One of the elements largely absent from the glut of preelection analysis has been a hyping of the Republican schematic for voter mobilization, a vaunted effort during the George W. Bush/Karl Rove years that suffered during John McCain’s candidacy and remains an unanswered question under nominee Mitt Romney.
Either these guys, meaning Romney’s brain trust, are so good that they don’t telegraph their winning maneuvers, or they’ve done a solid job of keeping quiet a major disadvantage. President Obama’s ground game, by contrast, has furnished solace for Democrats who recall the 2008 effort as a historic grassroots movement whose salience among its followers has not, they hope, frayed completely. Poll numbers out today indicate an early payoff where it matters, in Ohio, where, according to the Time survey, Obama has rolled up a 2-to-1 edge in early voting.
While the peripherals to the campaign — among them, the media — obsess and grind their teeth over the polls, the campaign professionals are increasingly focused on the ground itself. Which means that the election, 13 days away, is rapidly drawing to the point where it is pried away from the peripherals and even the candidates themselves, and heads to the jury. In that transaction, the ground game plays the middleman.
-- Jim O’Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Obama Launches Two-Day Blitz, Romney Also Ups Pace
[Associated Press, 10/24/12] With just two weeks left before the election and all three of their debates behind them, the candidates turned to travel — a lot of it. Obama is set to cover 5,300 miles on Wednesday in the busiest single day of his reelection bid, while Romney is also picking up the pace.
Poll: Obama Leads by 5 in Ohio
[Time, 10/24/12] Obama leads Romney 49 percent to 44 percent, outside the margin of error, among voters who have voted or plan to vote, according Time’s poll. The race is tied among likely voters who have not voted, but Obama’s lead in early voting is giving him the edge.
Romney Campaign Stands by Mourdock
[CBS News, 10/24/12] Though Romney “disagrees” with the Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s stance on the issue, he is sticking by the tea party-backed Republican after the latter's controversial comments on rape. In a debate on Tuesday, Mourdock said, “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something God intended to happen.”
Tagg Romney Apologizes to Obama
[USA Today, 10/24/12] Mitt’s eldest son apologized to the president onstage following the final presidential debate Monday for comments he had made following the second debate. He had told a North Carolina radio station that Obama’s characterizations of his father at the second debate made him want to “jump out of my seat … rush down to the debate stage, and take a swing at him.”
Meet the Undecided Voter
[Politico, 10/24/12] There aren’t many true persuadables left in the electorate, but with the race within just a few percentage points nationally and within the margin of error in a handful of battleground states, both campaign are zeroing in on them in the homestretch. But what are the issues these voters turn on?
Florida Officials Investigate Fake Voter-Eligibility Letters
[NPR, 10/23/12] Florida officials say they're now investigating fake letters that have been sent to voters — mostly Republican — in at least 20 counties questioning their citizenship and eligibility to vote.
Big Romney Fundraiser in Chicago Days Before Election
[Chicago Tribune, 10/23/12] Mitt Romney will hold a fundraiser in Chicago on Friday, the same time Obama will be in the Windy City to vote early and rally his staff. Romney is looking for last-minute ad money just four days before Election Day.
After Editor's Blog, Obama Releases Transcript of Interview
[Des Moines Register, 10/24/12] The Obama campaign has allowed The Des Moines Register to release the transcript from an off-the-record conversation with the president from Tuesday following public complaints from the newspaper’s editor.
Senate Control May Hinge on Presidential Race
[National Journal, 10/24/12] The battle for the Senate is remarkably close, as NJ’s Josh Kraushaar writes, and control could end up being determined by the outcome of the presidential contest. If Romney wins, three seats is enough for Republicans to win control; if Obama wins, Republicans would need to net four seats for a majority.
How Obama Won Ohio in 2008 — and Whether He Can Do It Again
[Washington Post, 10/24/12] Obama won Ohio in 2008 by overperforming among black and youth voters. New poll numbers suggest that Obama is, at the moment, coming close to replicating his margins among those two key demographic groups in the Buckeye State. The question is whether he can maintain those margins in the face of a race that has moved nationally toward Romney.
Clint Eastwood, Minus Chair, Cuts Ad for Romney
[National Journal, 10/24/12] A new ad supporting Romney from super PAC American Crossroads entitled “At Stake” features actor and director Clint Eastwood, this time in a more somber tone and minus any stage props.
Foreign-Policy Debate’s Omissions Highlight Skewed Worldview
[The New York Times, 10/23/12] Iran was mentioned more than 45 times, Israel and China more than 30 times each, NATO was not uttered, and the euro and its crisis was not mentioned at all. The candidates seemed to be debating foreign policy with domestic constituencies in swing states foremost in mind.
Opinion: Scapegoating China for U.S. Domestic Woes Unwise
[Xinhua, 10/24/12] Wang Aihua of the Chinese news agency writes that the presidential candidates should realize that simply blaming China for America’s domestic woes will not solve the America’s domestic problems. Aihua pushes back on the candidates’ accusations that China has “stolen” American jobs and “manipulated” its currency.
GOP Nominees Pack Red Rock Ampitheatre to Capacity
[Denver Post, 10/24/12] Roughly 10,000 people packed into the concert venue west of Denver, with thousands more turned away at the door, for Romney’s biggest rally in Colorado by far. Romney repeatedly said Obama was out of touch and out of ideas.
When the First Lady Talks, Do Women Listen?
[National Journal, 10/24/12] As the candidates fight over female voters, Michelle Obama’s popularity could be pivotal. For many women, particularly minorities, the first lady is an inspiration and a role model – but she hasn’t always been so popular.
What Are Obama’s and Romney’s Plans for the Next Four Years?
[CBS News, 10/24/12] CBS News compiled, in their own words, Obama’s and Romney’s agendas on six major issues facing the nation: jobs, taxes, the deficit, energy, entitlements and health care.
Obama’s 11th-Hour Strategy Shift
[Politico, 10/24/12] Romney’s late-game comeback in the first debate robbed Obama of his momentum and forced the president’s team to make a subtle yet significant change to their closing argument: Team Obama had intended to highlight four years of “solid, steady progress” in the race’s final days, but the new pressure on Obama to prove himself led his campaign to release a plan for his second term.
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