Politics

10.31.12

Romney Camp Re-Spin After a Week of No-mentum

I see that Romney's pollster is holding a conference call at 3 o'clock today (right when Obama and Christie are meeting up, if I'm not mistaken) to try to re-spin things. This is an interesting little piece of inside baseball.

Remember last week when the Romney people were saying "We are going to win"; "305 electoral votes, seriously." Then, last Wednesday, I and Jon Chait and Alec MacGillis all wrote pieces saying they were blowing smoke up our keisters but were trying to make their guy inevitable, and the Obama campaign needed to respond.

It did, but it did so quietly. Axelrod and Jim Messina have now held maybe three or more conference calls with reporters talking about Obama's strengths, in Ohio andelsewhere. They sounded confident and apparently made a case that most reporters more or less bought.

Then Sandy came along, and whatever media momentum Romney had left was fully erased. The "we're inevitable" narrative got stopped cold. That may be the real political importance of Sandy, now that I think about it.

And now, today, the Romney camp is dealing with a spate of pretty negative polls--down five in Ohio, down eight in Wisconsin, tied again in North Carolina. Meanwhile, the Gallup Daily Tracking, the one legit poll that the Romney people leaned on daily, suspended operations after Sandy. All they have now is Rasmussen, which would find Bashar al-Assad with a slight lead if he were the Republican nominee.

The Romney folks are now in a hole, and so they're having this conference call to try to plug it. But note that from last Wednesday (when Chait and MacGillis and I wrote) to this Wednesday, they've gone from arguing "Are you kidding, this is practically over!" to pleading, "Hey, wait, this isn't over!" That ain't forward movement.