The Other McCain

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Obama Meltdown Beginning? Plus: Romney Campaign on ‘$5 Trillion’ Lie

Posted on | October 7, 2012 | 20 Comments

Ed Driscoll’s favorite Insta-phrase “preference cascade” (describing the sudden shifting of opinion) could be the best understanding of what we might — I emphasize, might — be beginning to see in the aftermath of Wednesday’s debate:

A new poll shows a slight change in the presidential race immediately following Wednesday night’s debate in Denver, with a 4-point lead for President Obama the day before the debate becoming a 1-point deficit the day after his uninspiring peformance.
On Tuesday, the Washington, D.C.-based Clarus Research Group surveyed 590 likely voters and found Obama leading Mitt Romney, 49 percent to 45 percent. On Thursday, Clarus found, in an identical number of interviews, that Romney had inched ahead by 1 point, 47 percent to 46 percent.

Caution is necessary for several reasons:

  1. Polls are a lagging indicator;
  2. Any one poll may be an anomalous outlier; and
  3. Presidential elections are fought on a state-by-state basis, and the ultimate key is not what any national poll shows, but rather how the battle shapes up in the dozen or so “swing states” where both campaigns are concentrating their efforts.

Having been skeptical about polls that showed implausibly bad results for Romney — who will certainly not lose Ohio by 10 points, no matter what numbers any damned pollster reports — I am not going to abandon skepticism now, just because the poll numbers are more in line with my beliefs or preferences.

Nevertheless, for several months, I had been saying that I thought the outcome of the election would hinge on the debates, and the one-sided ass-whupping Romney put on Obama may have triggered a decisive shift that the polls are already beginning to detect.

If you check the Real Clear Politics national average, you see that Sept. 26/Oct. 1, Obama held a lead of four or more points after having been tied with Romney just a month earlier. According to Gallup’s tracking poll, Obama had led by 6 points most of the way from Sept. 19/Oct. 2. Both of these key indicators now show a trend toward Romney, who has closed the gap to 3 points in Gallup and 1.6 points in the RCP, which is mirrored in recent state-by-state results for Florida, Ohio, Colorado and Wisconsin.

However, to emphasize again, polls are a lagging indicator. What is important in studying election polls is to follow the trendline, and we don’t yet have enough results from different firms to be able to say (on Oct. 7) that Romney’s looking like a definite winner for Nov. 6.

In the short term, however, Mitt has gained ground and, if we extrapolate the current trend another four days, by the time Joe Biden walks into Thursday’s debate with Paul Ryan, Biden will know that he and Obama are behind the eight ball: Already trailing in most national polls and no better than even in the key swing states.

C’mon, be honest: Does anyone in either party think Biden can win that debate with Ryan? The human gaffe machine versus the top Republican budget wonk? Word out of the Romney camp is that, leaving nothing to chance, Ryan is being debate-prepped within an inch of his life. Now imagine the cool, smart and well-prepared Ryan facing off against a Joe Biden who knows that the polls are already showing Romney pulling ahead.

Joe’s gonna be under heavy pressure, sweating like a pig, and if he cracks under the strain, a decisive Ryan win Thursday could add another two or three points to Romney’s poll bounce. Extrapolate that trend a bit further . . .

Well, best not to get too far ahead of ourselves, piling one hypothetical contingency atop another. But it is possible to imagine a scenario where Mitt Romney comes into the Oct. 16 debate sitting on a 4-point lead in the national polls with just three weeks to go before Election Day. And if I can envision such a scenario, you know that Democrats must be imagining the same possibility with a sense of Fear and Loathing. 

Complete panic may sweep through the Democrats and, as Pete Da Tech Guy likes to quote General Sheridan, “Ride Right Through Them — They’re Demoralized as Hell!”

Don’t get cocky, but here’s just a bit more encouragement from Ohio: Not a lot of love for Obama in Cleveland lately.

