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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Romney's Running Out of Time

Clock face
Election week began -- appropriately or inappropriately, depending on your point of view -- on Halloween. There are now less than seven days until the election. For Mitt Romney, the sentence, "There's still time to turn this thing around," gets more and more untrue with each passing hour. Signs of his desperation abound. The Cleveland Plain Dealer describes him "flailing" in Ohio, "recklessly" telling lies about Chrysler moving jobs to China. A company spokesperson said that Romney's Chrysler-Jeep story was "a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats." Meanwhile, tick-tock.

At the same time, the Republican nominee is dusting off his old -- and just as thoroughly debunked -- welfare lie.


Mitt Romney's campaign has brought back a widely-discredited welfare claim in a new television ad, one week before Election Day.

In the ad--which was unannounced by the campaign but posted Tuesday on Romney's YouTube site–the narrator lists the "gutting" of the work requirement in welfare as one of President Barack Obama's so-called failed policies in his first term.

Along with high unemployment and a rise in food stamps, the Romney ad paints Obama as a threat to future generations.

"We may have made it through President Obama's first term," the narrator concludes, as footage of children are featured on the screen. "It's our children who cannot afford a second."

Politifact rated Romney's take on welfare and work requirements as "pants on fire" -- a cute way of saying the man is a blatant liar.


It didn't work the last time and it's hard to see how it would work now. The dog whistle is just a little too audible to non-racists and it may actually do more harm than good. Team Romney did not issue a press release for the ad, in the hopes that it would fly under the radar, unnoticed by anyone other than swing state voters. Meanwhile, tick-tock.

Over at FiveThirtyEight, the trend has shown Romney's chances slowly sinking. His "momentum" propaganda seems more and more ridiculous as that red line dips every day. I've compared Team Romney to Baghdad Bob in the past -- and I've done it because the comparison is so damned on the money. There is no "Mittmentum."

FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver writes that Obama's midwestern "firewall" is holding -- perhaps even strengthening -- and that national and state polls are no longer in complete disagreement. A state-by-state electoral college count makes the president the clear favorite and national poll averages put Obama over the top as well. Talking Points Memo concurs -- according to polling averages, President Obama holds the slimmest of national leads. But a lead nonetheless. In their electoral college count, Obama easily clears the 270 mark with 303 electoral college votes (Silver gives him 300 and change). Talk of an electoral college victory and a popular vote loss has been fashionable among the punditry, but it should begin to die off now. We seem to be headed toward a victory on both counts.

Meanwhile, tick-tock.

Expect Romney to become more desperate daily. Expect his lies to be more egregious. Expect his flailing to be more frenetic. And I can say this with some confidence because Obama's victory is not assured by any means. A Romney win is doable, but unlikely. And it gets more and more unlikely the longer Mitt runs behind. Nate Silver:

Mr. Obama is not a sure thing, by any means. It is a close race. His chances of holding onto his Electoral College lead and converting it into another term are equivalent to the chances of an N.F.L. team winning when it leads by a field goal with three minutes left to play in the fourth quarter. There are plenty of things that could go wrong, and sometimes they will.

But it turns out that an N.F.L. team that leads by a field goal with three minutes left to go winds up winning the game 79 percent of the time. Those were Mr. Obama's chances in the FiveThirtyEight forecast as of Wednesday: 79 percent.

Actually, there were three minutes left on the clock and a one-in-five chance when he wrote that. Two minutes, fifty-nine seconds now.



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