Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were, with apologies to Hunter S. Thompson, somewhere around Lima on the edge of the Ohio River Valley when the drugs began to take hold.
The pharmaceutical in question, of course, is the same one that’s had a stimulative effect on Republican presidential candidates from Abraham Lincoln to William Howard Taft to George W. Bush. No Republican has won the presidency without securing the Buckeye State, ever. It is an opiate of enormous political seduction, and helps explain why Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, appeared over Romney’s right shoulder during a midair availability on Sunday.
And why Ryan was in Lima this morning, will be in Cincinnati on Tuesday, and will team up with Romney for a rally near Dayton on Tuesday night. They’re treated to a fortuitous bit of counterprogramming in that President Obama will be appearing on The View, which is taped in Manhattan, and speaking to both the U.N General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative. That leaves a lot of space in the hard-hat wing of the electorate.
Romney and Ryan need Ohio in the worst way possible, heirs to an electoral addiction that has gone uncured for a century and a half. With 43 days until Election Day, expect Romney and Ryan to do everything they can not to break the habit.
-- Jim O’Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Romney Heads to Swing State Ohio
[Real Clear Politics, 9/24/12] No Republican has won the White House without carrying Ohio, while the last Democrat to win the presidency without the Buckeye State was JFK. Both candidates need to begin closing arguments there this week, as early voting starts on Oct. 2, but Ohio is large, diverse, and fickle.
Could Republicans Lose the House?
[Weekly Standard, 9/24/12] Editor William Kristol is worried about a new poll showing Democrats ahead of Republicans on a generic House ballot. If Obama’s lead endures, Kristol believes the GOP majority will be in jeopardy.
Poll: Obama Pulls Ahead of Romney
[Politico, 9/24/12] A Politico/GWU/Battleground poll released on Monday finds Obama leading 50 percent to 47 percent, within the margin of error. Romney’s unfavorable rating is up three points from early August to 49 percent, but he leads by two points among independents.
Romney Camp Talks of Dialing Down Fund-Raising
[New York Times, 9/24/12] Though Romney and his Republican allies have the money advantage, Romney’s fundraising requires more time-consuming events with big donors. With advertisements already saturating the airwaves, Romney is looking to spend more time on the ground in swing states.
Colorado Remaining Red Among Blue-Leaning Battlegrounds
[National Journal, 9/24/12] Obama and Romney are fighting this week to claim Colorado’s key nine electoral votes -- a prize that represents a legitimate opportunity for Romney to win the race. The state went blue in 2010, but support for Obama has dropped off in recent years.
Obama: Ads Sometimes 'Go Overboard'
[National Journal, 9/24/12] In an unaired portion of his interview with 60 Minutes, Obama acknowledged that some ads from his campaign and supporting super PACs sometimes “go overboard,” but said that’s part of politics. Meanwhile, both campaigns released new attack ads this week.
Sheldon Adelson: Inside the Mind of the Mega-Donor
[Politico, 9/23/12] Mike Allen snagged. a two-hour sit-down with the casino magnate who is pouring in millions in campaign cash for Republicans. Adelson explained his antipathy for Obama and saidhe doesn’t expect anything for his troubles, just “two potato pancakes” -- because the last time he was at the White House, they ran out.
Poll Analysis: Romney's Chances Are in Jeopardy
[The New Republic, 9/24/12] The left-leaning magazine's Nate Cohn analyzes the polls and sees a persistent four-point lead for Obama nationally and broad advantages in important battleground states. He concludes that “Obama’s a heavy favorite for reelection.” And here are 5 maps that reveal Romney's narrow electoral path.
Obama Saw Welfare Recipients as 'Majority Coalition'
[Daily Caller, 9/24/12] The conservative website obtained the full recording of Obama’s 1998 talk that has come under recent scrutiny and reveals that Obama saw welfare recipients and the working poor in Chicago as a potential “majority coalition” who could be leveraged politically.
Romney's Balanced Budget: Tall Order
[CNN, 9/24/12] Unless the economy grows much faster than the Congressional Budget Office projects, Romney would likely need to cut funding nearly in half across many areas of government in order to balance the federal budget by 2020. CNN breaks down where he would have to cut.
Axelrod: 'Not the Time' to Discuss Social Security Reform
[The Hill, 9/24/12] Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod in an interview today avoided laying out specifics on how the president would reform Social Security, arguing that now is “not the time” to talk about the details of reform.
Romney, Obama Defend Economic Stances on '60 Minutes'
[National Journal, 9/23/12] Romney defended his decision not to include specifics in his tax plan, saying that he will work together with people across the aisle on the details; Obama blamed his economic woes on the inherited deficit, two wars, and the Bush tax cuts.
Republicans to Romney: You're No Reagan
[Politico, 9/23/12] The 1980 race between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan has become the Romney campaign’s go-to analogy as he struggles in the polls. But the comparison doesn’t hold up well under scrutiny: The electoral map was friendlier for Reagan, and the incumbent was more vulnerable.
Early Voting Forces Presidential Campaigns to Alter Tactics
[Los Angeles Times, 9/24/12] When Election Day dawns, more than 45 million Americans are expected to have already voted -- a record number. This trend is altering the calculus of the campaigns, particularly in battleground states: The ad wars, for instance, are expected to reach maximum intensity by Oct. 1.
Among Some Ryan Backers, Disappointment in Romney Campaign
[Washington Post, 9/24/12] There has been mounting concern among Republicans in the past few weeks that Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan has made the bold policy wonk Ryan look more like the vague, cautious Romney -- instead of the other way around.
Voter ID Battles Churn in Key Battleground States
[Charlotte Observer, 9/24/12] Six weeks before Election Day, states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and South Carolina are still wrestling over new voting laws. The Observer’s Jim Morrill writes that in North Carolina, it's the absence of such a law that has become an issue in the state's gubernatorial race.
Disgruntled Youth Slam Obama in New Romney Web Video
[BuzzFeed, 9/24/12] Romney is working to move the young people who voted for the president in 2008, and this new web video shows disillusioned youth discussing their frustration with the president’s empty promises: “I didn’t vote for this.”
Romney Hits Obama for 'Very Inaccurate' Attacks
[National Journal, 9/24/12] Romney blamed Obama’s “very inaccurate portrayals” of his own positions for his deficit in key swing states, but said he relished the opportunity to explain his positions directly to voters during the upcoming debates.
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