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ALMOST THERE — 10 days left until Election Day. … 19,423,886 early votes cast as of 8:48 a.m., per the United States Elections Project.

POLITICAL VIOLENCE — In the day since PAUL PELOSI was brutally attacked, we’ve started to get a clearer picture of how the assault took place, the alleged perpetrator and the broader ramifications for elected officials’ security and politics.

Speaker NANCY PELOSI’s husband managed to call 911 by going to the bathroom, where his phone was charging, Sarah Ferris, Nick Wu and Kelly Hooper report. Though he couldn’t explicitly tell the dispatcher what was happening, HEATHER GRIVES managed to deduce that it was an emergency situation, police said. Officers got to the house so quickly that they saw the assault ongoing, per the NYT.

Paul Pelosi underwent successful surgery on his skull (not his brain, as was initially reported) and arm/hands, the speaker’s office said.

San Francisco police said late Friday that the attack was “intentional”; they haven’t yet publicly delved into the assailant’s motive. But news outlets were quick to rifle through accused attacker DAVID DePAPE’s personal history, which told a now-familiar story of struggle and online radicalization.

DePape’s online postings included a range of false conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, Jan. 6, coronavirus vaccines, the war in Ukraine and QAnon. A Canada native who’s been estranged from his family, DePape was once a Green Party-registered public nudity activist in San Francisco whose posts suggest a drift to the far-right over time, the SF Chronicle reports. He railed about pedophilia, elites and anti-whiteness. His blog contained bigotry against a wide range of groups and topics like “Holohoax.” WordPress removed one of his sites Friday.

President JOE BIDEN blamed Republicans for the toxic political environment in an “impassioned” speech Friday, Kelly Garrity reports: “What makes us think one party can talk about stolen elections, Covid being a hoax, [that it’s] all a bunch of lies, and it not affect people who may not be so well balanced? What makes us think that it’s not going to alter the political climate?” WaPo’s Ashley Parker, Hannah Allam and Marianna Sotomayor report this morning on the many years of Republicans vilifying Nancy Pelosi as a top boogeyman: Some Democrats see this as “the all-but-inevitable conclusion of Republicans’ increasingly violent and threatening rhetoric toward their political opponents.”

Many Republicans vigorously condemned the attack, including former shooting victim House Minority Whip STEVE SCALISE (R-La.), who called the speaker. But Virginia Gov. GLENN YOUNGKIN sparked some Democratic outrage when he said Friday, “There’s no room for violence anywhere, but we’re going to send [Pelosi] back to be with him in California.”

But even more than anger, fear dominated the reactions to the attack. “The number of recorded threats against members of Congress increased more than tenfold in the five years after [DONALD] TRUMP was elected,” per Capitol Police figures, the NYT reports. “Somebody is going to die,” Rep. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-Mich.) told Axios. “Everyone is shaken. It’s absolutely chilling,” said Rep. MADELEINE DEAN (D-Pa.).

The same day as the attack, a U.S. joint intelligence bulletin warned “of a ‘heightened threat’ to the midterm contests, fueled by a rise in domestic violent extremism, or DVE, and driven by ideological grievances and access to potential targets,” CBS’ Nicole Sganga reports. DHS, the FBI and others said “lone offenders” are the likeliest suspects.

Also the same day, 22-year-old Pennsylvanian JOSHUA HALL pleaded guilty to threatening to kill Rep. ERIC SWALWELL (D-Calif.). More from Axios

Good Saturday morning, and thanks for reading Playbook. It was a grim day in American politics, but we have some happier news on the Playbook team: Eugene is getting married today! Drop me a line at [email protected], or reach out to the rest of the team: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza.

