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October 30, 2012

Romney up 1 nationwide but down 4 in key states

Mitt Romney's up by 1 nationally, but trails by 4 in a dozen key battleground states, according to a new NPR Battleground poll released Tuesday.

The poll also shows that the first debate between Romney and President Barack Obama reshaped the race.

Romney's support among independents grew after that debate; in 2008, Obama won among independents.

"So were it not for the debates," said Republican pollster Whit Ayres, who conducted the poll along with Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, "I think Obama would be cruising to a victory right now. Because of the debates, this is going to be an incredibly close election."

The poll found one-third saying the debates made them more likely than they had been to vote for Romney, while 28 percent said the debates made them more likely to vote for the president.

Greenberg, though, felt good about Obama's chances, since he led by 4 in states likely to decide the race: Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida. Both the Romney lead and the Obama lead were within the poll's margin of error.

The pollsters surveyed 1,000 likely voters from Oct. 23-25. Margin of error for such a poll is 3 percentage points for the national sample and 4.5 percentage points for the smaller sub-sample  in the battleground states.

To read more: http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/10/30/163914429/npr-poll-finds-presidential-race-too-close-to-call

Obama gets good reviews for storm performance from Republican critic

New Jersey's Republican Gov. Chris Christie -- who once considered running against President Barack Obama -- is giving rave reviews to the president's handling of Hurricane Sandy.

Christie told CNN that he talked to Obama three times on Monday and that's he's "been incredibly supportive and helpful to our state."

A White House official says Obama was updated "throughout the night" on the effect of Sandy as it came ashore and moved inland. He spoke overnight with Christie and New York Mayor Andrew Cuomo, along with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy and Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

He'll get another briefing this a.m. The White House says Obama also signed major disaster declarations for the states of New Jersey and New York – "building on resources already available – and providing additional federal support for state and local efforts, as well as direct federal assistance to affected individuals in declared counties."

Christie also had nice words for Obama via twitter, writing that Obama called Monday afternoon and asked if the state "had everything we needed. I said yes, for right now we do.

"President Obama then said if I needed anything to call him directly. I appreciated that leadership and I will if/when we do."

October 29, 2012

Obama unveils TV ad, calling Romney "dishonest" on auto bailout

President Obama released a TV ad Monday, responding to a new commerical by Republican Mitt Romney about Chrysler possibly building Jeeps in China.

The Romney ad, which has not been publicized by the campaign, has been attacking for alluding that Chrysler is moving jobs from Toledo to China. The company may open a plant in China, but won't take jobs from Ohio.

In the final week of the campaign, Ohio continues to be a top battleground state. Obama has had a slight lead in the Buckeye State, but some polls indicate Romney have be gaining some ground.

Obama supported the auto bailout, while Romney did not. It's a key difference in a state in which one out of every job is tied to the industry. The new Obama ad, airing only in Ohio, ends with these words: “Mitt Romney on Ohio jobs?  Wrong Then....Dishonest Now.”


FEMA's Fugate: Addressing post-Sandy election problems to be "led by the states"

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is considering what might happen if widespread power outages and damage to polling places from Hurricane Sandy can't be addressed in time for the election.

It's something FEMA administrator Craig Fugate, the former top emergency management official in Florida, had to deal with in 2004 after four hurricanes struck the state before the presidential election.

"We are anticipating that based on the storm, there could be impacts that would linger into next week and have impacts on federal elections," Fugate said. "Our chief counsel's been working on making sure that we have the proper guidance on how to support any actions that may be required in areas that are declared (disasters.)"

That includes determining whether states can be reimbursed for any work they must to do to fix or move polling places damaged in the storm.

"It really comes back to the overall things you need to have in any community" after a storm, Fugate said. "It needs to be safe and secure, you've got to focus on power restoration and getting critical infrastructure back."

However, states affected by the storm will be responsible for much of the work. "This will led by the states," Fugate said. "We'll be in a support role."

Fugate was also asked during a press conference whether then-President George W. Bush had asked him to serve as the FEMA director in 2005 after the agency's post-Hurricane Katrina meltdown. He declined to answer. But Fugate did say that he pens his own Twitter feed. "That's why there's mistypings in there."

