* In NBC’s first battleground map since the conventions and a slew of new state polling, President Obama has expanded his electoral-vote lead over Mitt Romney — but only slightly. There are now 243 electoral votes in Obama’s column and 191 in Romney’s, with 104 in the Toss-up category; 270 are needed to win the presidency.
* President Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney in Colorado, Iowa and Wisconsin, reaching the key 50 percent support threshold in all three battlegrounds, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls of these states. In both Colorado and Wisconsin, Obama is ahead by 5 points among likely voters (including those leaning toward a candidate), 50 percent to 45 percent.
* Roll Call is reporting Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) is expected to be cleared of charges in an ethics investigation that has spanned three years. The verdict would clear the way for Waters “to pursue the title of top Democrat on the Financial Services Committee as ranking member Barney Frank (D-MA) prepares to retire at the end of this Congress.”
* House Democrats appeard on the Capitol Steps Friday morning, urging Republican leaders in the House to stay in session until many policy initiatives are finished. House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi said it’s “not right” that Republicans would only convene an eight-day session of Congress, and urged Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to stay in Washington until legislation is passed regarding middle class tax cuts, the farm bill, and a budget.