POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/28

Latest Swing State Polls

Here are the latest polls from the battleground states, updated as needed through the day:

Iowa: Romney 47%, Obama 46% (TIR-Voter/Consumer Research)

Virginia: Obama 46%, Romney 44% (Suffolk University)

North Carolina: Obama 48%, Romney 46% (WSJ/NBC)

New Hampshire: Obama 51%, Romney 44%(WSJ/NBC)

Nevada: Obama 49%, Romney 47% (WSJ/NBC)

 

Romney Seeks to Lower Debate Expectations

In a memo sent to CNN, longtime Mitt Romney adviser Beth Myers sought to lower expectations heading into next Wednesday’s debate against President Obama.

Among the reasons: President Obama is “widely regarded as one of the most talented political communicators in modern history” and this will be “the eighth one-on-one presidential debate of his political career. For Mitt Romney, it will be his first.”

She also suggested that Obama will “use his ample rhetorical gifts and debating experience to one end: attacking Mitt Romney.”

 

A Crushing Blow

Jonathan Chait comments on why President Obama’s new ad may seal Mitt Romney’s fate.

“What’s devastating about the ad, aside from the juxtaposition of Romney’s words against photos of regular Americans, is something I only noticed the second time I watched it. It’s the sound of silverware clinking on china in the background as Romney speaks. That detail contrasts the atmosphere Romney inhabits with the one in which most Americans live. You can tell, even though you’re not seeing this, that the remarks are being made to people enjoying a formal dinner.”

“The damage of the remarks is twofold. Obviously, it deeply reinforces the worst stereotypes voters have of Romney. Indeed, the fact that he is currently running ads trying to make the case that he does care about all of America testifies to the grim position in which Romney finds himself… Worse still, the comments destroy Romney’s fundamental credibility. Here America sees what he says behind closed doors.”

 

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Well, he could fall off the stage.”

— Obama traveling press secretary Jen Psaki, in what BuzzFeed calls “an almost comical attempt” to lower expectations for President Obama in next week’s debate with Mitt Romney.

 

5 Ways Romney Can Fix His Ohio Problem

The Week looks at the hurdles in Mitt Romney’s path to victory in the Buckeye state.

 

Donnelly Leads for Senate in Indiana

A new Howey/DePauw poll in Indiana shows Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) with a small lead over Richard Mourdock (R), 40% to 38%, with Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning getting 7% support.

The presidential race isn’t nearly as close with Mitt Romney ahead of President Obama by double-digits, 52% to 40%.

 

Vilsack Closes In on King in Iowa

A new Public Policy Polling survey shows Rep. Steve King (R-IA) hanging on to a three point lead over challenger Christie Vilsack (D), 48% to 45%.

A Vilsack internal poll shows similar results with King leading by two points, 46% to 44%.

 

Romney Said He Wanted to “Harvest” Companies for Profits

Mother Jones has obtained a 1985 video in which Mitt Romney explained that Bain Capital’s goal was to identify hidden value in companies, buy significant stakes in these businesses, and then “harvest them at a significant profit” within five to eight years.

Andrew Sullivan: “This is not the ’47 percent’ bombshell. It just shows what Bain Capital was about: rewarding its shareholders by “harvesting” companies. That word is clinical. And look: there’s nothing evil or wrong about Bain. It did what it does, it has had some successes and failures, and it’s not a crime to make money this way. But it isn’t business, as Romney concedes, so much as finance.”

See more…

 

An Obama Landslide?

Nate Silver says there “looks to be about a 20 percent chance that Mr. Romney will win, but also about a 20 percent chance that Mr. Obama will actually beat his 2008 margin in the popular vote. The smart money is on an outcome somewhere in the middle – as it has been all year. But if you can conceive of a Romney comeback – and you should account for that possibility – you should also allow for the chance that things could get really out of hand, and that Mr. Obama could win in a borderline landslide.”

 

Romney Softens Rhetoric as Obama Attacks

James Rainey: “Republican strategists have decided the public — and, particularly, undecided moderate voters — like President Obama too much to smack him rhetorically with two fists.”

“While Mitt Romney walks that semantic tightrope in a new television ad and on the stump, though, his opponent is walloping him with TV ads that portray the Republican as the hopelessly out-of-touch rich guy. The Obama attacks, making ample use of Romney’s dismissive remarks about the ‘victim’ 47%, give the appearance the president is fighting a cage match, while Romney jabs away, judiciously, with his 16-ounce gloves.”

 

Obama Slams Romney Over 47% Remarks

The Obama campaign just released a brutal new ad hitting Mitt Romney on his 47% comments caught on hidden camera video which Greg Sargent reports will air in seven key swing states: Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, and New Hampshire.

This spot is in contention for the most-devastating of the presidential campaign.

See more…

 

Democratic Super PACs Kick In

New York Times: “With the election just weeks away — and millions of dollars in advertising time booked but not yet paid for — Democratic super PACs are finally drawing the kind of wealthy donors who have already made Republican outside groups a pivotal force in the 2012 campaign.”

