Obama, Romney prep for debate No. 2. Ex-Sen. Specter dies. 22 days until Election Day.
Happy Monday. The presidential race tightens as the second debate nears, forcing politicos to wonder how this debate will alter the course of the competition. Will Mitt Romney find himself with a second favorable post-debate wave? Or will President Barack Obama control the conversation, both during and afterward? [WaPost]
Topping the news: While Romney has said that his faith would not dictate his job as president, Vanity Fair discusses how the LDS Church has tried to influence Mormon politicians in the past. [VanityFair]
-> Once a strength, now a weakness: women, a group Rep. Jim Matheson has handily won over in the past, are flocking to Republican challenger Mia Love. [Trib]
-> Romney spent much of his time as Massachusetts governor on the road or away from the state, The New York Times finds. Some of that time away was spent in Utah. [NYTimes]
Today's news: Outside groups have now spent north of $3.4 million in Utah to affect the Matheson-Love race. And more is coming. [Trib]
-> The Utah Legislature is launching a new website today; the goal was to take a complex site and make it easier to use. [UtahPolicy]
-> ABC4's Chris Vanocur talks with the Utah Policy folks about the campaign so far. [ABC4]
Happy birthday: To the Tribune's top editor, Nancy Conway.
Tweet of the day: From @freddoso: "They just awarded the Nobel prize in economics to 'the economy.'"
Opinion section: Pat Bagley offers his take on what scares the Taliban. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly discusses a GOP flier that misrepresents information published by The Salt Lake Tribune as part of a campaign against Democratic Rep. Carol Spackman Moss. [Trib]
-> George Pyle says that as members of a democracy without one superior religion, a language of civil society must be developed. [Trib]
-> Peg McEntee criticizes the "Gender Selection Abortion Prohibition" bill proposed by Sen. Margaret Dayton. [Trib]
-> Frank Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb weigh in on the rumored bias against Romney among pollsters and the news media. [DNews]
-> Stay-at-home dad Weston Clark appreciates his Mormon roots, but says that Latter-day Saint leader Dallin H. Oaks was a bully at a pulpit at the LDS General Conference in his criticism of same-gender marriages and their effect on raising children. [Trib]
-> Former Sen. Bob Bennett says the presidential candidates should be talking about fixing Medicare and Social Security. [DNews]
Weekend in review: Bennett and Sen. Orrin Hatch react to the death of former Sen. Arlen Specter. [Trib]
-> Peter Cooke, Gov. Gary Herbert's Democratic challenger, said he would restore the Office of Ethnic Affairs dissolved by Herbert earlier this year. [Trib]
-> KSL's Rich Piatt looks at the 1st Congressional District in his On The Record show. [KSL]
-> Sen. Orrin Hatch was in Nevada this weekend, campaigning for Sen. Dean Heller. [ReviewJournal]
-> Republican attorney general candidate John Swallow has raised more than 20 times that of his Democratic opponent, Dee Smith, a disparity that some say could later lead to conflicts of interest. [Trib]
-> Salt Lake County At-Large Councilman Jim Bradley, 66, hopes to defend his seat from 33-year-old Republican Joseph Demma amidst a Romney-induced GOP fever. [Trib]
-> After much delay, reversible "flex" lanes will soon open up on 5400 in Taylorsville. [Trib]
2012 watch: Biden's toothy performance became the epicenter of conservative criticism. [NYTimes]
-> Tagg Romney takes a leading role in running his father's campaign but says he isn't trying to take it over. [WaPost]
-> Stephen Colbert says Romney's debate performance two weeks ago put him on the "rocket ride to plausible." [LATimes]
-> A look inside Romney's stories prep school that always taught him to "aim high." [NPR]
-> A string of recent polls hand Obama the lead in Ohio. [Politico]
-> Former Ohio Sen. Rob Portman says Romney can win the presidency without winning his state, a feat no Republican has accomplished before. [ABCNews]
-> Romney hasn't been a big fan of his home state of Massachusetts but he may be coming around in the waning days of the general election. [Globe]
-> Check out the latest swing state map: [Politico].
-> Five myths about political polls: [WaPost].
Where are they?
-- Thomas Burr and Betsy Blanchard
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