All campaigns have their ups and downs, but the last three weeks for Mitt Romney have been about as brutal as we can remember for any presidential candidate, especially this close to the election. First, the biggest speech of Romney’s life got overshadowed by the Clint Eastwood stunt. Then came President Obama’s significant bounce in the polls after the two political conventions. After that, Romney found himself on the defensive for his reaction to embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya. Next, Politico reported about infighting and disorganization inside the Romney campaign. Finally, all of these events were capped off yesterday by the surreptitiously recorded video of Romney--provided to the liberal magazine Mother Jones and later to NBC News--telling wealthy donors that “47%” of the country “who are dependent on government” and “who believe they are victims” will vote for Obama no matter what. What is so potentially deadly about this video is the timing, because it comes as the Romney campaign was already viewed to be behind and in crisis. Back in late July, we wrote that the presidential contest had entered halftime with Obama leading, 14-13. Now after the 3rd Quarter (the Ryan pick, the conventions, and post-convention period), Obama has scored two uncontested touchdowns, bringing it to 28-13. And now we head to the 4th Quarter (the debates).The blog goes on to provide some perspective:
The only recent presidential candidates we can remember having as rough of a stretch as Romney is right now--so close to the election--were John Kerry’s tough August (the Swift Boat campaign), John McCain’s difficult mid-September to mid-October (Lehman’s collapse, Palin going rogue), and Howard Dean right before and after the Iowa caucuses (his criticism of the caucus system, the Dean scream). Of course, Barack Obama had his own rough period (Jeremiah Wright, clinging to guns and religion), but those happened in March and April, giving him plenty of time to recover for the general election. But don’t think Obama didn’t pay a price in the primaries for those comments; he lost the Pennsylvania primary, and lost later primaries by even BIGGER margins (see West Virginia and Kentucky). Which brings us back to Romney: Timing is everything in politics. Had Obama’s comments come out in September, do you think he would have won Pennsylvania by double digits in the general?You’ll find all of the First Read post here.
READ MORE: “NBC/WSJ Poll: Optimism in Obama Presidency Increases,” by Mark Murray (NBC News); “Why the ’47 Percent’ Is So Large” and “Kristol Sees Romney Comments as ‘Stupid and Arrogant,’” by Steve Benen (The Maddow Blog); “A Uniquely Self-destructive Candidate,” by Steve Kornacki (Salon); “GOP Strategists Alarmed Over Romney and the ’47 Percent,’” by Cameron Joseph (The Hill); “Was It the Day Mitt Romney Lost the Election? Round-up of Reaction to 47% Mittmockle,” by Sarah Jones (PoliticsUSA); “The Comeback Speech Romney Should Be Giving,” by Charles R. Pierce (Esquire).