“More than 40 individuals and couples had given at least $250,000 to the leading Democratic super PACs through the beginning of September, according to a New York Times analysis of campaign finance records, and dozens more have given $100,000 or more.”

 

Quote of the Day

“Uh, I don’t worry about the opportunity to be on the air and to face the president – he has his views, I have mine. I’m going to let the American people make their choice and I think when they do, they’re going to choose the guy who understands what it takes to get America working again and I do.”

— Mitt Romney, in an interview with ABC News, on the upcoming presidential debates.

 

Medicare Issue Hurting Romney in Swing States

A new Washington Post/Kaiser poll finds that voters in three critical swing states — Florida, Ohio and Virginia — broadly oppose the sweeping changes to Medicare proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan and, by big margins, favor President Obama over Mitt Romney on the issue.

 

It’s Not Undecided Voters Who Will Decide the Election

Ezra Klein: “This election will probably be decided by a tiny fraction of the electorate in eight or nine states. The undecided voters in those states are popularly portrayed as people who just can’t make up their minds. But that’s not quite right. They aren’t so much ‘undecided’ as uninterested and, frankly, uninformed; in political-science parlance — and SNL ads — they are ‘low information’ voters.”

Businessweek looks inside the mind of the independent voter.

 

What a Romney Loss Would Do to Republicans

Reid Wilson: “If Romney does lose this year, blame will quickly shift to the Republican presidential nominee himself, his shortcomings, and his ability to articulate a conservative vision for the country. And the fallout from a Romney loss has the potential to reverberate through the Republican Party for a decade.”

 

Did Super PACs Not Matter?

Jonathan Chait: “One of the dogs that hasn’t barked in this campaign is the massive financial advantage Mitt Romney was expected to enjoy on account of nearly unlimited funds available to him from conservative Superpacs. Yet, even including the efforts of outside groups, Obama has been out-advertising Romney in the key swing states…”

“The full story of how the financial tsunami failed to strike has yet to be untangled, but bits and pieces have dribbled out over recent days.”

 

Obama at the Kitchen Table

President Obama has a new ad out this morning that Alex Burns says “has the feeling of a closing argument.”

Talking direct to the camera for two minutes, Obama outlines a four-point agenda to restore “economic patriotism” telling viewers, “If I could sit down with you, in your living room or around the kitchen table, here’s what I’d say.”

First Read: “This new Obama spot has the feeling of a closing TV ad 10 days out from Election Day because, well, the Obama camp believes we’re really 10 days out — or we’re already there. Indeed, voters in 30 states — including the battleground states of Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Virginia — are now casting ballots, either via absentee or early in-person voting,”

See more…

 

Debates Become Very Important for Romney

“The kickoff presidential debate Wednesday in Denver is shaping up as do-or-die time for Mitt Romney, with the pressure intensifying this week after a flurry of swing-state polls showed President Barack Obama opening up a sizable lead,” Politico reports.

“Republicans, fretting about dwindling days for Romney to turn around his campaign, fear that if their nominee doesn’t come away with a decisive first-debate victory, he’ll continue to spiral downward and lose his last, best shot for a comeback.”

“The fear among donors and strategists: a break-even or so-so performance would subject Romney to a self-reinforcing cycle of criticism and pessimism in his own party that will send other Republicans fleeing and make it difficult for Romney to project a closing argument against Obama over the drumbeat of why-are-you-losing questions.”

Amy Walter: “At next week’s debate, the pressure is on Romney to make something happen. The pressure is on Obama to make sure nothing happens.”

 

The Evolving Statements on Libya

Washington Post: “In any kind of confused overseas event, initial reports are often wrong. But the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans were killed, including the ambassador, is a case study of how an administration can carefully keep the focus as long as possible on one storyline — and then turn on a dime when it is no longer tenable.”

“For political reasons, it certainly was in the White House’s interests to not portray the attack as a terrorist incident, especially one that took place on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Instead the administration kept the focus on what was ultimately a red herring — anger in the Arab world over anti-Muslim video posted on YouTube. With key phrases and message discipline, the administration was able to conflate an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Egypt — which apparently was prompted by the video — with the deadly assault in Benghazi.”

First Read: “The most charitable explanation for these evolving statements is that the information the administration received simply changed or wasn’t complete. The most uncharitable explanation is that the White House was slow to admit the attack was terrorism due to the upcoming election.”

 

What Mormonism Tells Us About Mitt Romney

Jon Meacham looks at the personal and political implications of Mitt Romney’s religion and how it could now be the key to a political comeback.

“By cultural and theological conditioning, Romney expects life to be difficult, even confounding — hence the need for the analytical skills of a management consultant. Mormons are accustomed to conflict and expect persecution. The Mormon sense of destiny gives followers a part in a divine story, a larger saga of the conflict between good and evil, infusing their lives with both great purpose and keen pragmatism. Viewing Romney through the lens of the Mormon understanding of history helps explain his ambition, his devotion to personal liberty and his comfort with expediency…. As a devout Mormon leader, Romney knows his church history, and he knows that difficulty and doubt are inherent elements of life. The key thing is to remain faithful, to serve, to press ahead — to the next territory that might welcome you, to the next voter who might decide to give you a chance.”

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