Rich Galen

Third, it is unclear to me how much of the improvement in Obama's numbers are due to Obama; and how much is due to Bill Clinton.

A question that the Obama campaign must be wrestling with in Chicago is: At what point does Bill Clinton become a liability for Obama if it begins to look like he's propping the President up?

I'm not smart enough to know the answer to that question; but I am smart enough to know they'd better be asking it.

What's going on in the 12-or-so battleground states? In the four that have recent polls (state polling is not nearly as frequent as national polling) - Colorado, Michigan, Ohio and Florida - Obama has slightly increased his leads, but only by an average of 1.1 percentage points.

The strategy of the campaign has not changed since May: Romney wants this to be a referendum on Obama's performance in office. Hence the "Are you better off …?" formulation.

Obama wants - needs - to show that Romney cannot be trusted to do what's best for middle-class Americans. That's why the ads about Romney's tax plan (bad for middle-class taxpayers) and Paul Ryan's Medicare proposals (bad for seniors).

Nothing has changed. Which ever side wins their argument will win the election.

Now, we can begin obsessing over the debates that start in Denver on October 3.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Reuters poll and to the Commission on Presidential Debates webpage with the complete schedule.

Also, an interesting Mullfoto from the Green Room at MSNBC on Friday morning.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at