- The top story of this week: polls, polls, and more polls. Romney fell behind this past week in states he must win (Ohio, Florida). He still trails nationally. Journalists confronting Romney and Ryan with the numbers received something more novel then outright optimism this week when Ryan questioned the validity of a Wisconsin Poll that showed his campaign behind in his home state. Romney’s staff has voiced similar dissent when confronted with the numbers, going so far as to say they “hope the Obama campaign” is using those numbers to strategize. Republicans are questioning the validity of the polls, claiming most pollsters are over-sampling Democrats. After dismissing the Wisconsin poll, Ryan declined to get “into all the methodologies of it.” Stay tuned for an Riding the Tiger that will get “into all the methodologies of it” in the coming weeks.
- Noam Scheiber of the New Republic says that Paul Ryan has been “deadly” for the Romney campaign. Setting aside Roger Simon’s political satire that has Ryan referring to Romney as “The Stench,” Ryan himself may be the variable responsible for the Romney campaign’s recent slide in the polls—then again, he may not. But both journalists reintroduce a question thought to have been settled a month and a half ago: why Ryan?
- Romney comparisons continued to float around this week, the latest of which is even less flattering than Carter (see Justin Peck’s post). Is Romney the new Michael Dukakis?
- A rare bipartisan consensus emerged this week. I’m referring, of course, to the bispartisan consensus that the incompetence of replacement referees was damaging the legitimacy of the NFL, and to the labor agreement that put the referees fans are used to hating back to work. Both President Obama and Governor Romney called for an agreement, and one referee has since acknowledged it as a tipping point. If only the partisans could reach agreement on resolving more pressing concerns to Americans – like the Fiscal Cliff.
- One Utah resident sent an email that has since gone national, calling for Mormons to pray and fast on Romney’s behalf. Religion hasn’t been the campaign issue it was in 2008. Uneasiness about then-candidate Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and that famous sound bite of Wright proclaiming “God damn America!” forced Obama to prove his faith credentials. Early in the GOP primary, pundit’s speculated Romney’s faith would become an issue to Evangelicals. A new Pew Research Center poll finds, however, that faith is not the issue of concern for most voters. Instead, the electorate is “significantly more interested in Mitt Romney's tax returns and gubernatorial record than in his beliefs.”
- Romney attempted to shift the focus to foreign policy this week, a policy area in which Republicans have enjoyed the advantage over the last four decades. Romney criticized Obama’s defense spending cuts and his response to the violence in Syria.
The other day the president said that, you know, he has a vision for what’s going to happen in the Middle East, but that there are going to be bumps in the road along the way…I don’t consider 20- or 30,000 people dying in Syria just a bump in the road, or a Muslim brotherhood president in Egypt a bump in the road. I don’t consider the killing of our diplomats in Libya a bump in the road, and I sure as heck don’t consider Iran becoming nuclear a bump in the road.
But it’s not clear whether the attacks will work. A Gallup Poll out this week shows that Americans trust the federal government to handle international problems and the poll suggests that President Obama may benefit from his "commander in chief" role in his bid for a second term. Furthermore the Real Clear Politics Average of President Obama’s foreign policy job approval hovers at 49 percent.
- While both Obama and Romney continue their “tough on China” talk, Obama may have the upper hand. Today, he vetoed the purchase of windfarms by a Chinese company—reminding us that incumbent presidents have an arsenal of action at their disposal to back up campaign rhetoric.
- Despite (or in spite of) the polls, Romney declared he will win Pennsylvania. The most recent Real Clear Politics Average has Romney trailing in the state by eight points.
- Together again. The Obama campaign announced that former president Bill Clinton will campaign with Obama in the next few weeks, appearing at fundraisers and rallies in California. The Big Dog will also campaign for Obama in New Hampshire.
- A sign of the times? Wall Street may be “planning” for another Obama Administration.