Last week, when the campaign was still trying to project momentum, Mitt Romney promised to close his campaign with “big ideas”: plans for jump-starting the economy, reducing the debt, and giving every American a pony. Of course, little of this was credible: Analysts have debunked Romney’s jobs plan (which simply takes credit for jobs that would have been created anyway), challenged his tax plan (doesn't add up), and noted the extent to which his proposals for tax cuts and higher military spending would explode the deficit. (The pony proposal has gone unscored, however.)
This week, the tone from Team Romney is a little more somber. According to the polling averages, Obama is either leading or tied in every swing state other than Florida and North Carolina, and there, he’s gaining ground. Part of the problem is that, in Ohio especially, Obama has successfully run on the automobile bailout. Romney tried to argue against the bailout as unwise, but that didn't work. So instead, he’s just decided to lie about it. In one ad, Romney accuses Obama of selling Chrysler to the Italians, who are then going to build Jeeps in China. In the other, he all but says that Obama has shipped jobs overseas: “Barack Obama says he saved the auto industry. But for who? Ohio, or China? Under President Obama, GM cut 15,000 American jobs. But they are planning to double the number of cars built in China, which means 15,000 more jobs for China.”
Did you catch the trick? Romney never quite says that these are jobs that would have been in Ohio. He simply states two facts, and lets you draw the connection. It’s dishonest, but in a way that lets Romney claim fealty to the truth. Still, it’s too clever by half; representatives from General Motors and Chrysler have denounced the ads. “We’ve clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days,” said GM spokesman Greg Martin.
Never content to just tell one lie, Team Romney has also brought back the welfare attacks, so Ohio voters will know that Obama is both taking their jobs and giving their money to the “undeserving” (read: black people). Again, this attack has been utterly debunked. For as much as Team Romney has been focused on projecting confidence, it’s clear that they’re worried. Their candidate doesn’t have a viable path to 270 electoral votes, and if something doesn’t change, he’s toast. —Jamelle Bouie
SO THEY SAY
"I'm tired of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney."
—Weeping girl forced to listen to NPR election coverage succinctly expresses how we all feel about the election six days out
DAILY MEME: POLL POSITIONS
- Normal politicking and campaign coverage have started to resume after Monday's hurricane, and with that comes the requisite poll mania that afflicts all election junkies this time of year. The statistical stampede of today comes courtesy of a disagreement between the national and state-level polling.
- While Obama looks comfortably ahead in the Electoral College vote count, Romney has been doing well in national polling. What gives?
- Nate Silver says to trust the state polls. They've tended to be more accurate the last few election cycles, while Sean Trende at RCP thinks the national polls have it. Both however, think your 2000 or 1888 repeat dreams are a bunch of hogwash.
- Ed Kilgore's verdict: Who knows what will happen? All we can say is that turnout on Tuesday will be vital.
- Dick Morris prophecies a landslide—for guess who?
- There's some squabbling about individual states too. Recent polls show that Obama's margins in Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania have been shrinking. This one from Detroit News in particular has the overexcitable Internet all abuzz.
- David Axelrod isn't worried though. In fact, he's so confident about the president's chances in these states that he'll shave his mustache "of 40 years" if they lose in any of them. To which we respond, 40 years?
- In other news, The New York Times has discovered that Ohio's white working class may be the key to an Obama re-election victory, and they are on it.
WHAT WE'RE WRITING
- Jamelle Bouie on Richard Carmona's surprising Senate challenge against Republican Jeff Flake in Arizona.
- Abby Rapoport on the purely symbolic (and sometimes ironic) anti-Obamacare ballot measures.
WHAT WE'RE READING
- Jon Chait thinks you should vote for Obama because he has been “great”—the best president of his lifetime…
- … and thinks you should vote against Romney because at his core lies the belief that our country's success is prefaced upon the super rich's eternal reign.
- Vice President Biden calls transgender discrimination “the civil-rights issue of our time.”
- Andy Kroll interviews Charlie Spies, the D.C. lawyer whose Restore Our Future super PAC kept Romney in the game.
- The United Nations elections observers are no more welcome in Iowa than in Texas.
- Obama's biggest advantage this election cycle? The GOP's tech expertise is stuck in the Geocities era.
- Stuart Winchester's recommendation for solving the country's ills? The Guns for Food Stamps program.
POLL OF THE DAY
For a quick break before we're completely inundated with Ohio polling data for the next week, here's a non-election-related poll, courtesy of PPP. Sixty-two percent of voters say chocolate is their Halloween poison of choice, and if forced to turn into monster, 22 percent would prefer being a vampire while 12 percent would rather be a werewolf—a clear sign that the country's registered voters are on Team Edward. Thirty-three percent of Democratic respondents said they'd be dressing up this year, while a less enthused 23 percent of Republicans will do the same.
For more polling information, go to the Prospect’s 2012 election map.