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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Eight State Strategy: Open Thread

So seeing the writing on the wall the Romney/Ryan campaign plans to “carpet-bomb” the airwaves of just eight key states:

Romney is targeting eight states: Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and New Hampshire. No Wisconsin, Michigan, or Pennsylvania. This is surely not because Romney is husbanding scarce cash.

Jonathan Chait – Romney’s Playing Field Narrows New York 7 Sep 12

A move potentially worrisome for supporters, such as they are.  It is also strategically defensive and targeting an extremely narrow, one might say daring, margin of victory:

The eight states where Romney is competing add up to a neat 100 electoral votes, of which Romney needs 79 and Obama just 23.

Jonathan Chait – Romney’s Playing Field Narrows New York 7 Sep 12

Romney has basically spent his way through the primaries running round-the-clock broadcast offensives against all comers as the need arose.  And it seemed to work.

Given the current polling while noting that Romney lacks charisma, retail politicking ability, enthusiastic support and has chosen a mendacious opportunist for a running mate, one supposes we are about to witness the first full-scale field test of whether or not it is possible to simply purchase the presidential election.  That and voter suppression are all they’ve got left.


  1. HappyinVT

    Balloon Juice who also lives in Vermont says that she hasn’t seen any Romney ads in the last few days (no Obama ads either but if NH is no longer worth fighting over that makes sense).

    Latest PPP poll has POTUS up 5 in Ohio so, without getting overly confident, things look good at the moment.  So good in fact that an anonymous Romney adviser is telling the media not to focus on the latest polls (but also gave Romney a 4-5 point post-convention bounce from somewhere).

  2. Shaun Appleby

    Maybe an outlier, but still it will give Republicans gallstones:

    A new Kimball Political Consulting (R) survey in Massachusetts finds Sen. Scott Brown (R) barely ahead of challenger Elizabeth Warren (D) among likely voters, 46% to 45%.

    Taegan Goddard – Dead Heat in Massachusetts Political Wire 10 Sep 12

    That’s more like it.  Now for the House…

  3. Shaun Appleby

    Poor Ezra:

    Mitt Romney had a kind of a strange weekend. He went on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and articulated pretty much the same position he’s always had on Obamacare. He got off “Meet the Press” and found himself in the middle of a firestorm over why he’d changed his position on Obamacare.

    The problem for Romney is that he’s been trying to articulate a position on this issue that’s too clever by much more than half.

    Ezra Klein – When being vague backfires Washington Post 10 Sep 12

    Caught between the devil and the Post editorial board, serial mendacity becomes “too clever by much more than half.”  Let me show you how it is done:

    Here, the Republican candidate entertained us by doing the entire “Make ‘Em Laugh” routine from Singin’ In The Rain atop his own dick.

    MR. ROMNEY: Well, I’m not getting rid of all of healthcare reform. Of course, there are a number of things that I like in healthcare reform that I’m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their – their family up to whatever age they might like. I also want individuals to be able to buy insurance, health insurance, on their own as opposed to only being able to get it on a tax advantage basis through their company.

    GREGORY: Well, that brings us to Medicare, because one of the things you believe in was the idea of premium support or a voucher for seniors under Medicare is to achieve the goal of solvency.

    No. Stop. Do not go ahead to Medicare yet. The man just tried to sell you gallstones for oysters right there. Not only is he completely reversing himself on “repeal and replace” right there before your eyes – presto! – but also, he’s attempting to argue that he can do some of the stuff nationally that he did in Massachusetts, but without the individual mandate that his base believes will soon have the black helicopters hovering around their medicine chests. You cannot have what he says he wants to keep unless you keep the mandate. That’s why, along with all the goodies he mentioned, we have one in Massachusetts. He knows that. He negotiated the damn bill.

    Charles P Pierce – What Are the Gobshites Saying These Days? Esquire 10 Sep 12

    See how easy it is?  And please, please don’t give these sideshow touts a pass when their minders slink over afterwards and “clarify” the candidate’s true position, whatever it is, in spite of whatever manipulative, crowd-pleasing pander has just been broadcast coast-to-coast on national television.

  4. fogiv

    how much more of this narrative can they take before the anti-obama superPACs (notice i didn’t say pro-romney) decide to cut losses and divert cash into trying to keep a grip on the house?

  5. fogiv

    Mr. Romney’s reluctance to outline a thoughtful policy on Afghanistan does not make it go away. To the contrary, it only ratifies President Obama’s contention that the only choice is between getting out quick and an open-ended commitment as far as the eye can see.

    That is a disservice. It is, first, a disservice to the stronger foreign policy Mr. Romney is alleged to represent. Does he really believe, for example, that the Israelis will be encouraged and the Iranians deterred by expressions of resolve from a political leader so reluctant to bring up a war Americans are actually fighting?


    They deserve better. Even at his most unpopular, President Bush got his surge and his war funding by taking his case to the American people. If Mr. Romney wants to be America’s commander in chief, he ought to start presenting himself as one.

