100 Day Sprint: Time running out fast for Romney

So we are almost halfway through the 100 day sprint — I know, I know, you’re thanking your higher power right about now.

But one guy who’s not glad to see the pages drop off the calendar is Mitt Romney.

For the better part of the last year, Romney has been locked in an also-ran position, just inches behind President Barack Obama.

The Democrat has held a solid lead in the electoral college standing throughout the race.

Romney pulled into threat-range in the early summer, staking claim to a tie in the popular vote and thinning Obama’s leads in battleground states.

With the Paul Ryan pick he seemed to be positioned for a bold final push.  But that momentum is starting to look more and more like a plateau.

Romney appears stuck around the 45% mark that John McCain hit in 2008.  Meanwhile, in the latest polls Obama is pushing toward or even above the 50% mark.

(CNN puts the president at 52% to Romney’s 46%, nearly  matching Obama’s final margin over John McCain four years ago.)

None of the Democrats’ current advantages are insurmountable, but the opportunities for the GOP to shake up the race are ticking away  VP pick?  Done.  Conventions?  Over.

Swift Boat style blow to Obama’s approval ratings?  If anything, it’s the Democrats who are playing the pit bulls this time around.  This morning, Politico is leading with a story about the Democrats “Kerry-izing” Romney on national defense.

More bad economic news?  Well, maybe that could change the race’s dynamics.  In their latest assessment of the race, Team Romney is arguing that high unemployment automatically doom Obama to a one-term presidency.

But I don’t think many politics-watchers buy that anymore.   I think most people who’ve run out of patience with Obama have already jumped ship.

Meanwhile, Romney now faces the risk of several crucial days being lost to hand-wringing stories, as GOPers and conservative allies acknowledge doubts about the Romney-Ryan strategy.

We’ve already seen anxious essays in the Wall Street Journal, Politico and the Weekly Standard.  In the Standard, Bill Kristol compared the Romney approach to that of Michael Dukakis.  Ouch.

To win this, Romney has to actually, you know, win it.  He has to find a story to tell that convinces Americans that he’s the better guy, with the better plan.  I don’t think there are many pundits in America, including conservatives, who would say he’s done that effectively.

And there’s just not much time left.

Which leaves the debates as the likeliest opportunity for Romney to break through with that message.  Doable, yes.   But only if Romney elevates his appeal dramatically, and finds a credible, policy-backed narrative along the way.

He’ll probably also need help from an Obama stumble or some other unforeseen event.

The big convention bounce for Obama (let’s be honest and call it the Clinton Bounce) will almost certainly fade.  But with 56 days to go, that won’t be enough by itself to lift the Republicans out of a frustratingly close second place.

 

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75 Comments on “100 Day Sprint: Time running out fast for Romney”

  1. JDM says:

    Then there’s the Michelle Obama poll on her husband.

    Back in the days he was community organizer, his shoes were a little too small.

    Now that he’s president, he has on a pair of shoes that he totally unable to fill.

    He’ll feel a lot better next February, wearing the shoes that he used to wear.

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  2. mervel says:

    Before the internet most reasonable people didn’t think that their opinions were worth printing for all of the world, they expressed their preferences by voting and then kept pretty much quite about it, which was the civil thing to do. Now we all think people care about our political opinions and we all have something important to say.

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  3. mervel says:

    Gridlock I think may spring from that sort of attitude, no compromise win at all costs without a view about what is actually practically good for the country, everyone is on a “team”, conservatives vs liberals etc, part of the new self identification.

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  4. jeff says:

    In the speeches I heard at the Democratic convention there has a tone I had been listening to hear from anybody for awhile. It was restrained but it was more of an inclusiveness with deference to the American people. I am not comfortable that they really believe that tone but it is what I heard. I know they have hordes of speech writers working on the process. And as in news stories the slant is all in the adjectives.

    I don’t want to be ruled or commanded, this isn’t the army where obedience is required. It is like militia where leadership is followed by consent. Sure, this is where someone could say we must all hang together or we will hang separately.

    I don’t care for arrogance, which I haven’t seen in Romney but have seen it in Obama.

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  5. Kathy says:

    Jeff, well said.

    The tone, especially from the women, was very different than the women at the RNC. Militant comes to mind.

    I will vote for Romney for many reasons, but I see humility in him. That kind of person listens to others and is teachable.

    On another note, I don’t care what the reason is – I am very unhappy with Obama’s response to Benjamin Netanyahu. No excuses.

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  6. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Jeff: “I don’t want to be ruled or commanded, this isn’t the army where obedience is required. It is like militia where leadership is followed by consent.”

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we were a bit more peaceful? How about: I don’t want to live in a totalitarian state, but rather in a peaceful republican democracy?

