The back-to-back national party conventions sharpened the arguments of President Obama and Mitt Romney, but they probably did little to reshape the dynamics of a razor-thin race that has demonstrated remarkable stability for months.
After the marathon of speeches, videos, wall-to-wall coverage, and the occasional snafu, most analysts believe the race, heading into its final two months, will look almost exactly as it did before the conventions: President Obama clinging to a small advantage but still standing below the critical 50 percent mark in support.
"I think that neither candidate will have changed many of those swing voters,” said Andrew Kohut, president of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. “In terms of being transformative, I just don’t see it for either side.”
Most of pre-convention surveys showed Obama with a slim lead in a race that is dividing the country along partisan, ideological, and racial lines. Although polling conducted between the conventions found that Romney made modest gains in bolstering his personal image during the GOP gathering, his ballot showing against Obama improved hardly at all—only enough to lift him into a dead heat at best.
As a result, if Obama gains any lift from his own convention—which seems likely, given the powerhouse performances during the gathering—the president will enter the race’s final stage narrowly ahead. Read more
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Five Crucial Factors to Watch, Just 58 Days From the Election
[New York Times, 9/9/12] The Romney and Obama campaigns do have one thing in common: they’re competing in the same swing states. The Times outlines what each campaign is facing just two months from the general election.
Obama Convention Bounce Continues to Grow
[Chicago Tribune, 9/8/12] President Obama saw a five-point swing in polling, according to a Gallup survey, leading the presidential race 49 percent to 45 percent. The New York Times’ Nate Silver writes that the convention could put Obama in the front-runner position.
Ryan at Odds With Romney on Hypothetical Debt Deal NEW!
[National Journal, 9/9/12] Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan would not reject a hypothetical debt deal that his running mate, Mitt Romney, previously said he would not take.
Paul Ryan: U.S. is on a ‘Path to Decline’ NEW!
[National Journal, 9/9/12] Ryan said on Sunday that the U.S. is “on a path to decline,” criticizing President Obama for the mediocre jobs numbers released on Friday, but continued to remain mute on some important details about his budget plan -- including which tax loopholes he would close.
Gingrich: Clinton ‘Shrinks Obama’ NEW!
[National Journal, 9/9/12] Newt Gingrich took a different approach to Bill Clinton’s widely acclaimed convention speech last week, saying on Sunday that it showed the many ways Obama has failed as a president. He even went so far as to say that Clinton "shrinks Obama."
Romney: GOP Involvement in Debt Deal Was ‘Big Mistake’
[National Journal, 9/9/12] Romney told NBC’s Meet the Press that Republican involvement in the 2011 bipartisan deal to extend the nation’s debt ceiling was “a big mistake,” even though it averted a government default and possible chaos in the financial markets.
Obama Makes Birth Certificate Joke in Orlando
[Washington Post, 9/8/12] At a campaign stop in Orlando on Saturday, President Obama was introduced to a six-year-old boy who someone said was born in the president’s native state. “You were born in Hawaii? You have a birth certificate?” Obama joked.
Hustler Magazine Offers $1 Million for a Different Type of Exposure
[CNN, 9/8/12] Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, who infamously sends copies of his magazine to members of Congress, is offering up a $1 million reward for information relating to Romney’s finances. Flynt will have full page ads in the Washington Post on Sunday and USA Today on Tuesday.
Kal Penn Asks Voters to Commit
[Politico, 9/8/12] Actor and former White House aide Kal Penn emailed supporters on Saturday asking them to support Obama using a new Web tool, Commit to Vote. The portal allows people to check voter registration status and promise to vote for the president, while also connecting to Facebook.
Romney Campaign Launches New Ad in Wisconsin
[YouTube, 8/9/12] Following the “Better Future” theme laid out in an eight-state ad buy on Friday, the Romney campaign released another ad in Wisconsin, showing the Republican nominee feels he can compete in his running mate’s home state.
Priorities Ad Hammers Romney’s Tax Plan
[CNN, 9/9/12] Priorities USA Action, a pro-Obama super PAC, released a new ad on Saturday that attacks Romney’s tax plan as harmful for the middle class. The ad will run in six key battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Romney reaches out to White Male Voters at NASCAR race
[Reuters, 9/8/12] Mitt Romney made a pitch to the GOP’s strongest demographic on Saturday: white males. The Republican nominee visited a NASCAR race on Saturday night in Virginia, where early voting starts in just two weeks.
Obama Jokes Bill Clinton Should be Named ‘Secretary of Explaining Stuff’
[The Hill, 9/8/12] At a rally in St. Petersburg, Fla., Obama praised Bill Clinton’s role at the convention, joking he should be the “secretary of explaining stuff.” On NBC’s Meet the Press, even Romney said Clinton “did elevate” the Democratic Convention, according to the Washington Post.
Biden to Media: ‘Fact Check Me’
[CNN, 9/9/12] At a campaign event in Ohio, Vice President Joe Biden attacked the Republican ticket for saying the U.S. is in decline. He also challenged the GOP to fact-check his claims on Medicare—which several fact-checkers have already said were slightly misleading.