  6. fogiv


    Conventional wisdom would have it that some middle- and lower-income whites in the South might be prejudiced against voting for a black man for president. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll confirms that is true.

    But in a perverse kind of good fortune for the nation’s first African American president, the survey shows that this group of Southern whites has an even bigger block against voting for a candidate who is Mormon or who they consider “very wealthy.”


    Reuters data gathered over several months showed that 38% of middle- to lower-income whites across the Bible Belt said they would be less likely to vote for a “very wealthy” politician running against one who isn’t. The same survey showed 20% less likely to vote for an African American.

    Exemplifying the odd constellation of prejudice for some in the region, Reuters reporter Margot Roosevelt told the story of a 52-year-old white woman from Lynchburg who – after voting twice for George W. Bush – is ready to support President Obama this fall.

    Sheryl Harris believes Obama is a Muslim, but also thinks Democrats are more in touch with those who have less. She said she will vote for Obama, adding: “At least he wasn’t brought up filthy rich.”

    This could have a tangible effect in VA and NC, no?

  7. Shaun Appleby

    Since last week and while Obama’s polling performance has been great it isn’t quite the “turning point” we dare hope it is.  The significance change in this post-convention period is the increasingly public perception that Romney’s campaign has been poorly conceived and indifferently managed:

    It is becoming clear that if President Obama is reelected, it will be despite the economy and because of his campaign; if Mitt Romney wins, it will be because of the economy and despite his campaign.

    Charlie Cook – Romney Adrift National Journal 11 Sep 12

    Romney’s campaign strategy has been entirely predicated on electoral concerns about the economy and they have been confidently waiting for the polling to swing their way as they cruise in policy-free dignity to the Oval Office.  It’s that simple; and like so many astronomers calculating gravitational perturbations of visible heavenly bodies they have been pointing their telescopes into the empty, dark skies and declaiming, “Lo! It will appear at any moment, just be patient…”  But it hasn’t happened.

    The time for readjusting this strategy is receding rapidly and the patience of their allies is largely spent; that is what has changed in the last week.  Witness the flurry of unsolicited, and largely unwelcome, expert advice now pouring in from all corners of the Right on how to revise their campaign and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat:

    This remains a close presidential contest, in which Obama has significant vulnerabilities. But Romney does not appear to have a route to victory that allows him to coast. If he plays not to lose, he seems likely to lose.

    Micheal Gerson – Mitt Romney’s uphill challenge Washington Post 11 Sep 12

    The last thing they need now is process stories about their apparent mismanagement of the campaign; not to mention Rush Limbaugh’s assertion that an Obama victory spells the end of the Republican Party itself.

    Voters are not as dumb as they seem sometimes, or as we often tend to stereotype them; a campaign is a microcosm of an administration’s management style and competence and most voters understand this without having to have it explained to them.  So the Romney campaign has yet more self-inflicted, and increasingly weighty, ballast to carry between now and election day.  Barring some miracle their prospects for changing this perception are not going to change overnight if at all.

  8. Shaun Appleby

    File under “Et tu Brutii?:”

    House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) welcomed House Republicans back to Washington Tuesday and said that Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate “validated all the work House Republicans have done over the past 19 months.”

    Ed O’Keefe – John Boehner: Paul Ryan VP pick validates House GOP Washington Post 11 Sep 12

    The Onion is obsolete, reality trumps the most surreal satire.

  9. Strummerson

    Seems weird the Ambassador didn’t have a more significant security detail.

    Sad day.  Hope my subject line doesn’t come across as crass as Romney’s statement…

  10. fogiv

    his ‘statements’ regarding libya/egypt are way beyond the pale. what a mudhole this guy is.

    and i’ll put this out there: does the flame up over this youtube movie (which i’d never even heard of before yesterday)seem fishy at all?

  11. fogiv

    President Obama suggested Wednesday that Mitt Romney acted too quickly in responding to the U.S. embassy in Cairo’s statement condemning an anti-Islam video.

    “There’s a broader lesson to be learned here. Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later,” Obama said in an interview with CBS News’s Steve Kroft that was scheduled before four Americans were killed Tuesday at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

    “As president, one of the things I’ve learned is you can’t do that,” Obama added. “It’s important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts and that you’ve thought through the ramifications before you make them.”

    Asked if Romney’s remarks were irresponsible, Obama responded: “I’ll let the American people judge that.”

  12. To Romney, people are head count.

    That’s all you need to know about him, to know he should never ever be president of this or any other country.  Not even Somalia.

  13. fogiv

    Scarbrough (highlights):

    Voters who like moderates can’t trust him. Conservatives who are desperate for victory don’t believe him. And the election Republicans should be winning seems to be slipping further from their grasp.

    Ingraham argued that if Republicans couldn’t win this year, they should shut the party down.

    She’s right.

    How can it be that this man who turned around countless businesses, saved the 2002 Olympics and ran Democratic Massachusetts like a pro be the head of such a disastrous campaign?

    Who was responsible for burying his moving convention video behind the bumbling bluster of Clint Eastwood?

