POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/9

Likely Voter Screen Wipes Out Obama Lead in Gallup Poll

USA Today‘s Susan Page told the PBS Newhour that the new Gallup daily tracking poll will show Mitt Romney and President Obama are “virtually tied” when it switches from registered voters to likely voters beginning tomorrow.

Obama held a 5 percentage-point lead among registered voters in today’s poll release.

Ryan Gets Testy at Interviewer

Paul Ryan abruptly ended an interview with ABC12 in Flint, Michigan after the reporter attempted to suggest that Ryan’s proposed tax cut plan was his solution to lower gun-related violence.

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Toss Up in North Dakota

A new Mason-Dixon poll in North Dakota finds Heidi Heitkamp (D) and Rick Berg (R) in a dead heat in their U.S. Senate race, 47% to 47%.

 

Latest Swing State Polls

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

Colorado: Obama 49%, Romney 48% (Rasmussen)

Iowa: Obama 49%, Romney 47% (Rasmussen)

Michigan: Obama 49%, Romney 46% (Foster McCollum)

Michigan: Obama 48%, Romney 45% (EPIC-MRA)

Pennsylvania: Obama 47%, Romney 45% (Susquehanna)

How Romney Can Validate His Comeback

Maggie Haberman: “1) Romney must show that Denver wasn’t a fluke … 2) Polls must show the race is competitive in Ohio… 3) Paul Ryan needs to do well in his debate… 4) Romney’s paid media strategy must improve… 5) Romney must stop playing small ball… few national candidates have spent more time talking process than Romney… 6) Obama needs to make a mistake.”

Axelrod Coaches Biden

New York Times: “Under the tutelage of David Axelrod, the president’s chief strategist who is personally overseeing the preparations, Mr. Biden will be counseled on how to avoid Mr. Obama’s mistakes and even correct them with a more aggressive prosecution of the Republican ticket. Mr. Axelrod’s involvement highlights the stakes the Obama campaign places on the debate, and Mr. Biden has been reading ‘Young Guns,’ the book co-written by Mr. Ryan, and practicing attack lines that Mr. Obama avoided. The focus on Mr. Biden comes as the campaign tries to diagnose what went wrong in Denver and what to do about it. Advisers had seen two presidents during practice debates, one who had been listless and passive two nights before and another energetic and aggressive the next night. It turned out the former was the one who showed up in Denver. He kept looking down and was not using the lines they had practiced assailing Mitt Romney, who kept the president on the defensive and presented a forceful case against his re-election.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Personally, Joe Biden and I have been friends for many, many years. I enjoy his company. He’s a very good guy, personally. So it’s not as if I — but honest to God, he still is a heartbeat away from the presidency and when some of the things he says, you know, you’re slack-jawed.”

— Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), in an interview with Piers Morgan, questioning whether Joe Biden is qualified to be vice president.

Romney Erases Obama’s Lead

A new Pew Research survey finds Mitt Romney no longer trails President Obama after the vast majority of respondents think Romney won their first presidential debate.

Among registered voters, Romney has drawn even with Obama, 46% to 46%, after trailing by nine points in September.

Among likely voters, Romney holds a slight 49% to 45% edge over Obama. He trailed by eight points among likely voters last month.

Interestingly, however, the Gallup tracking poll shows Obama with a five point lead, 50% to 45%.

On Expectations

Hendrick Hertzberg: “During the run-up to last week’s Presidential debate, the congeries of journalists, columnists, bloggers, television commentators, politicians, and ‘strategists’ who collectively craft the conventional wisdom reached a cautious consensus: Mitt Romney would probably do better than expected. Since it is precisely these pundits whose predictions determine expectations, Romney had to do a lot ‘better than expected’ in order to do better than expected. What only a few members of what might be called the expectorate (not to be confused with the electorate) expected was that Romney would do so much better than expected–and Barack Obama so much worse.”

Tied Race?

National Journal reports President Obama and Mitt Romney were tied in interviews conducted for Gallup’s daily tracking poll in the three days immediately following last week’s first presidential debate.

First Read: “But to see if the race has truly changed, we’re awaiting battleground-state polls conducted over the weekend through today — to fully let the debate, job numbers, and everything else sink in. The body language from both campaigns suggests that the race did change; you’re seeing 1) a more confident Romney camp and 2) an Obama campaign with a greater sense of urgency. And if the upcoming polls show this, it will give Team Romney another shot in the arm, just like Obama got after the conventions. But it’s also very possible that the race hasn’t fundamentally changed, but simply tightened and is back to where everyone thought it would be six months ago.”

A Veep Debate That Could Matter

“Vice presidential debates typically matter as much as vice presidential picks — which is to say not a lot — but a convergence of factors is raising the stakes on this week’s faceoff between Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden,” Politico reports.

In fact, the circumstances around the debate this week closely resemble 2004: “The incumbent president flops in his first debate, forcing his older and more seasoned vice president to take it to a younger foe.”

Obama Aides Plot Comeback

New York Times: “President Obama’s campaign is working feverishly to restore its momentum after a lackluster debate performance last week, an effort that began with a conference call 10 minutes before the debate even ended and led to new advertisements, a rewritten stump speech, a carefully timed leak and a reversal of months-old strategy.”

Obama Counterattacks

With Mitt Romney giving a major foreign policy speech today, the Obama campaign puts out a brutal new ad focusing on his summer trip abroad and erratic foreign policy statements.

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Romney Remains Vague on Foreign Policy Details

Mitt Romney plans a major foreign policy speech today where he is expected to criticize President Obama by saying that “hope is not a strategy,” the New York Times reports.

“But beyond his critique of Mr. Obama as failing to project American strength abroad, Mr. Romney has yet to fill in many of the details of how he would conduct policy toward the rest of the world, or to resolve deep ideological rifts within the Republican Party and his own foreign policy team. It is a disparate and politely fractious team of advisers that includes warring tribes of neoconservatives, traditional strong-defense conservatives and a band of self-described ‘realists’ who believe there are limits to the degree the United States can impose its will.”

In fact, several Romney advisers say “they have engaged with him so little on issues of national security that they are uncertain what camp he would fall into, and are uncertain themselves about how he would govern.”

However, New York magazine notes that “talking tough even if he doesn’t have the specifics worked out could be an effective strategy, as long as Romney advisers can restrain themselves from venting to reporters for the next month.”

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