Finally, check out this campaign message sent out Saturday night by the Romney campaign:


To: Interested Parties
From: Gail Gitcho, Communications Director
Date: October 6, 2012

Re: President Obama’s $5 Trillion Falsehood

There was wide agreement on Thursday morning that Mitt Romney won the first presidential debate of the general election. Why? Because he laid out the clear choice voters face this November between a real recovery or four more years like the last four years.
Middle-class families have been devastated in the Obama economy. Twenty-three million Americans are struggling for work. Median incomes have declined by more than $4,500 since President Obama took office. Today, nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty. That’s clearly not the real recovery our nation needs. And since President Obama has an indefensible record on the issue voters care about most – the economy – he’s been forced to resort to diversions, distractions, and outright deceptions about both his own record and Governor Romney’s proposals.
The most glaring example was his accusation that Mitt Romney is proposing a “$5 trillion tax cut.” But Jim Lehrer had barely thanked the audience for watching Wednesday’s debate before the fact checkers swooped in and declared President Obama’s claim to be false. By Thursday night, even the Obama campaign itself had to admit its charge was untrue. Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter admitted the falsehood saying, “Well, okay, stipulated, it won’t be near $5 trillion.” In fact, multiple independent studies confirm that Mitt Romney’s tax reform plan will stimulate economic growth. This growth together with a broader tax base – these studies conclude – mean we can lower tax rates without increasing the deficit.
But what is even worse than President Obama’s deception about Gov. Romney’s proposal is the truth about his own. To be clear: the President has already raised taxes 21 times during his first term in office. And his only plan for a second term is to raise even more taxes – $2 trillion worth, in fact. Middle-class families and small-business owners will suffer most as a result, since his tax plan will subject nearly one million business owners to higher taxes, threaten more than 700,000 jobs, and cost the United States $200 billion in economic output. A study conducted by the independent and nonpartisan American Enterprise Institute (AEI) calculated that the annual cost of the debt President Obama has already racked up and the new spending he has proposed would amount to $4,000 per year in higher taxes on the middle class. And nearly five million middle-class Americans will be subject to a tax hike once Obamacare’s individual mandate is fully implemented.
Clearly, the Obama campaign was in full damage control mode at the end of this past week. Given such a devastating record, it’s no surprise Barack Obama will say and do anything to avoid talking about his middle-class tax-hike plan. And with 31 days to go until Election Day, we fully anticipate Mitt Romney will be hit by many more baseless attacks in the weeks to come as President Obama continues to avoid talking about his failed policies.
All we can do is fight back with the truth, plain and simple: Our country can’t afford another four years like the last four years. Mitt Romney has a plan to create 12 million jobs and turn our economy around, and he is the candidate who will deliver meaningful reforms to achieve the real recovery Americans need and deserve.

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20 Responses to “Obama Meltdown Beginning? Plus: Romney Campaign on ‘$5 Trillion’ Lie”

  1. K-Bob
    October 7th, 2012 @ 2:16 am

    Joe’s gonna be under heavy pressure, sweating like a pig, and if he cracks under the strain, a decisive Ryan win Thursday could add another two or three points to Romney’s poll bounce. Extrapolate that trend a bit further.

    Careful! No sympathy, no quarter!

  2. Adjoran
    October 7th, 2012 @ 2:18 am

    Romney has never been a “movement conservative.” He’s a conservative, but first a pragmatist. What he does is fix failing operations by cutting excess jobs and streamlining production. Fortunately, those are precisely the skills we need in the Executive right now.

    Romney will certainly throw the Democrats enough bones to get a few on board with his tax and budget plans, but he’s a sharp enough businessman to know there are limits to the candy this time, major cuts and major reforms MUST be undertaken, and NOW, not later.

    So our concern should also be ensuring we take the Senate, as I believe we will, and pressuring our Congress to do what needs to be done. This was my main reservation about Ryan – that we needed him the House to marshal though budgets that address the problems. We have other members with the right ideology and attitude, but Ryan could go deep in the weeds with the bureaucracy and expose their inefficiencies with a far greater command of detail than the apparatchiks he was grilling – like Romney debating Obama.