BIG PICTURE

WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN — An Arizona judge declined to grant an emergency injunction against people monitoring ballot drop boxes in the state. Though plaintiffs wanted a pre-Election Day decision, the ruling said “the Court cannot provide preliminary injunctive relief without infringing core constitutional rights.” More from the Arizona Republic

— How we got here: “How ‘mule watchers’ evolved from a Truth Social meme into a ballot drop box patrol,” by NBC’s Vaughn Hillyard and Ben Collins in Mesa

POTUS ON THE ROAD — Biden and VP KAMALA HARRIS appeared with top Pennsylvania Democrats at a fundraiser Friday, where the president showed off his Phillies socks. JOHN FETTERMAN, in a nod to his debate performance this week, said, “I’ll be much better in January, but [MEHMET OZ] will still be a fraud.” More from the Philly Inquirer

NOT A SWING STATE — Biden’s final midterms appearance the night before Election Day will be a rally somewhere in Maryland, WaPo’s Erin Cox reports. Democratic gubernatorial contender WES MOORE will join him.

DEFINITELY A SWING STATE — Former President BARACK OBAMA tried to juice Democrats up with a big rally in Georgia on Friday, when he warned that “democracy is at stake” and implored voters to back Democrats. He also excoriated HERSCHEL WALKER: “There’s very little evidence that he’s taken any interest, bothered to learn anything about or displayed any kind of inclination toward public service.” More from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

LESSER OF TWO EVILS — “The Double-Negative Election,” by The Atlantic’s Ronald Brownstein: “Are voters more upset with Democrats over the economy, or with Republicans over lingering Trumpism?”

BATTLE FOR THE SENATE

CASH DASH — Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC easily beat the Republican Senate Leadership Fund in the Oct. 1-19 fundraising period, pulling in $49 million to SLF’s $26 million, Bloomberg’s Bill Allison reports. But SLF ended with $40 million on hand — $8 million more than SMP.

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RED WAVE — For the first time since they launched their model this cycle, Decision Desk HQ now predicts that Republicans will flip the Senate (with a 50.4% likelihood), controlling an average of 51 seats.

NOT OVER IN NEW HAMPSHIRE — The Heritage-affiliated Sentinel Action Fund super PAC is parachuting into the Granite State with a $1 million ad buy to boost Republican DON BOLDUC by going negative on Sen. MAGGIE HASSAN, Natalie Allison reports. Though some GOP groups had pulled out of the state, the far-right Bolduc has closed the gap in some polls. This is the second state in which Sentinel has filled a Senate Leadership Fund void.

BUCKEYE BULLSEYE — “In Ohio, G.O.P. Sees a Clean Victory as Democrats Predict an Upset,” by NYT’s Trip Gabriel in Cleveland

TEFLON RONJOHN — Will Democrats lose out on another chance to unseat the controversial Sen. RON JOHNSON (R-Wis.)? The party is worried they’ll fall short yet again, Marianne LeVine reports. An infusion of Democratic cash now is trying to trip Johnson up, but some Dems in the state warn that it’s coming too late. “In the closing weeks, the party is betting big on abortion.”

— MANDELA BARNES’ chances against Johnson hinge on how well he can widen the appeal of his long-standing progressive bona fides, the L.A. Times’ Arit John reports from Milwaukee. The other big factor is to what degree Black voters will turn out for Barnes, AP’s Harm Venhuizen reports.

UP FOR DEBATE — “A final, feisty debate in U.S. Senate race as Michael Bennet, Joe O’Dea make their cases,” The Denver Post

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

THE NEW GOP — Semafor’s Dave Weigel has an interesting piece on how House Republicans are addressing the lack of diversity in their conference: They’re running candidates of color without tacking to the center. “For a long time, Republicans thought they had to choose one of two options: Restrict legal immigration … or appeal to non-white voters, who’d be turned off by a hardline immigration position. It is clearer than ever that Republicans don’t have to choose, and some of the candidates who excite the party the most are non-white conservatives who can argue against liberal race and immigration policy while laughing at accusations that they’re ‘racist.’”

