When I asked Charlie Cook whether the media were being too quick to assume that Barack Obama will win a second term, he said no.
Losing the election, he told me in a video interview, “will require a massive screwup by President Obama or some international event that just shakes everything up.” You can’t accuse the guy of mincing words.
“Romney’s got a week to turn this thing around,” the veteran political analyst told me. Otherwise “Republicans going to hit the panic button” and start pouring their money into saving congressional seats.
“The case for firing President Obama was fairly compelling,” Cook says. “But where Romney’s come up short is the comfort level to trust.” He also said of Mitt Romney: “If you had a big company and needed to turn it around, if you wanted someone to invest your family money, he’s the guy.” But in politics, “the guy’s not a natural.”
Cook sees little chance of Democrats picking up the 25 seats they need to win back the House. The party controlling the White House has picked up 15 seats only once in the postwar era, he says, and that was when LBJ was president.
So how does he deal with the pressure of making high-stakes predictions this time of year? “I go to baseball games, the Washington Nationals,” Cook says. The Nats just won their division and are heading to the playoffs; we’ll see if Cook’s forecast of Obama going all the way comes true as well.