  3. LouisD
    October 7th, 2012 @ 2:31 am

    I’ll say it again and again…where are the thousands of Obama-Biden bumper stickers. I saw two (of 8 total in 5 months traveling 24 states plus DC) on one day in las Vegas last week, not another since. I saw hundreds every day in 2008. If minorities and blacks are supposed to be fawning over Obama, you sure wouldn’t know it in middle class suburban Las Vegas which is perhaps 20% black and 20% Hispanic. The Romney signs on their lawns just aren’t being reported.

  4. Nathan M. Bickel
    October 7th, 2012 @ 2:44 am

    I have to agree with you; the gaffe guru will help sway more voters towards Romney. My question is: After the VP debate; will Biden need the doctor’s attention like Obama?


    White House doctor treats Obama debate hemorrhage: Is lib media the cause?

  5. Finrod Felagund
    October 7th, 2012 @ 2:47 am

    The Rasmussen tracking poll has Romney up 49-47 after Romney hadn’t had a lead since mid-September, and that’s only with 2/3rds of the samples being post-debate.

  6. Becca Lower
    October 7th, 2012 @ 5:02 am

    Yeah, no one wants to overstate what the newest polls/analysis mean. But things looked so grim just last week… has the buzz from that debate worn off for anybody yet? LOL

    Also: thanks again for the link love!

  7. Adjoran
    October 7th, 2012 @ 6:59 am

    Much of the support for both candidates is “soft” – but Romney’s soft support was always more likely to show up for him, and moreso after his debate performance. Obama has little left to inspire his soft support – attacking Iran would help with some independents but turn off his squishy base.

    The VP debate will have no effect at all. The public already knows Biden is a fool and Ryan knows his details, there is no way to exceed expectations (Biden has been warned to forget joking in any way).

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  12. gjoubert
    October 7th, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

    I’ll add a 4th reason to be cautious. In the history of presidential elections external events have a way of sometimes intervening and influencing the election. Even in the last 29 days.

    To a certain extent his is the stuff of the “October Surprise” we hear tale of. And make no mistake, the concept of October Surprise is a wholly Democrat construct. While they whine and snivel about how Republicans supposedly do it (best example is their certainty that in 1980 George H.W. Bush had jetted off to Paris pre-election on a SR-71 to conspire with the Iranians terrorists to hold the hostages until after the election), this amounts to nothing but more of Democrat paranoiac projection. In reality is it is THEY who try to pull a rabbit out at the last minute to fool the electorate and sway the election. John McCain’s fictitious affair with a lobbyist, George Bush’s supposed DWI ticket in Maine way back when, Lawrence Walsh’s bogus indictment of Cap Weinberger a couple of days before the election, etc.

    So, the October surprise (along with outright election theft) is one of the left’s long-standing and favorite go-to plays, and I gotta believe that Obama, under Axelrod’s tutelage, and given the way he has won his previous elections, has a major jack-in-the-box moment planned for Romney.

  13. Bob Belvedere
    October 7th, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

    Perhaps Willard wants Ryan in his tent to provide advice on dealing with the Congress.
    My father, when he was an executive, used to hire people from within the industry he was selling equipment to.

  14. Bob Belvedere
    October 7th, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

    The key in the VP debate is for Mr. Ryan not to beat Biden so badly that it causes the fools in the Mushy Middle to feel sorry for him and see PRyan as a ‘meanie’.

  15. Bob Belvedere
    October 7th, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

    Well put.
    I think the Dems will hit hard on the Morman issue [as Stacy has predicted] and I wouldn’t be surprised if the US attacked Iran [especially considering BHO seems to favor the Sunni over the Shia].

  16. Neill Augustine
    October 7th, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

    Bottom line? I wouldn’t be surprised to see Joe seize up like a WestWorld® gunslinger figure, and needing a series of hard reboots to bring back online.
    All of which will count against his rebuttal minutes, leaving him woefully behind in rounds, and they’ll have to get a hand truck to wheel him offstage.

  17. K-Bob
    October 7th, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

    No worries. They have a team of Henson Associates puppeteers on hand to work Ol’ Slow Joe. That way he’ll be funny, at least.

  18. K-Bob
    October 7th, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

    All it needs is a little provocation by Turkey, say for a promise to be admitted to NATO or something, to make it look like Obama “had to” step in.

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