FOCUSED ON THE ECONOMY — “He broke ranks to impeach Trump. On the trail, Valadao steers clear of it,” by WaPo’s Hannah Knowles

THE NEW BATTLEGROUND — In a South Texas swing district, change is afoot no matter who wins: A somewhat conservative Dem will give way to either a progressive or a MAGA Republican, either one the first woman to hold the seat, WaPo’s Silvia Foster-Frau reports from McAllen. She charts their two interesting paths: how the Trump era alienated MONICA DE LA CRUZ from Democrats and set her rightward, and how MICHELLE VALLEJO’s mother’s battle with multiple sclerosis led her to support Medicare for All.

MUD-SLINGING IN CALIFORNIA — “California congresswoman faces accusations of ‘McCarthyism’ from AAPI groups over campaign ads,” by the L.A. Times’ Hannah Fry and Seema Mehta

THE TRUMP TIGHTROPE — The day after Trump endorsed her, Virginia Republican YESLI VEGA treaded gingerly, barely mentioning his support and instead highlighting endorsements from … the voters, WaPo’s Meagan Flynn and Gregory Schneider report.

BATTLE FOR THE STATES

THE RISING STAR — KARI LAKE’s victory in the Arizona gubernatorial race is far from a done deal. But she’s already become one of the new faces of Trumpism — and now, in a rare move, she’s lending her imprimatur to other contenders, Alex Isenstadt reports. Lake has cut ads for TUDOR DIXON in Michigan and DOUG MASTRIANO in Pennsylvania.

DEMOCRACY WATCH — Democratic Arizona secretary of state nominee ADRIAN FONTES sees existential stakes in his race against MARK FINCHEM, The Daily Beast’s Sam Brodey reports from Phoenix, with nothing less than the future of democracy potentially at risk. He’s also taken a different tack than gubernatorial nominee KATIE HOBBS, choosing to debate Finchem. “Many in Arizona, and beyond, were relieved to see Fontes go toe-to-toe with Finchem, and Arizona insiders have been impressed with the campaign he has run.”

NOTABLE QUOTABLE — Dixon to NYT’s Reid Epstein, on whether she’d welcome a Trump visit in the final stretch of the campaign: “We’ve already had President Trump here … We have other great people. TULSI GABBARD is coming in this weekend.”

MEMBER OF THE TRIBE — Rep. LEE ZELDIN, one of only two Republican Jews in Congress, is trying to make inroads with NYC’s Hasidic community in his bid to beat Gov. KATHY HOCHUL, the Forward’s Jacob Kornbluh reports. RON LAUDER-founded super PACs are shelling out to drive up Zeldin’s vote in Orthodox neighborhoods, as the community’s support for Hochul wavers. The great-grandson of an Orthodox rabbi, Zeldin is also earning Hasidic plaudits for his tough-on-crime messaging.

— But Democrats are hammering Zeldin over the possibility that his campaign engaged in illegal coordination with those two super PACs, Anna Gronewold reports from Albany.

ABOUT LAST NIGHT — “Accusations intensify in third and final Minnesota governor debate,” Star Tribune

IF YOU’VE GOT IT, FLAUNT IT — RICK CARUSO’s LA mayoral campaign is barreling toward more than $100 million in spending, the vast majority coming from the billionaire developer himself, per the L.A. Times’ Julia Wick.

BIG MONEY IN MICH. ABORTION RIGHTS FIGHT — “More than $50M poured into Michigan’s fight over Proposal 3,” by Detroit News’ Beth LeBlanc

HOT POLLS

— Georgia: Just like Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER said on the hot mic: Things might be going downhill for Dems here. InsiderAdvantage/FOX5 find Walker leading Sen. RAPHAEL WARNOCK, 48% to 45%. GOP Gov. BRIAN KEMP is ahead of STACEY ABRAMS, 52% to 43%.

— Pennsylvania: More good news for Republicans: co/efficient finds Oz leading Fetterman, 48% to 45%. In the governor’s race, Democrat JOSH SHAPIRO leads Mastriano, 51% to 41%.