President Obama on Sandy: The election can wait

President Obama took the helm at the White House today, pledging an efficient government response to Hurricane Sandy -- and warning those in its path to heed the caution of emergency management officials.

"Please listen to what your state and local officials are saying," Obama said. "When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate. Do not delay. Don't pause; don't question the instructions that are being given, because this is a serious storm and it could potentially have fatal consequence if people haven't acted quickly."

He spoke after a briefing with the government's emergency response teams, including FEMA, and warned that "everybody is aware at this point that this is going to be a big and powerful storm."

Asked about potential effect on the election, Obama demurred: "I am not worried at this point about the impact on the election. I'm worried about the impact on families, and I'm worried about the impact on our first responders. I'm worried about the impact on our economy and on transportation. 

"The election will take care of itself next week," he said.

Obama, Romney tied in new national poll

As the final week of the presidential race kicks off, President Barack Obama has failed to regain much of the support he lost in the days following the first debate, according to a new poll.

Likely voters are split on Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, 47 percent each, according to the survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Obama holds a two-point edge among registered voters: 47 percent to 45 percent. (Those numbers were 46 percent to 46 percent in early October, in the days following the first debate.) But among w likely voters, the balance shifts slightly in Romney’s direction, as it did in early October, according to the poll.

The poll was conducted Oct. 24-28 among 1,678 registered voters, including 1,495 likely voters.

Obama campaign says it's winning the race

The Obama campaign says with eight days out from the election, it's on track to retain the White House -- "not on the basis of some mystical faith," said senior advisor David Axelrod, but on "cold, hard data."

"You're going to get spun and spun and spun in the next week," Axelrod told reporters on a campaign conference call, telling them to rely on "the facts, the data, the trends in the states." (Presumably he means the Obama campaign facts, as the Romney campaign insists it's winning.)

"In just 8 days we'll know who was bluffing and who wasn't," Axelrod said. Campaign manager Jim Messina charged that the Obama camp has "data and facts" on its side, versus "spin and wishful thinking" on the Romney side.

He says Obama is "leading in every battleground state" -- with "small but important" leads in those states. He charged the Romney campaign with "stooping to desperate attacks" -- launching an ad that claims that Jeep is shipping jobs to China. 

President Obama convenes Sandy briefing, will address the nation

President Obama will go before the cameras at 12:45 in the White House to talk about preparations for Hurricane Sandy.

He returned to Washington Monday morning where aides said he was to lead a meeting in the situation room to get briefed on the storm. The decision to come off the campaign trail came as the storm overnight "picked up speed and intensity," White House press Secretary Jay Carney said. The decision was made Monday morning and Obama believes it "makes the most sense" for him to be in place at the White House, Carney said.

"The president's priority right now is the safety and security of Americans who are in the path of the storm and who will be affected by it," Carney said. "It's essential in his view that he be in Washington, one of the areas that will be affected, and where his team is to oversee that effort."

Romney, Ryan cancel events as Sandy gets closer

More scheduling changes from Republican Mitt Romney's campaign as Hurricane Sandy continues to churn up the Eastern Seaboard.
Here's Gail Gitcho, Romney communications direction:
"Out of sensitivity for the millions of Americans in the path of Hurricane Sandy, we are canceling tonight's events with Governor Romney in Wisconsin and Congressman Ryan in Melbourne and Lakeland, Florida.
"We are also canceling all events currently schedule for both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan on Tuesday. Governor Romney believes this is a time for the nation and its leaders to come together to focus on those Americans who are in harm's way. We will provide additional details regarding Governor Romney's and Congressman Ryan's schedule when they are available."

Clinton adds campaign events as Obama drops them

Bill Clinton to the rescue.

As Barack Obama scrambles to adjust his schedule to prepare for Hurricane Sandy, former president Clinton has stepped in to help.

Clinton will campaign for Obama this week in Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.

He appeared with Vice President Joe Biden (stepping in for Obama, who has returned to the White House) in Ohio today and will travel  be in Minnesota Tuesday.

Clinton’s stops include swing areas as well as regions with Democratic bases, where he will expect to urge voters to get out the vote for Obama, according to the campaign.


"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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