Michael Tomasky digs up a one-minute clip of FDR speaking in 1936.
Jonathan Chait: “President Obama’s first debate was disastrous in two distinct ways. He appeared listless and professorial, unable to boil down his beliefs into crisp statements, and generally looked far less like a president than did Romney — forceful, poised, firing off bullet points with measured assurance. On top of that, he allowed Romney to execute, in the course of 90 minutes, the sort of ideological repositioning he usually requires months or even years to pull off, defining himself to middle America as a health-care-loving, tax-cut-for-the-rich-abhorring, anti-Wall Street Massachusetts moderate.”
“Obama’s dilemma in his second debate is that he can fix the first problem a lot more easily than the second.”
Howard Kurtz: “Obama may improve and even beat the media’s expectations. But there’s no
way he can clobber Romney without committing more personal fouls than a
president is allowed in a general election.”
Despite recent polls showing close races in Pennsylvania and Michigan, a top Romney adviser tells Politico he doesn’t expect the campaign to focus on them this late in the game.
Said the adviser: “I won’t blow smoke at you with Pennsylvania and Michigan, even though there are polls showing that they’re in sight. I absolutely believe they’re close. It’s just, to go in, to move three points in Pennsylvania is different than moving three points in New Hampshire.”
Deadspin: “You’re going to hear a lot about ‘shared sacrifice’ from the NHL in the days and weeks to come. That’s the word from inside a secret emergency PR focus group, in which a top Republican Party strategist tested pro-ownership messages on a captive audience of hockey fans. One of those fans shared the documents with us, for a sneak preview of the propaganda campaign the NHL will be unloading on the public as the lockout drags on.”
Mitt Romney’s joint fundraising committee that has raised the lion’s share of the cash credited to his campaign, revealed last night “that it had transferred $44 million to the GOP’s national congressional committees and the state parties in Idaho, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Vermont,” Politico reports.
“The party committees – none of them in swing states – have wide latitude in how and where they choose to spend the Romney Victory cash. They are all controlled by Romney allies, and the funds will most likely be used for get-out-the-vote operations, but the recipient state party committees could technically spend it on TV ads or any other expense related to any federal election, and the congressional committees can’t directly coordinate their spending with Romney.”
The DNC launches RomneyTaxPlan.com.
First Read: “It was less than two weeks ago when, before the first presidential debate in Denver, we wrote that Mitt Romney was facing a crucial moment in his campaign. It was coming right after President Obama’s convention bounce, the scrutiny over the 47% comment, and all the handwringing over the state of the Romney campaign. How quickly the narrative can change. Now it’s Obama facing a crucial moment — to fully turn the page on that first debate performance. The president isn’t behind, and he still holds more paths to 270 electoral votes. But he needs to stop Romney’s momentum and get it back on his side. Our bottom line: Tonight is all about suburban women; it has been Obama’s demographic firewall. Romney has made progress with them on his fav rating and on handling the economy, but not on ballot test. Tonight will tell us whether he continues to make progress.”
“With Super Bowl-size audiences tuning into what has become
a weekly political miniseries, President Obama cannot afford another
performance like the one he had in Denver — where even supporters said
he was lackluster and timid.”
Ross Perot endorses Mitt Romney in a Des Moines Register op-ed:
“These are leadership qualities that are sorely needed in Washington
today. President Obama promised a great deal. He has had his chance. The
results are visible for all to see. It is time for a new beginning. It
is time for Mitt Romney.”
First Read: “Yes, this is one rich man endorsing another rich man. And Perot’s
politics have always been Republican leaning. But the issue Perot is
best known for — the deficit — is something that potentially plays
well in Iowa, with older voters who remember who Perot is. And so the
endorsement carries symbolic importance.”
It’s worth noting that just two weeks ago Perot said he would not make an endorsement.
A Center for Rural Strategies poll in 9 swing states finds Mitt Romney crushing President Obama among rural voters, 59% to 37%, a plunge of 10 points from the actual rural vote in those states four years ago.
Last month, a similar rural survey in the same battleground states had a smaller 51% to 38% margin for Romney.
Mark Halperin: “Here’s why some Democrats are worried tonight. If Romney wins the three Southern battlegrounds (FL, NC, and VA) and OH, he is at 266 electoral votes. Leaving the other five battlegrounds unallocated, that means Obama would be at 237 and Romney would only need to win one of the remaining five states to get to 270+. See the map above.”
“One senior Democratic official expressed real concern tonight unlike I have heard before about Ohio potentially slipping away from Obama (the state has been trending Republican in statewide races, Rob Portman has become a force, religious and gun groups are flooding the state with voter contacts, two of Romney’s top strategists have recently won a statewide race there, etc).”
Meanwhile, Harry Enten explores Romney’s possible, but more complicated, routes to victory.
The New York Times Magazine has a must-read profile of Paul Ryan and his quick rise through Republicans ranks.
“Ryan is gifted at shrouding a cutthroat ambition in sheepish nonchalance. It is a key political still — trying constantly to impress without looking as if you’re trying — and one that has eluded many politicians past and present. He is also deft at conveying precision and specificity without being the least bit precise or specific. He has honed his image carefully and promotes it relentlessly on the stump.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CNN the buck stops with her when it comes to who is to blame for security ahead of a deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Said Clinton: “I take responsibility.”
She also insisted President Obama and Vice President Biden are not involved in security decisions adding, “I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha” just before an election.
Former Sen. George McGovern (D-SD), the Democratic presidential candidate who lost to President Richard Nixon in a historic landslide, has moved into hospice care near his home in South Dakota, the AP reports.
Said daughter Ann McGovern: “He’s coming to the end of his life.”
The Tennessee Department of Health has been asked to investigate evidence that Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) “had a sexual relationship with a patient, an allegation that could open the congressman to disciplinary action for violating medical ethics,” the Tennessean reports.
The complaint was filed “following reports that he encouraged an unnamed woman to have an abortion after she told him she was carrying his child.” The woman was a patient of DesJarlais.
Walter DeVries, a longtime aide to George Romney, “issued a harshly worded critique of Mitt Romney, accusing him of shifting political positions in ‘erratic and startling ways’ and failing to live up to the distinguished record of his father, the former governor of Michigan,” the New York Times reports.
De Vries, who worked for the senior Mr. Romney throughout the 1960s, wrote that Mitt Romney’s bid for the White House was “a far cry from the kind of campaign and conduct, as a public servant, I saw during the seven years I worked in George Romney’s campaigns and served him as governor.”
He added: “While it seems that Mitt would say and do anything to close a deal – or an election. George Romney’s strength as a politician and public officeholder was his ability and determination to develop and hold consistent policy positions over his life.”