Obama Heavily Favored In First Presidential Debate With Romney

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Obama Should Be Losing, But...

From The NationalJournal:

Obama’s fortunes are rooted in voters’ dimming expectations for the economy and the federal government, and their apparent conclusion that the country’s current misery is not entirely the president’s fault. Polls show Americans appear resigned to an economic future only mildly better than the status quo. Their disgust with Washington has left them skeptical that anyone can lead the country out of the slog.

Further muddling the economic dynamic is the emerging evidence that Americans have lowered their expectations for growth—yet they remain eager to grasp at any indication that they are wrong. Voters see the economy, ever so slowly, improving. It’s a critical distinction. If things were getting worse, economists say (and even Obama campaign officials concede), the president would likely be losing. Instead, he appears to be benefiting from voters seeing slivers of good news where economic data suggest there are none to be found. Optimism is rising, improbably, among consumers, small businesses, and stock traders, with Democrats and (more crucially) a share of independents feeling better about the future than Republicans.

“The new normal is the old dismal,” says Ed Gillespie, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee. “If you believe that 1.5 percent economic growth rates and chronic unemployment around 8 percent and flat wages are our lot in life and that’s acceptable, if that mentality takes root and is acceptable to a majority of Americans, President Obama could get reelected. But I don’t believe that’s where a majority of Americans will be on Election Day.”

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Ann Romney Gets Tough On Critics

With the election just five weeks away, Mitt Romney’s campaign is deploying the person who has become one of the strongest weapons in its arsenal: Ann Romney.

The campaign has increased Ann’s presence on the campaign trail over the past few weeks, scheduling her to headline rallies across the country — including one Monday night in the same Las Vegas suburb where President Obama is practicing for Wednesday’s first presidential debate — and positioning her in the limelight with interviews on “The Tonight Show” and “Access Hollywood.”

She is also taking on the GOP presidential nominee’s critics with an aggressiveness that historians say is unusual in an aspiring first lady.

The aggressive edge seems blunted on Ann Romney, a woman the campaign has defined as a mother of five and grandmother to 18.

Mitt Romney told donors in May that they would see much more of Ann in September and October. At this point in the race, the more of the spotlight she can draw, the better, according to strategists.

“Her job’s to minimize the idea that Mitt Romney is not a normal guy,” GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said. “As long as it’s not taken as over the top, it’s a good thing.”

Read more from Alicia M. Cohn at The Hill

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Leonardo DiCaprio and Selena Gomez Want You to "Vote 4 Stuff," So You Will

Right now you're thinking that those new PSAs from the stars of TitanicSpider-Man andWizards of Waverly Place—along with Jonah Hill, Sarah Silverman and Ellen DeGeneres—cannot possibly have an influence on what you'll be doing on Nov. 6. You'll do whatever you want on Nov. 6, dammit.

But you're wrong. These people are worming their way into your subconscious as I write. By the time voting day comes around, you will be camped out in front of your local church/school/community center bright and early and ready to make your political wishes known. Because The Leo wills it. And I can prove it.

But according to people who know, they—along with the more obvious Gomez—still have a hold on people of college age.

"We live in an era where younger voters don't generally like, trust or look up to politicians, but they view A-list celebs with great reverence," Republican strategist and former presidential campaign advisor Ford O'Connell tells me. "While this video may seem odd to older voters, it is still more effective for the president than delivering a policy speech on the issues."

(The campaign is nonpartisan, but O'Connell, for his part, says the video will do much more good for President Barack Obama than challenger Mitt Romney.)

And in case that isn't enough proof for ya, fine: Maybe you'll trust some numbers.

Read more from Leslie Gornstein at E! Online

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Grading The Obama And Romney Campaign Efforts

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The Latino Vote And Turnout In Presidential Elections

Depending on turnout, the Hispanic vote could be the deciding factor in the 2012 Battle for the White House. From Pew Hispanic Center:

A record 23.7 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the 2012 presidential election, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. This is up by more than 4 million, or 22%, since 2008, when 19.5 million Latinos were eligible to vote.

Latinos are the nation’s largest minority group. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2011 there were 51.9 million Latinos in the U.S., making up 16.7% of the nation’s population.

However, the turnout rate of eligible Latino voters historically lags that of whites and blacks by substantial margins. In 2008, for example, 50% of eligible Latino voters cast ballots, compared with 65% of blacks and 66% of whites.

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The Politics Of "Free Stuff"

I am not going to delve into the racial overtones of "The Obama Phone" video, because there are too many to count.

That said, this op-ed from UnionLeader.com does make a valid point:

People don’t vote based on the goodies slick politicians promise them? Please. Then why do the politicians promise so many goodies?

The problem with "free stuff" promised by politicians is that it is not free, and someone, somewhere has to pay in the end.

If you doubt what I am saying just think about pork-barreling for a minute. When the "pork" comes home, voters love it. When it goes somewhere else, they lose their mind.

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Mitt Romney's Terrible September

The month of September has certainly been one of the worst, if not the most paralyzing, for the Romney campaign's bid for the White House. From Nate Silver at The New York Times:

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President Obama’s Swing State Scam

We are told the 2012 battle for the White House is about preserving and strengthening the middle class. Mitt Romney leads with middle class voters by 14 points.

We are told voters are most concerned with the economy, and those most likely to cast a ballot in November think the economy will fare better with Romney at the helm than if President Barack Obama is re-elected.

We're told Americans are getting worried about the president's foreign policy after "The Libya Debacle" and his inability to get in front of mounting problems in Egypt, Syria, and Iran. We're told anti-American sentiment has spiked around the globe, and that President Obama's efforts to address this—snubbing world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly to make time for an appearance on the TV chat-fest The View and more in-your-face campaigning—have not played well among the American public.

And, as conservative commentator Bill Bennett points out, all of that is on top of the unemployment rate that has stayed above 8 percent for 43 straight months, the $800 billion stimulus that didn't stimulate, the poverty rates at a 20-year high, food stamp use at an all-time high, and participation in the workforce among men at an all-time low.

Given all this, how on earth can Romney be faring so poorly in the polls—particularly in the all-important swing states?

Read more from Ford O'Connell at U.S. News & World Report

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Things Are So Bad For Romney, Republicans Are Letting Him Tout RomneyCare

A little more than 24 hours have passed since Mitt Romney took the base-alienating step of touting the health care law he signed while governor of Massachusetts in an interview with NBC. Unlike the last time his campaign heralded his signature achievement, however, the conservative grumbling was relatively muted.

Why? Because, Republicans say, things are so bad for Romney that they’ll even let him talk up his health care law.

“A sizable portion of the voters that Romney needs to win over in the swing states are okay with ObamaCare,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP consultant. “And the right recognizes that Romney is running behind in the polls, and will permit him — within reason — to use any tool necessary to salvage this election."

Read more from Evan McMorris-Santoro at TPM

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