Reaction to the Third Presidential Debate

The third and final presidential debate was President Obama’s best moment in the campaign so far. He was prepared on every issue and knew Mitt Romney’s record of past statements just as well.

Obama succeeded because he conveyed his unique view of the world from the Oval Office. For undecided voters watching, all they probably heard was that he’s the commander-in-chief. And that’s what Team Obama wanted.

For the most part, Romney made an effort to look presidential by not attacking. He was exceedingly careful and desperately tried not to make a mistake. In fact, despite his rhetoric for the last two years, he now apparently agrees with most of the Obama administration’s foreign policy.

As a result, Romney’s biggest opponent was not the president, it was his own words. Obama did a brilliant job of bringing up past Romney statements — on Iraq, on the nation’s biggest adversary, on Afghanistan, on Osama bin Laden — to make him look unprepared for the presidency.

As the debate went on, Romney tried many times to move the international affairs discussion back to the economy where he was more comfortable. It was as if he had only 30 minutes of foreign policy talking points for a 90 minute debate. As a result he seemed to string together random thoughts which often made him sound incoherent.

Obama won the debate hands down.

Bob Schieffer started off doing a good job as moderator, framing questions but still letting the candidates engage each other. But he lost control of the debate as both Romney and Obama often preferred to talk about the economy. It’s clear that both candidates know that most voters don’t care much about foreign policy.

Has Obama Given Up in North Carolina?

Democratic strategist Paul Begala told CNN that Mitt Romney is likely to win North Carolina and that the Obama campaign may be giving up there.

Said Begala: “Yes. I’m not supposed to say that. But I [work] for the pro-Obama super PAC, so I’m being paid to help reelect the president. But if you look at where he’s spending money, it looks like Gov. Romney is likely to carry North Carolina. But those other six or seven states, I think all of them — I haven’t seen one poll that show Romney leading, certainly not outside the margin of error.”

Race Deadlocked as Romney Gains on Foreign Affairs

President Obama and Mitt Romney head into the final debate still deadlocked among likely voters nationally: 49% side with the Democratic president, 48% with the Republican challenger, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Key finding: “International affairs generally, and handling terrorism specifically, were once Obama strong points against the former Massachusetts governor, but voters now divide about evenly between the two. At the end of September, Obama held an 11 percentage point lead over Romney as the one voters trusted on terrorism — and killing Osama bin Laden is a mainstay on the Obama campaign trail. But now, 47% side with Obama on the issue, 46% with Romney.”

However, a new CBS News poll shows Obama leading Romney on foreign policy by a nine-point margin, 50% to 41%.

No Second Debate Bounce

Nate Silver: “The bad news for President Obama: it’s been almost a week since the second presidential debate, in Hempstead, N.Y., one that instant-reaction polls said was a narrow victory for him. But there is little sign that this has translated into a bounce for Mr. Obama in his head-to-head polls against Mitt Romney. Instead, the presidential race may have settled into a period of relative stability.”

“There is bad news for Mr. Romney as well, however. The ‘new normal’ of the presidential campaign is considerably more favorable for him than the environment before the first debate, in Denver. However, it is one in which he still seems to be trailing, by perhaps 2 percentage points, in the states that are most vital in the Electoral College.”

How Are You Being Targeted?

Frontline has a fantastic short documentary that explores the digital targeting of voters by the presidential campaigns.

They also have an amazing interactive version which allows each person to personalize the story, and find out based on who they are how the campaigns are targeting them.

Latest National Polls

Here are the latest national polls of the presidential race, updated through the day:

Democracy Corps: Obama 49%, Romney 46%

Gallup: Romney 51%, Obama 45%

IBD/TIPP: Obama 47%, Romney 43%

Monmouth/SurveyUSA: Romney 48%, Obama 45%

Politico/George Washington University: Romney 49%, Obama 47%

Public Policy Polling: Obama 48%, Romney 48%

RAND: Obama 48%, Romney 46%

Rasmussen: Romney 49%, Obama 47%

Reuters/Ipsos: Obama 46%, Romney 46%

Latest Swing State Polls

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

Colorado: Romney 50%, Obama 46% (Rasmussen)

Iowa: Obama 48%, Romney 48% (Rasmussen)

Michigan: Obama 52%, Romney 43% (Angus Reid)

New Hampshire: Obama 51%, Romney 42% (UNH)

Ohio: Obama 48%, Romney 48% (Angus Reid)

Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 45% (CBS News/Quinnipiac)

Ohio: Obama 47%, Romney 47% (Suffolk)

Ohio: Romney 47%, Obama 46% (Pulse Opinion Research)

Pennsylvania: Obama 50%, Romney 45% (Morning Call/Muhlenberg)

Pennsylvania: Obama 48%, Romney 44% (Pulse Opinion Research)

Pennsylvania: Obama 48%, Romney 45% (Gravis)

Pennsylvania: Obama 52%, Romney 42% (Angus Reid)

Virginia: Obama 47%, Romney 46% (Pulse Opinion Research)

Wisconsin: Obama 51%, Romney 46% (Angus Reid)

Wisconsin: Obama 50%, Romney 47% (Pulse Opinion Research)

Akin Compares McCaskill to a Dog

Rep. Todd Akin (R) said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has fetched expansive government policies “like a dog” during her tenure in Washington, PoliticMO reports.