— New York: This margin is becoming familiar: Hochul leads Zeldin, 50% to 44%, per Emerson/Pix11/The Hill. Schumer is up, 51% to 36%, over JOE PINION. An internal poll from House Democratic contender FRANCIS CONOLE has him leading BRANDON WILLIAMS, 45% to 43%.

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HOT ADS
With help from Steve Shepard

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — Oregon: The Congressional Leadership Fund’s $800,000 ad buy deploys a classic conservative message: “For a tax-loving liberal like ANDREA SALINAS, the bigger the better. And in Congress, there’s more to tax. If she wins, less for you.” Republicans smell blood in a surprisingly competitive district that was supposed to be safe Dem territory.

— Pennsylvania: Democratic House candidate CHRIS DELUZIO goes full Western Pennsylvania in his latest ad. “Corporate jagoffs don’t need another champion in Congress,” he says, hitting GOP opponent JEREMY SHAFFER.

— Michigan: Whitmer concedes that as governor, she “can’t solve the inflation problem, but we’re doing things right now to help,” citing her work on expanding access to health care and lowering child care costs.

— Washington: Democratic Rep. KIM SCHRIER’s latest ad seeks to yoke GOP opponent MATT LARKIN to Rep. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-Ga.). “The last thing we need is another Marjorie Taylor Greene in Congress,” a narrator says.

PHOTO OF THE DAY

7 THINGS THAT STUCK WITH US

1. MAR-A-LAGO LATEST: Senior DOJ national security prosecutor DAVID RASKIN is working with the team investigating the Mar-a-Lago records, WaPo’s Devlin Barrett, Perry Stein and Josh Dawsey report. And experts say “prosecutors appear to have amassed evidence in the case that would meet some of the criteria for bringing charges against the former president.” Raskin was initially working on Jan. 6 cases, but his move to the Mar-a-Lago probe highlights its significance.

2. THE CHIEF TWIT: ELON MUSK’s Twitter takeover rocketed through the political world Friday, seen as a savior by the right and a potential gateway to a flood of misinformation by the left, Rebecca Kern, David Siders and Meridith McGraw report. Top Twitter lawyer and policy chief VIJAYA GADDE’s reported firing is a “long-term catastrophe,” one watchdog warned, calling her the company’s “moral compass.”

In the past couple of days, “a tide of slurs and racist memes swelled on the platform, sparking concern that the site is entering an era of hateful speech” as users tested the limits, Bloomberg’s Davey Alba reports.

But will Trump return? Not right away: Musk announced that he would create a “content moderation council,” with any reinstatements or big moves on content coming thereafter. More from the NYT

3. THE OTHER BIG ELECTION: “How Team Biden Tried to Coup-Proof Brazil’s Elections,” by Foreign Policy’s Robbie Gramer: “Top officials from the White House, Defense Department, State Department, and even the CIA have held meetings and calls with Brazilian officials to try to head off any efforts by [President JAIR] BOLSONARO to subvert the results of the country’s heated presidential elections. … Some experts and former officials believe that despite the high tensions in the hotly contested election, Brazil’s democratic institutions have strong enough guardrails to protect against any possible power grab or efforts to undermine the results by Bolsonaro.”

4. UNDER INVESTIGATION: The new inquiry involving Sen. BOB MENENDEZ (D-N.J.) seems to be linked to IS EG Halal, a halal-certification company for meat exports to Egypt, NYT’s Tracey Tully, Benjamin Weiser and William Rashbaum report. “The nature and extent of the investigation is unclear. Court documents filed after the Nov. 25, 2019, F.B.I. search of [WAEL] HANA’s property refer to statutes that relate to failing to register as an agent of a foreign government, among others.” Hana is president of the startup, which the Egyptian government suddenly started using as its sole certifier in 2019.

