• How the map has changed for Mitt Romney since the first debate

    Top Line

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is surging, making this a tighter race than it was before the debates. Romney's numbers are up not only nationally, but also in those critical battleground states: Florida, Colorado, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada,  New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia.

    Florida looks as good as ever for Romney; it will be tough for President Obama to repeat his 2008 win of the Sunshine State and its 29 electoral votes. If Florida goes red, Romney will be in a much stronger position with the rest of the battleground states. The Republican candidate is also picking up momentum in Colorado, even pulling ahead in a couple polls,  and North Carolina is leaning his way, too.

    Check out ABC's latest electoral college map HERE, or create your own electoral college results with our interactive fantasy map HERE.

    But Obama still has advantages in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nevada. The race is tightening in Nevada, but it would be difficult for Romney to pick

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  • Behind the scenes of the VP debate with moderator Martha Raddatz

    Political Punch

    State troopers escort moderators of vice presidential debates -- who knew? That was just one of the moments ABC's Martha Raddatz experienced as moderator of Thursday night's vice presidential debate.

    "I am nervous," said Raddatz, just hours before the debate. "Going through my mind right now is everything that I'm trying to cram into my mind, and that's not all that easy when you have about an hour and a half's worth of stuff and things are happening all the time."

    Psychologically some people work out before a big event, others rest all day, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney goes to the movies sometimes. Raddatz kept it simple -- she imported her family, and brought along a lucky charm -- a First Cavalry Division coin given to her by someone in Afghanistan.

    The best advice Raddatz received before the debate came from her mom.

    "Be yourself," she recalls her mom saying. "I have to be me and I'll do the best I can."

    Many colleagues were rooting for the first

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  • Politically Foul

    Politicians went pop culture this week, but many learned that sometimes it's best to leave Hollywood to the professionals.

    President Obama headed west for a star-studded gala where big names like Jon Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder, and Katy Perry -- who hands down bore the most colorful endorsement for the president -- served as his warm-up act.

    "They just perform flawlessly, night after night. I can't always say the same," said Obama, finally acknowledging what just about everyone else in America believes about his debate performance. But, doing it at a swanky Hollywood fundraiser? We call foul.

    Romney got his own star turn this week, when Buzz Bissinger, the author of "Friday Night Lights," took to the web to endorse him. But the GOP candidate went a step further, co-opting the pre-game chant from the hit Friday Night Lights TV show.

    "There's a saying that I've found pretty compelling: Clear eyes, full heart, can't lose," he has said at recent rallies in Iowa and Ohio.

    Read More »from Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose: 2012 candidates court Hollywood

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