(Charlotte, N.C.) – From Providence to Tampa, Florida; back to Providence; and now, to Charlotte, North Carolina. The campaign trail winds along and although I am dead tired, I loved the excitement of the past week and what’s ahead this week. So who has the advantage? Read on:
The Bounce – Republicans appeared to get a small bounce out of the convention. The latest Rasmussen Poll on Saturday now has it Gov. Mitt Romney 47 percent, to President Obama 44 percent. However, the latest Real Clear Politics composite poll has it 46.4 percent Obama to 46.1 percent Romney. Still, the poll is trending slightly to Romney in the past week. Obama started with a lead of 1.9 percent Sunday; slipped to 1.7 by mid-week; then to .5 percent Friday; and to .3 percent on Saturday. That’s a paper-thin lead, but the trend is what to watch. Advantage Romney.
Just the Facts Ma’am! – Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan created an unnecessary distraction by messing up the facts surrounding a General Motors plant closure in his hometown of Janesville, Wisc. The plant was closed in late 2008 during the Bush administration, not the Obama administration. To be sure, the closure was a corporate decision, not the fault of either President. But what Ryan missed was a golden opportunity to ask President Obama why he did not insist on the plant reopening under the GM bailout plan the President okayed in March of 2009. Ryan turned what could have been a major advantage in a toss-up state, into a self-defeating gaffe. As a former speech writer to the late Jack Kemp, he should have known better. Advantage Obama.
Can I Change My Mind? – For the past couple of weeks I have been saying it would be a one-state race, with Nevada deciding the winner. I wish to change my mind, slightly. It will still be a one-state race, but Iowa – and not Nevada – will pick the winner this year. Here’s my logic: Obama now has a 3.3 percent lead in Nevada, which is not huge by any stretch. But, Obama only leads in Iowa now by .2 percent. The other clue is that Romney and Obama are now making more visits to Iowa, then perhaps any other state. Advantage Romney.
Star Struck – Forget the Clint Eastwood debacle for a moment. The real embarrassment to the GOP convention was that the most interviewed person there is one who is not on any ballot. Academy Award winning actor Jon Voight was in Tampa stumping for Romney, in both the convention hall and in the press center. He was everywhere and dozens of reporters (most of them from overseas) were trailing him all over and peppering him with questions. No one else (including the politicians) had this much press, not even close. Then, a reporter came rushing in to the ABC News area where I was working and breathlessly declared, “I just got an interview with Robert Downey, Jr.!” Folks, celebrity culture has nothing to do with the debt, deficit, unemployment rate, or Medicare shortfall. That reporters keep chasing it – as if it were significant – is embarrassing. Advantage nobody!
Two Left Feet! – The most awkward dance in the Democratic Party remains between the Obamas and the Clintons. They may not like each other, but they respect each other. The fact that Bill Clinton will place President Obama’s name in nomination Wednesday night is huge, and I am sure he will give a speech with fawning praise. If it weren’t for term limits, Clinton could win a third term tomorrow. He remains that popular, despite all his baggage. Oddly enough, an Obama loss this year would create a better opportunity for Hillary Clinton to win the White House in 2016, but Bill Clinton will “take one for the team” Wednesday night. You may recall Al Gore asked Clinton to “sit on the sidelines” in 2000, and the Democrats lost both their states of Tennessee and Arkansas, a win in either of which would have put Gore in the White House without Florida. Advantage Obama.
The Disillusioned – I spoke with a number of Ron Paul delegates in Tampa that were showing only tepid interest in finally backing Mr. Romney. I am also found numerous “20 somethings” in recent weeks who have no jobs and are thinking of staying home Election Day and not voting again for Obama. Both of these potential defections pose a serious threat to the efforts in each party to win. Advantage nobody!
Deadlock – So there you have it: two advantages for Obama; two advantages for Romney; and two phenomenon which may neutralize each other. No wonder this race is tied, and will likely be tight on November 6.
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