Skip to comments.2012: The battle for 7 states (The Magnificent Seven)
Posted on 10/23/2012 11:25:45 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
BOCA RATON, Fla. The two presidential campaigns are sounding sharply different notes about how they can get to 270 electoral votes, but beneath the post-debate bravado from both sides there is a rough consensus about the shape of the race in its final two weeks.
Top strategists for both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney flooded the media center following the third and final presidential debate here Monday night, and made clear they will be primarily fighting over seven states and will spend most of their time and money in them between now and Nov. 6.
The main battlegrounds: Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire, Florida and Wisconsin. The late inclusion of Wisconsin on this list reflects a bet by Romney buoyed by some polls showing an opportunity for him there that he can turn a state that has not voted for a Republican presidential nominee since 1984.
Romney officials, eyeing steady gains in the polls, have not ruled out attempting to broaden the map in other states claims met with disparagement by Obama aides, who say they remain confident their electoral college firewall is intact even amid a tightening national race and signs that three swing states in the South are looking more favorable for the GOP nominee.
Republicans are genuinely intrigued by the prospect of a strike in Pennsylvania and, POLITICO has learned, are considering going up on TV there outside the expensive Philadelphia market. But what Romney officials worry about, both in Pennsylvania and Michigan, is that if they put some cash down or use precious hours to send their candidate there Obama will respond by crushing their offensive with a big ad buy of his own.
So while Boston is open to the idea of going into such traditional Democratic strongholds, it is still mostly playing within the same map the two candidates have been locked in for months. And, increasingly, it is narrowing its focus as prospects improve in North Carolina, Florida and Virginia.
That states that were playing in are the states we need to win, noted Romney strategist Russ Schriefer. Well see what happens in the next two weeks. Were going to concentrate on Ohio and Colorado and Iowa and New Hampshire.
Well be in Ohio a lot, added Romney strategist Stuart Stevens.
The Romney campaign is already airing TV ads in Wisconsin. The former Massachusetts governor has not been to the state since he tapped Paul Ryan as his running mate in August but is headed back soon.
Well be back in Wisconsin, said Eric Fehrnstrom. Wisconsin is definitely in play.
Obama officials, meanwhile, are convinced that they have a lead in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada and arent yet willing to write off Colorado, Florida and Virginia.
But senior Democrats increasingly recognize that their path to 270 electoral votes is not in the latter three but in the Midwest.
Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio are crucial if we win those three states, the president is reelected, said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a close Obama ally.
(Also on POLITICO: Media: Obama in fighting mood)
Obama adviser Robert Gibbs put it another way, saying Romneys fate would depend on whether he can sweep the trio of Big 10 states.
We intend to go out and win each of the three of those states, said Gibbs.
And Pennsylvania and Michigan? Theyre not worried and arent likely to send Obama there.
Probably not, no, said Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter when asked if the president would rally supporters in the two traditionally Democratic electoral troves. We have significant resources there. We are invested in those states at a much higher level than Gov. Romney is.
Romney doesnt have long to decide if he wants to expand his TV presence into the two states. His aides think that theyll have to decide by Halloween if the buy is to have much impact. They note that Pennsylvania doesnt have early voting so all the ballots will be cast on Election Day.
That campaigns would bicker about whos leading in which states is hardly new to this election, but the sharply differing views about the contours of the map are striking with such little time before Nov. 6. Four years ago at this time, John McCain had long abandoned Michigan and was racing to play defense in Indiana and Virginia. His spending and travel made clear that Obama was on the march. But with both Obama and Romney operating free of public spending restrictions, they have the financial freedom to not only keep airing ads in states where their hopes are fading but to float the prospect of putting new territory in play.
So its possible for the conversation between the two campaigns to sound, as it did here following the final showdown, quite different.
I think the chessboard is expanding, said top Romney adviser Ed Gillespie.
Empty boasting, counters Obamas high command.
The states weve always thought would determine the president North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, New Hampshire, Iowa, Ohio, Nevada and Colorado are the key battlegrounds, shot back Obama senior adviser David Plouffe. Thats where the race is going to be decided. If they want to go on fools errands in the closing two weeks, let em do it.
While the free-flowing cash can make it tougher to determine where the campaign is being fought, the candidates are increasingly voting with their feet.
Obama is doing a 48-hour tour of Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Virginia and Ohio this week before returning to New Hampshire on Saturday for the second time in 10 days.
He wouldnt be coming back if he didnt think this was a dead heat, said Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) of her state.
Romney, for his part, is making a western swing to Colorado and Nevada but will then return to hunker down in the two Midwestern hubs his campaign thinks hes closing fast in: Iowa and Ohio.
If you see their schedule over the next few days, they dont think they can win Pennsylvania, cracked Gibbs.
The race, as both sides will privately concede, will ultimately hinge on Ohio.
Even Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the House Intelligence Committee Chairman here to make Romneys case, said the Republican needed to focus on the all-important 18 electoral votes in the Buckeye State.
While allowing that a big Romney TV buy in Detroit would be a game-changer, Rogers said: Hes got to spend time in Ohio. I would spend time in Ohio and let us try to take [Michigan].
But, typically, the two campaigns dont agree on whos ahead there.
Plouffe said he believes Obama has a good lead in Ohio. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Romneys debate sparring partner, says the state is a dead heat.
You’d think Paul Ryan, being a favorite son, would help bring Wisconsin into the Romney camp.
Yeah, I’m not getting WI. Praying for a R/R Rising, there.
To me, it means that Romney won't owe those two groups anything when he becomes president.
A warning to blacks and Hispanics: If you vote 70 and 90 percent for Obama, don't expect Romney to go out of his way to do you any favors, because he won't owe you anything.
I hadn’t quite thought of that way. I was thinking more like if Romney wins big.. is it a MANDATE to gut BIG G’mint?
Wisconsin included in battleground states
FReep Mail me if you want on, or off, this Wisconsin interest ping list.
Here in Michigan the only way i can describe what i see is an upset in the making.
I’d sure like to see the union proposals go down in flames.
I’ll also be voting for Rob Steele for U of M board of regents. Its a small but important seat.
Obama has all but conceded Florida, Virginia, and Colorado.
Romney wins going away with Ohio, but it's not strictly necessary, if he can pick up Wisconsin.
Assuming that Romney wins Florida, NC, Virginia and Colorado and one electoral vote from Maine, he will be at 248 electoral votes and will still need 22 more. Of the remaining swing states (Ohio, Wisconsin, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Iowa) he wins the Presidency with Ohio and any one of the others or with Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nevada. To me, having only those paths to a win is too limited. If Romney wins neither Ohio nor Wisconsin and has not contested other states, he loses. Depending on the money situation and the polls, I would consider expanding the battlefield into some or all of Pennsylvania, Oregon, Minnesota, Connecticut and Michigan. With the Republican Senatorial candidate in Connecticut being in a dead heat with her opponent, that State might deserve some extra attention.
AMERICA RIGHT NOW IS LIKE A GIRL ON A DATE WITH OBAMA. SHE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE EXCITING BUT INSTEAD FOUND HE NEVER REALLY LIKED HER AND NOW THE FIRST DATE IS COMING TO AN END.....SHE CAN’T WAIT FOR THE DATE TO BE OVER AND .....THERE WILL BE NO SECOND DATE.....IN FACT SHE THINKS THAT SHE JUST MIGHT ENJOY GOING OUT WITH THAT GUY MITT........
I concur on Steele.