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N2K Presidential Race Analysis

Expectations Run High For Ryan

Conservatives have been licking their chops in anticipation of a debate between Paul Ryan and Joe Biden ever since Ryan was announced.

Now, after Mitt Romney's strong performance in the first presidential debate, the pressure is on Ryan to maintain the momentum, and many on the right don't think that will be difficult.

There’s a buzz around the vice presidential debate on Thursday in Kentucky because the two candidates know their policy, said Ted Kaufman, Biden’s chief of staff for 19 years. In particular, there’s a sense among Republicans “that maybe Governor Romney hasn't been the best messenger for what they believe in,” Kaufman added.

Confidence in Ryan’s intellect is matched only by a sense that the gaffe-prone vice president can’t be taken seriously. "He is going to wipe up the floor with Biden in the debates," Republican strategist Ed Rollins told Fox News this summer.

But Biden’s no fool, and the sky-high expectations for Ryan could set him up for failure. For a self-described “numbers guy,” Ryan can also be oddly hazy on specifics.

Biden may make clumsy remarks, but he’s a seasoned debater, with a gut connection to middle-class voters. As former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm put it, “He connects with real people better than anybody.” Read more

Sophie Quinton

NATIONAL JOURNAL
'S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT

Mitt Romney: Too Much Style?

[National Journal, 10/7/12] In a surreal reversal of the critique once leveled at President Obama, the president's supporters took to the Sunday shows to say Mitt Romney won last week's debate on style, not substance.

Obama Approval Falls in Post-Debate Gallup Poll

[Gallup, 10/7/12] Americans have mixed opinions about Obama’s job performance following last week’s presidential debate, according to new poll results. Forty-eight percent of Americans approve of the job he is doing, while 46 percent disapprove; prior to the debate, 54 percent approved, while 42 percent disapproved.

Obama Courts Hispanic Vote in Battleground States
[Politico, 10/7/12] With its half million potential Latino voters, Colorado is illustrative of Obama’s efforts across the country – particularly in critical battleground states – to drive up his margins among Latinos to try to win reelection. According to a new poll, Obama is narrowly leading in the state.

Budget Wonks: The Books Were Not Cooked

[National Journal, 10/7/12] Business tycoon Jack Welch cried foul over the unexpectedly good jobs numbers on Friday, saying Obama inflated the numbers in order to boost his reelection effort. But two budget wonks took to television, saying the books weren't cooked.

Gingrich: Welch's Conspiracy Theory on Jobs 'Rings True to People'
[National Journal, 10/7/12] Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Sunday that Welch’s conspiracy theory on jobs numbers "rings true to people," adding that Welch’s distrust of the president is representative of many American businessmen.

Colorado Republicans Flood Victory Offices After Debate

[Denver Post, 10/6/12] Thursday, the day after the debate, was the single biggest volunteer recruitment day for Colorado this cycle, and on Saturday officials almost had to double the number of phones at their state headquarters to accommodate the influx of new volunteers.

The Same Issue That Killed Democrats in 2010 Could Save Obama in 2012

[Economist, 10/7/12] The candidates offer two very different choices on health care: Obama would continue with the thorny implementation of his 2010 healthcare reform law, while Romney, turning his back on everything he did in Massachusetts, has few plans to expand coverage.

Healthcare Remains a Stumbling Block for Romney
[Los Angeles Times, 10/6/12] As the former governor of Massachusetts, Romney may know more about health care than any other presidential nominee in memory. In theory, that should thrill Republicans – so why has explaining his position on health care been such an ordeal?

Romney Shrugs Off Employment Gains, Cites ‘Jobs Crisis’

[Fox News, 10/6/12] Romney all but ignored the positive jobs numbers while campaigning in Florida this weekend, instead highlighting his strong debate performance and making it clear that he did not agree with the president’s assessment that a 7.8 percent unemployment rate in September is a sign of an economy heading in the right direction.

Romney’s Goals on Environmental Regulation Would Face Difficult Path

[New York Times, 10/7/12] Romney has vowed to “take a weed whacker” to the thicket of federal regulations on energy, and promised to impose a rigid freeze on all new government rules. But that’s easier said than done.

New Romney Ad Disputes Obama Claim on $5 Trillion Tax Cut

[National Journal, 10/7/12] In an effort to combat Obama’s recent attacks on his tax plan, Romney released a new TV ad that accuses the president of “not telling the truth about Mitt Romney’s tax plan.”

Romney Shifts Tone to Try to Win Women
[Boston Globe, 10/7/12] Romney likely cannot win the general election unless he can convince more women that he understands their concerns and can, indeed, help them. So, at the debate and afterward, Romney has delivered a retooled and more moderate appeal that is designed to win over key slices of the women’s vote.

Who Had the Worst Week in Washington? President Obama

[Washington Post, 10/4/12] The Post’s Chris Cillizza writes that the president’s poor debate performance was due to his body language more than a lack of rhetorical aggression: he stared down at the lectern, smirked at things he disagreed with, and just looked like he didn't want to be there.

Error and Fraud at Issue as Absentee Voting Rises
[New York Times, 10/6/12] In Florida during the 2010 election, 23 percent of voters cast absentee ballots, up from 15 percent in 2006; Nationwide, the use of absentee ballots and other forms of voting by mail has more than tripled since 1980. Yet votes cast by mail are less likely to be counted, more likely to be compromised and more likely to be contested.

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