Said Akin: “She goes to Washington, D.C., it’s a little bit like one of those dogs, ‘fetch.’ She goes to Washington, D.C., and get all of these taxes and red tape and bureaucracy and executive orders and agencies and brings all of this stuff and dumps it on us in Missouri.”

Jackson Not in Danger of Losing Seat

Despite his returning to the hospital for treatment of bipolar disorder and depression, a newWe Ask America poll finds Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-IL) safely on his way to re-election with 58% support, followed by Brian Woodworth (R) at 27% and Marcus Lucas (I) at 15%.

Early Voting in Nevada Favors Democrats

“After two days of early voting in Nevada, Democrats boast that figures released by county elections officials show they hold a significant lead,” National Journal reports.

“About 53 percent of the voters who turned out on Saturday and Sunday in Clark County, the state’s most populous, were Democrats, while just 31 percent were Republicans. The 22-point disparity is higher than the 15 points by which Democrats outnumber Republicans–a sign, the party says, of the field organization Sen. Harry Reid and Nevada Democrats have spent a decade building.”

Meanwhile, Jon Ralston reviews two scenarios in which Nevada really could matter to the outcome of the presidential election.

A Decade of War

President Obama put out a new ad which highlights the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and his plan to end the war in Afghanistan.

The script: “A decade of war. That cost us dearly… President Obama ended the Iraq war. Mitt Romney would have left thirty thousand troops there, and called bringing them home ‘tragic.’ Obama’s brought thirty thousand soldiers back from Afghanistan. And has a responsible plan to end the war. Romney calls it Obama’s ‘biggest mistake.’ It’s time to stop fighting over there and start rebuilding over here.”

Alex Burns: “The commercial amounts to a preview of how Barack Obama will cast his foreign policy record in the third and final debate with Romney, and it underscores the need for both candidates to make foreign policy relevant to voters as a concrete subject with implications here in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign is out with a press release titled, “We can’t afford four more years of Obama’s foreign policy.”

See more…

Too Close for Comfort for Obama?

First Read: “Our latest national NBC/WSJ poll shows a 47%-47% tie among likely voters. Not all ties are created equal and the question is whether this tie signals a shift away from President Obama and toward Mitt Romney. The poll actually sends a lot of mixed messages on this front. The toplines, though, are not good for the president. The fact of the matter is 47% is a VERY precarious position for an incumbent. If this were 48-48 or 49-49, this would be a different conversation. A good ground game can make up 1 or 2 points; making up 3 points is a much taller order.”

“To put it another way: if this race is at 47%-47% the Sunday before the election, there’s going to be a run on Tums at every pharmacy in walking distance of the Obama campaign’s Chicago headquarters. But it’s not the Sunday before Election Day. And if you digest the entire poll, this race isn’t nearly as easy to handicap as it might look on paper. It’s that close, folks, and we can point to three reasons why President Obama will win on Nov. 6 and three reasons why Mitt Romney will win.”

Two Different Final Strategies

Politico: “With a little more than two weeks left until judgment day, Barack Obama’s campaign is embracing a fundamentally defensive strategy centered on winning Ohio at all costs — while unleashing a new barrage of blistering attacks against Mitt Romney aimed at mobilizing a less-than-fired-up Democratic base.”

“A surging Romney is suddenly playing offense all over the map… In contrast to the grind-it-out Obama strategy, Romneyland’s working theory is that the momentum shift since Denver is a late-breaking, decisive wave that gives them the chance to not just win but win big.”

“Both campaigns are confident they can win. But their theory-of-the-case victory strategies couldn’t be more different. A buoyant Team Romney sees itself driving into Obama territory on a tailwind of enthusiasm. Team Obama is relying on a three-state solution — winning Ohio, Wisconsin and Nevada puts him over the top — and more ‘Hit Mitt’ messaging geared at driving Democrats to the polls, a hybrid of hope and the hammer.”

Obama’s Grand Bet

Ryan Lizza: “In recent years, as the electorate has become more polarized, campaign tacticians have become more focussed on getting their own voters to the polls than on persuading others to change their allegiance. This year, the Obama campaign has a two-part strategy. First, they made what the campaign manager Jim Messina calls a ‘grand bet,’ spending heavily on a summer airwave blitz, with ads designed to soften up Mitt Romney in the eyes of voters; second, they have created a volunteer army on the ground to carry victory home.”

Headed for a Photo Finish

Mark Halperin believes that “barring some major game-changing dynamic, the polls are mostly a distraction the rest of the way. Romney probably needs to take Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio to win. That’s increasingly plausible. But we will go into Election Day not knowing if he can pull it off.”

Jeff Greenfield: “There is, of course, the possibility that the ground will shift in the last two weeks. A decisive debate performance, a late revelation, a sudden, seismic event at home or abroad could turn this cliffhanger into a rout. As of now, though, 2012 looks as if it’s about to join that foursome of elections, one that will require gallons of caffeine on Election Night and the next morning before we learn whether the moving vans will be called to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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