• Rising Romney Takes Ride to Election Epicenter Ohio

    by Michael Mathes

    Aboard Mitt Romney’s Plane, Oct 9, 2012 (AFP) – Riding a polling surge, Republican Mitt Romney set course for Ohio Tuesday for an intensive campaign swing as the fabled state again loomed as possible kingmaker in a US election.

    President Barack Obama was also piling into the Midwestern battleground to shore up his flank after a clear shift in momentum towards Romney following the Republican challenger’s barnstorming debate performance last week.

    Romney was first stopping in another close swing state, Iowa, seeking to build on his polling wave to make inroads towards 270 electoral votes on a political map that still favors Obama, despite wobbles in his campaign.

    Republicans are increasingly excited by Romney’s prospects in an election four weeks from Tuesday, after national polls and state surveys showed clear movement towards their man, who revived his campaign in Denver’s debate.

    Shockwaves were reverberating from a Pew Research Center poll Monday that showed Romney up four points on Obama nationwide, and several polls showed a narrowing of the race in states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, which had seemed solid Obama territory.

    Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll Tuesday had Obama and Romney tied at 48 percent, while other national surveys suggested the race had stabilized with the rivals effectively deadlocked as the dust settled six days after the debate.

    Romney’s senior adviser Kevin Madden told reporters the Romney camp was not getting carried away with favorable news.

    “I think you can’t put too much stock in this idea of momentum. It’s a very elusive thing,” he said aboard Romney’s campaign plane.

    “We still believe this is going to be a campaign that is very close, but we do see a lot of enthusiasm from a lot of our core supporters, and we see a lot of undecided voters that are taking a new look at Governor Romney.”

    The focus is now turning to Thursday’s debate clash between Vice President Joe Biden and Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan, which is seen as key to Obama’s hopes of checking Romney’s sudden surge.

    Obama has tried to reassure disappointed Democrats that he is still hungry for victory ahead of his debate rematches with Romney on October 16 and 22.

    “Listen, after the debate, I had a bunch of folks come to me (saying) — ‘don’t be so polite, don’t be so nice.’”

    “But I want everybody to understand something — what was being presented wasn’t leadership, that’s salesmanship,” Obama said in San Francisco Monday.

    At another event, Obama vowed: “I am pretty competitive and I very much intend to win this election.”

    Obama was due at Ohio State University later Tuesday to urge younger voters, a demographic group with a traditionally unreliable turnout record, to get out to vote in November.

    In a state race that could come down to which side mobilizes its base vote, Romney is also shifting resources into Ohio, after complaints by some Republicans that he left an Obama advertising blitz unanswered.

    Later Tuesday and Wednesday Romney will be joined by blunt speaking New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, widely mocked last week when he predicted the debate would change the race, only for his tip to be proven right.

    Romney was starting his Ohio tour in Cuyahoga Falls, outside Cleveland, days after Obama campaigned in the city, one of the major population clusters that will decide who wins the state.

    Obama still has a three point lead in a RealClearPolitics average of recent polls though new post debate polls will be expected to steer the race into a tie in the coming days.

    No Republican has reached the White House without winning Ohio, and it was a narrow win there in 2004 that sent George W. Bush back to the White House.

    Obama senior advisor David Plouffe warned reporters to follow polling data in Ohio before they make sweeping conclusions about how the debate impacted the president’s hopes of winning a second term on November 6.

    Romney’s itinerary Tuesday was no mistake: should Obama win both Iowa and Ohio, the Republican would have to counter with victory in several states seen as solidly Democratic if he is to oust the president from the White House.

    The Obama campaign Tuesday had a sarcastic new ad pecking the Republican over his plan to cut subsidies for PBS television, home of the Sesame Street kids show and the Big Bird character.

    “Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about, it’s Sesame Street,” the ad said, jokingly describing the furry yellow muppet as the “evil genius” towering over financial felons like Ken Lay and Bernie Madoff.

    “Mitt Romney. Taking on our enemies, no matter where they nest,” the announcer of the television ad says, pressing home Obama’s contention that Romney would let Wall Street run wild.

    Madden replied that it was “troubling that the president’s message — the president’s focus — 28 days from election day is Big Bird.”

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