, statistics-quoting wonk who tends to underwhelm on the stump. Now, as the midterms come to a close, Mr. O’Malley will have to make clear whether he is willing to challenge Mrs. Clinton, the giant who blocks any viable path to the nomination. So far, he is reluctant to so much as nudge the woman he supported “all the way through” the 2008 Democratic primaries, publicly eschewing any criticism of her positions and privately pitching himself to donors as a Clintonian contingency plan."

The Wall Street Journal calls this "the policy-free campaign of 2014." MORE: "Instead, the key races this year—the ones that will determine who will control the United States Senate—have been about mood, personalities and anger. The main issue has been how close the Democrat in any key Senate race is or isn’t to President Barack Obama, whose unpopularity in a series of states with pivotal elections has become the single factor Republicans most want voters to remember on Election Day."

The plot thickens on Scott Walker vs. Chris Christie. Walker tells POLITICO: ““[Christie] is coming because he asked if he could come and we weren’t going to say no. But we’re not looking for surrogates. The people that have been campaigning with me are by and large from Wisconsin.”

Surrogate scorecard: Bobby Jindal is campaigning this week for Sam Brownback, Rick Scott and Mitch McConnell.

COLORADO: Bill Clinton’s pitch in Colorado: Republicans' only message is "just vote your fears and your anger."

FLORIDA: Via the Miami Herald: 'In Florida’s early vote wars, Rick Scott leading but Charlie Crist gaining"

GEORGIA: The New York Times delves into why David Perdue has struggled to overcome the "o" word -- outsourcing.

Nathan Deal is now accusing Jason Carter of wanting to run for president.

IOWA: The Des Moines Register runs a long Ernst profile, touching on her "calm strength" and the lessons she learned from the military.

KANSAS: The Washington Post: "Sam Brownback is hardly the only incumbent Republican governor struggling to hold his job in the waning days of Campaign 2014. But he holds one clear distinction over the others: He is at risk of becoming an object lesson in the limits of conservative governance in a conservative state."

KENTUCKY: Alison Lundergan Grimes' closing argument: 'Send a message' with vote to 'put partisanship aside.'

LOUISIANA: Mary Landrieu, at a Monday night debate (not attended by GOP challenger Bill Cassidy.) "[The president] is not what I set my thermometer to. I keep my eyes on the people of Louisiana. I'm not going to blame anyone but myself if I lose." Landrieu also wouldn't commit to supporting Harry Reid.

A USA Today/Suffolk poll shows the Louisiana Senate race looking headed to a runoff, with Cassidy having the momentum going into December.

MASSACHUSETTS: It was a tough debate last night for both gubernatorial candidates, writes the Boston Globe: "The debate began rockily for Baker, the first roughly six minutes largely keyed on allegations that he engaged in a pay-to-play deal with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as part of Baker’s work at a Cambridge-based venture capital firm ... Coakley, too, had to answer questions about her own record, these stemming from a Sunday Globe story that reported allegations she had taken it easy on [ convicted former House speaker Salvatore] DiMasi.

Also: Coakley and Baker both said they won't run for office again if they don't win next week.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: In his closing ad, Scott Brown warns that the nation is "at a crossroads."

John McCain called Jeanne Shaheen "not a serious member" of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

NORTH CAROLINA: One of us(!) offers three takeaways from a swing through North Carolina, a state that's going through some significant political growing pains.

Early voting is underway in North Carolina. The News and Observer: "More than twice as many voters cast ballots in the first four days of early voting compared to the first four days of the last midterm election in 2010. The total through Sunday was about 20,000 short of the 2010 early voting total after eight days, according to state Elections Board data."

SOUTH CAROLINA: Thanks for being you, South Carolina. The Post and Courier: "U.S. Senate candidate Thomas Ravenel announced on his Facebook page Sunday night that his relationship with the mother of his child "is over."

SOUTH DAKOTA: Democrat Rick Weiland, not happy with the DSCC yesterday: "My national party — that I'm a member of — (was) trying to drive votes to Larry Pressler and trying to drive up my negatives."

A Mason-Dixon poll finds Mike Rounds up nine points over Weiland, with Larry Pressler getting just 13 percent support.

WISCONSIN: Both Scott Walker and Mary Burke have now raised more than $10 million over the last three months.


*** Tuesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron talks to Politico Senior Washington Correspondent Anna Palmer, Democratic Strategist Robert Zimmerman, and Colorado pollster and political analyst Floyd Ciruli with one week to go until Election Day. Tamron also talks to Greg Lukianoff, president of Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, about the student petition for Berkeley to rescind the invitation to Bill Maher as commencement speaker, and in today’s “Born in the U$A” segment: Jennie Dundas, co-founder of Blue Marble Ice Cream.

*** Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Chuck Todd on his “Meet the Voters” tour in Georgia, Dr. Kenneth Davis of the Mount Sinai Health Systems, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism David Cohen, Bloomberg Deputy Managing Editor Jeanne Cummings, MSNBC political correspondent Kasie Hunt, and Canadian journalist Justin Ling on the Ottawa memorial.