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  7. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Netanyahu is a belligerent who supports ideas and policies that will get more people killed.

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  8. Larry says:

    The bottom line is this: no matter what kind of spin Clinton apologists want to put on it, Clinton had opportunities to deal with OBL and didn’t act on them. Bush didn’t get him either and I’ll provide no spin for that failure. Obama pulled the trigger at the right moment, and I credit him with a job well done on that account.

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  9. Larry says:

    Netanyahu may get more people killed but I bet most of them won’t be Israelis.

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  10. Larry says:

    Obama would have done well to meet with Netanyahu; he might have learned something about how to deal effectively with our enemies. Sympathizing with one’s enemies is what gets people killed.

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  11. Zeke says:

    I might have voted for Mitt had he not picked Paul Ryan as a running mate.

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  12. jeff says:

    Knuck-regarding peacefulness. Yes. The wreckless word choice by so many, unions and all… Using the word fight when not in a war yet the words strive and pursue cast a different tone but same direction. Using win against succeed are also good contrasts. Instead of cut they can say reduce or limit Same goes for the use of crude language which is laziness.

    Another thought would be is the hostile language used as bluster, bravado and braggadocio?

    .

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  13. JDM says:

    Apl 2011 – Obama said this about Libya:

    “And we will continue to work with our allies and partners in the international community to protect the people of Libya, and to support a peaceful transition to democracy.”

    Today, we see what a “peaceful transition to democracy” looks like.

    What we need is a president.

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  14. Mervel says:

    We don’t understand something very fundamental about the Middle East. We don’t seem to ever really know what is going on and what is about to happen over there. This latest insanity is further evidence of that.

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  15. Paul says:

    JDM, you have to separate our allies from the thugs that want to wreck things. What do you suggest would be the proper response?

    Knuck, Netanyahu may not be “our” ideal Israeli leader but you have to learn to work with what you got. Meeting with the leaders that we have disagreements with is what diplomacy is all about.

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  16. Larry says:

    We do have a President. He’s the guy who first apologized to the radicals who killed our Ambassador to Libya and then condemned the violence. Can you imagine what Netanyahu’s response would have been?

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  17. Larry says:

    Mervel, what we don’t understand about the Middle East is the depth of the hatred radical islamists have for the US and the deep contempt moderate islamists have for us. We’re dealing largely with people who either want us all dead or all gone. They believe it, they teach it, they live it and have been doing so since the beginning of Islam.

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  18. Mervel says:

    Which is why it is even more important that we spend a bunch of money and blood hanging out in the desert with them…..wait.

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  19. hermit thrush says:

    He’s the guy who first apologized to the radicals who killed our Ambassador to Libya and then condemned the violence.

    i can only imagine the kind of legs that lie is going to have. compare it to reality, via tpm (emphasis in the original):

    Romney’s attack was not only ill-judged and ill-timed, it was actually based on what appears to be a demonstrable falsehood. Romney, or folks writing in his name at his campaign, claimed that the administration’s first response to the attacks was to issue a press release condemning the anti-Islam film which had helped trigger the attack. This they picked wholesale from the right-wing blogosphere.

    In fact, according to all available press reports and the account of the State Department, the press release in question came from the US Embassy in Egypt and preceded the attacks. So to claim it was a response to the attacks was simply false. So while American diplomats were dying in the field, Romney pops up with an egregious attempt to politicize the deaths with a flat out lie.

    are people around here really going to keep trying to tell us that romney is fit for the presidency?

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  20. PNElba says:

    HT – just remember, different realities.

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  21. Larry says:

    Seems like some serious back-pedaling and retro-coordinating by the Obama campaign, State Department and White House. As I read the news this morning (NY Times, primarily) it seemed clear that an apology for religious intolerance was the lead thought in the government’s response to the events in Libya. I certainly didn’t imagine it. What’s going on here?

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  22. hermit thrush says:

    ask and ye shall receive, larry, again via tpm.

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  23. mervel says:

    It is such a tragedy. Although we knew this was crazy land, there are left over people from the old regime, there is retribution, there are Islamic radicals involved they are all there, plus there is broad latent dislike of the US, we have to admit that. I mean we just got done with a major invasion and occupation. How long did it take Vietnam and the US to basically get back to normal? A LONG time. We can now go to Vietnam and be welcomed. How did that happen? We left and stayed totally out of their business, and they are now just fine, we need to do that in the Middle East.

    We are not going to win them over. I think we can get out of the way and in a couple of decades if we leave them to their own devices we can come back.

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  24. mervel says:

    As long as people have someone to blame to avoid looking at their own problems they will continue to blame, much like a spoiled teenager who doesn’t get it, until they have to move out and fend for themselves.

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