    Who told Mr. Romney to issue a political broadside against the commander in chief the day after a U.S. ambassador was murdered?

    And who decided that Romney would use his general election campaign to stand for absolutely nothing?

    …Mitt Romney refuses to lay out a plan to balance the budget before 2040. He doesn’t specify cuts, he doesn’t propose eliminating agencies and he doesn’t explain how his tax cuts will be offset. When it comes to balancing the budget, Mr. Romney has no plan.

    so much more:

  14. Strummerson

    When the GOP candidate thoroughly loses McCain’s former chief of staff and top presidential campaign adviser on foreign police, he’s really stepped in it.

    Just skip the opening qualifiers where he slams Obama’s foreign policy (and gets it wrong on almost every point) and jump to his discussion of both why these attacks should not be blamed on the Pres., how no one apologized, and how Romney is a total Mitt.


  15. fogiv

    At least three Republican electors say they may not support their party’s presidential ticket when the Electoral College meets in December to formally elect the new president, escalating tensions within the GOP and adding a fresh layer of intrigue to the final weeks of the White House race.

    The electors – all are supporters of former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul – told The Associated Press they are exploring options should Mitt Romney win their states. They expressed frustration at how Republican leaders have worked to suppress Paul’s conservative movement and his legion of loyal supporters.

  16. Strummerson

    Denise posted a link to buzzfeed pictures from a rally in Libya in a diary over at GOS.

    There a several signs that read “No to insult to our Prophet.  No to insult Islam.  No to terrorism.”  Many express condolences and appreciation for Ambassador Stevens.

  17. Strummerson

    given Romney has demonstrated that his maladroitness is chronic, what do we think will be his next major blunder?  He has time for a few more before election day.

    And why have we stopped talking about his refusal to level with voters about his finances and taxes?  He was betting that a “keep resisting and eventually they will stop talking about it strategy” would work.  We can’t let that happen.  Unless this whole Libya response debacle is one in a series of diversionary maneuvers…  Doesn’t seem his campaign is capable of strategic thinking though.

  18. And the worst of it all, Mitt’s statement crowing at the Benghazi dead was thought through

    So far, just about the only statements of support Romney has managed to elicit have come from discredited neocons (Bill Kristol, Liz Cheney), paleo-cons (Donald Rumsfeld, John Bolton), and nutty-cons (Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint). Meanwhile, John McCain and Condoleezza Rice, arguably the G.O.P.’s two most influential voices on foreign policy, have conspicuously failed to criticize Obama, while paying tribute to Ambassador Chris Stevens, the longtime foreign-service officer who was killed.

    About the best that can be said for Romney is that, responding to the public statements from the U.S. Embassy in Egypt, he took a cynical tactical gamble that misfired after the protests in Libya took a tragic turn. When you are losing an election that you should win you have to do something, and accusing a Democratic President of being soft on national security is a standard G.O.P. fallback.

    Even this defense of Romney’s actions is a bit of a stretch.

    On Tuesday night, when his campaign released its initial statement, it was already clear that one U.S. consulate official in Benghazi had been killed, though the person’s name and job title weren’t yet known. Perhaps Romney was assuming it was a low-level employee, maybe not an American citizen. Still, going on the offensive in this manner before all the facts were known was inviting trouble. And if that was foolhardy, Romney’s decision on Wednesday morning to double down-this after the news emerged that Stevens and three other consulate officials had been killed-was virtually inexplicable. “It almost feels like Sarah Palin is his foreign policy adviser,” Matthew Dowd, a former political adviser to President George W. Bush, told the Washington Post. “It’s just a huge mistake on the Romney campaign’s part-huge mistake.”

    Obama’s subsequent jibe that Romney “shoots first and aims later” hit home. But perhaps the most disturbing thing about this whole incident is that it wasn’t simply a spontaneous gaffe on the part of the G.O.P. candidate. It was debated and thought through. According to the same report in today’s Washington Post, Romney acted on the “unanimous recommendation of his foreign policy and political advisers.”

    Read more

  19. Shaun Appleby

    To be a mixed bag on foreign policy.  There’s a few positive signs and Blake Hounshell seems to think the protests aren’t as extensive as they might be:

    Friday could prove me wrong but so far, isn’t the real story how small all these anti-U.S. protests have been? @blakehounshell

    Libya has arrested four “inciters,” the Muslim Brotherhood is apparently coaxing demonstrations away from the US embassy in Cairo and the State Department doubts that al Qaeda was directly involved in the assassination in Benghazi.  We shall see.

    My hunch is that short of some blunder Americans are going to quietly endorse a foreign policy that keeps the US at arm’s length from the security issues of various Middle Eastern and South Asian nations.  I think Obama’s equivocation over Egypt’s status as an “ally” was intentional and acceptable; it seems crafted to go down reasonably well both at home and among our allies in the region while putting Egypt’s fragile leadership on notice.

    What do the rest of you think?  Anyone feel like opening a new thread?

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