5. CONSERVATIVES TAKE AIM AT TOM EMMER: “Knives out in House GOP whip race over Electoral College abolition,” by the N.Y. Post’s Steven Nelson: “Emmer’s opponents say his work about a decade ago as national traveling spokesman for the National Popular Vote initiative casts doubt on his suitability for the role of rallying opposition to President Biden’s agenda. … Emmer [has] disavowed his past position on the Electoral College.”

6. A DIFFERENT UKRAINE FUNDING FIGHT: Republicans from both chambers are throwing up roadblocks to a provision in the NDAA that would let the U.S. send profits from seized Russian assets to Ukraine, WaPo’s Jackie Alemany and John Hudson report. Senate GOP concerns are largely process-based, as they think it should go through the judiciary committees and be vetted more thoroughly. Republicans also say there are more effective ways to damage Russia than asset forfeiture. But Democrats argue that the move would provide crucial resources to Ukraine; one calls GOP opposition “unconscionable.”

7. 2023 DREAMING: “Biden’s Agenda Hangs in the Balance if Republicans Take Congress,” NYT: “For President Biden, the Dreaming-of-F.D.R. phase of his presidency may end in little more than a week,” Peter Baker writes. “If Republicans capture one or both houses of Congress in midterm elections, as polling suggests, Mr. Biden’s domestic agenda will suddenly transform from a quest for a New Deal 2.0 to trench warfare defending the accomplishments of his first two years in office.”

CLICKER — “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker — 16 funnies

GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Ryan Lizza:

“The New World,” by the NYT Magazine’s David Wallace-Wells: “Envisioning Life After Climate Change.”

“Bigger than Bolsonaro,” by Vincent Bevins in The New York Review: “After four years in power, a movement created by elite campaigns has built a mass base.”

“Two Weeks in Tehran,” by Azadeh Moaveni in the London Review of Books: “The authorities’ imperious response to public anger was a serious miscalculation, sustaining the protests and leading them to grow more radical.”

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“COVID-19 Origins: Investigating a ‘Complex and Grave Situation’ Inside a Wuhan Lab,” by Vanity Fair’s Katherine Eban and ProPublica’s Jeff Kao: “The Wuhan Institute of Virology, the cutting-edge biotech facility at the center of swirling suspicions about the pandemic’s onset, was far more troubled than previously known, explosive documents unearthed by a Senate research team reveal. Following the trail of evidence, Vanity Fair and ProPublica provide the clearest picture yet of a laboratory institute in crisis.”

“The Hunt for the Dark Web’s Biggest Kingpin, Part 1: The Shadow,” by Wired’s Andy Greenberg: “The notorious Alpha02 oversaw millions of dollars a day in online narcotic sales. For cybercrime detectives, he was public enemy number one — and a total mystery.”

“The Crypto Story,” by Matt Levine in Bloomberg Businessweek: “Where it came from, what it all means, and why it still matters.”

“How Google’s Ad Business Funds Disinformation Around the World,” by ProPublica’s Craig Silverman, Ruth Talbot, Jeff Kao and Anna Klühspies: “The largest-ever analysis of Google’s ad practices on non-English-language websites reveals how the tech giant makes disinformation profitable.”

“Keep Your Bird-Watching — I’m a Spider Man,” by Adam Roy in Outside: “Some of you are thinking, Ewww, no way. But open your hearts to the truth: spiders are among the most fascinating creatures on earth, and great neighbors to boot (goodbye, mosquitos!). With climate change putting them in danger, they could use a few new friends.”

“The Artist Who Warned Us About Meme Culture,” by WSJ’s Kelly Crow: “Over a five-decade career, conceptual artist Jenny Holzer has twisted language into wry, often ominous art. In a world of texts, tweets and memes, Holzer’s pioneering work remains as relevant as ever.”

“So No One Told You Life Was Gonna Be This Way,” by GQ’s Chris Heath: “Matthew Perry spent years as one of the most famous, most likable, most highly compensated people on television. It nearly killed him.”

Mike Huckabee and Andrew Kaczynski squared off over Doritos.

Kris Kobach’s campaign accidentally included footage of Tiger Woods’ arrest in an anti-crime ad while attacking his Democratic opponent for not supporting the death penalty for cop killers.

Timothy Shea was convicted in his second “We Build the Wall” fraud trial.

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Sarah Feinberg was randomly assaulted in an unprovoked attack in Chelsea.

SPOTTED: Chris Rock and Tina Farris at Le Diplomate on Thursday night for dinner, waving to fans.

TRANSITION — Laurie Saroff is now VP of federal relations at the University of Southern California. She most recently was chief of staff to Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.).

WEEKEND WEDDING —Yaffa Fredrick, senior political commentary editor at CNN, and Matthew Breitel, MEP manager of conceptual construction at Hines, got married Sunday in the mountains of central Sicily near the ancestral village of the groom’s family at the Masseria Susafa. The couple met eight years ago at a going away party for a colleague. Pic, via David A. Andelman Another picSPOTTED: Sara Yasin, Stephanie Cox, Melissa Mahtani and Melanie Smuts.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge (7-0) … White House’s Kate Bedingfield and Seth Schuster … CNN’s Laura Jarrett … WaPo’s Dave Clarke … POLITICO’s Steve Heuser and Karima Punches … Bloomberg’s Robert George … Washington Examiner’s Jamie McIntyre Jim MessinaGeoff TurleyIsabelle JamesMike SacconeFrank Carone of NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ office … Kat TimpfBob Stevenson Natalie Jones Hallahan of the Meridian International Center … Nelson Cunningham of McLarty Associates … WSJ’s Kate Bachelder OdellBill Jaffee of Locust Street Group … Daisy Gordon Justin McCartney of Rep. Jennifer Wexton’s (D-Va.) office … Avery Miller of “Face the Nation” … former Sen. Connie Mack III (R-Fla.) … Peter Albrecht of NP Agency … Aaron Jacobs of Sen. Maggie Hassan’s (D-N.H.) reelect … Ryan Quinn of Swing Left … Anthony Pardal of the American Bankers Association … Dimitri Simes … former acting A.G. Matt Whitaker Mimi Montgomery … former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne … NBC’s David Corvo

THE SHOWS (Full Sunday show listings here):

CBS “Face the Nation”: NRCC Chair Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) … DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) … CISA Director Jen Easterly … David Becker … Amy Walter … Nick Timiraos … Anthony Salvanto.

MSNBC “The Sunday Show”: Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre … Rachel Bitecofer … Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) … Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro … Michaele Turnage Young … Dwight McBride.

CNN “State of the Union”: NRSC Chair Rick Scott (R-Fla.) … Cheri Beasley. Panel: Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.), Scott Jennings, Karen Finney and Kristen Soltis Anderson.

FOX “Fox News Sunday”: RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel … John Yoo … Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.). Panel: Kellyanne Conway and Celinda Lake. Panel: Josh Holmes, Francesca Chambers, Jonathan Turley and John Delaney.

NBC “Meet the Press”: New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu … Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). Panel: Garrett Haake, Marianna Sotomayor, Kimberly Atkins Stohr and Brad Todd.

ABC “This Week,” with Martha Raddatz anchoring a special edition from Dallas: NRSC Chair Rick Scott (R-Fla.) … Jennifer Ashton. Panel: Chris Christie, Heidi Heitkamp and Maria Elena Salinas.

CNN “Inside Politics”: Panel: Heidi Pryzbyla, Jonathan Martin, Ramesh Ponnuru and Harry Enten.

Send Playbookers tips to [email protected] or text us at 202-556-3307. Playbook couldn’t happen without our editor Mike DeBonis, deputy editor Zack Stanton, digital editor Garrett Ross and producers Setota Hailemariam and Bethany Irvine.

Correction: Friday’s Playbook misspelled the name of Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.).


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