Quotes of the day

KATTY KAY, BBC: It’s so far from what it was in 2008, right? When he was talking — in this stage in the campaign two weeks before the election and he had all that momentum and he was talking about all the things that he was going to do in the country. And that was an agenda campaign. I mean, he was promising to change the way Washington works, to change the way politics works here.

And now, I guess Chicago has said, ‘Hey, we think this Romnesia idea is your ticket to reelection, Mr. President, in the last two weeks.’ I think you’re right — it’s sort of depressing, if that’s what it comes down to.

Maybe it’s just that it’s gone on too long. Maybe we just got to the stage where there’s nothing left of importance to say.


His ground game is at near parity in early voting with the GOP, the GOP is more energized, and he is going to lose both [North Carolina and Florida].

But he will not stop spending money in those two states and redirect the resources to Ohio, which is now a must win state for him. He will not do it because he does not want news stories to come out in the last two weeks of the campaign that he’s closing up show in two battleground states.

That would convey weakness and demoralize the base.

But they are losing.


The campaign Obama is waging today could be trumpeting the products of a successful pivot back to pro-business tax cutting competence, reclaiming the national agenda following the rise of the tea party movement. But he never did, and even today, the second term agenda he’s laid out seems more like a repeated insistence that his original course was the right one, consarnit.

Gone are the days of hope and change – now it’s just one long bout of concern trolling. It’s as if the bitterness of the 2010 rebuff has stayed with Obama ever since, gnawing at him, preventing any reflection on his choices. Maybe it’s because it’s the first time anyone’s told him “No.”


You may recall that last spring, just after Mr. Romney locked up the Republican nomination, Mr. Obama’s team abruptly switched its strategy for how to define him. Up to then, the White House had been portraying Mr. Romney much as George W. Bush had gone after John Kerry in 2004 – as inauthentic and inconstant, a soulless climber who would say anything to get the job.

But it was Mr. Clinton who forcefully argued to Mr. Obama’s aides that the campaign had it wrong. The best way to go after Mr. Romney, the former president said, was to publicly grant that he was the “severe conservative” he claimed to be, and then hang that unpopular ideology around his neck…

The bottom line here is that one can over-think this whole notion of framing your opponent. Ninety-nine times out of 100, the line of attack that works best is the one that really rings true. In the case of Mr. Romney, whatever his stated positions may be, the idea that he’s a far-right ideologue, a kind of Rush Limbaugh with better suits and frosty hair, just doesn’t feel especially persuasive.


But the idea that it was only Clinton that advocated this strategy or that without his influence the geniuses running the Obama campaign would not have made this mistake is so patently self-serving on the part of his sources that it’s a wonder that a generally savvy observer like Bai doesn’t point this out.

If anything this omission, like the general thrust of his piece, points to an effort by Obama’s chief strategists to get out in front of the story of who led the president to defeat. Moreover, it is hard not to avoid the suspicion that pointing the finger at Clinton is a way of reminding him that if he thinks Obama loyalists owe him for his herculean efforts on behalf of the president he’s got another thing coming. Especially, that is, if he tries to call in IOUs from the Obama camp on behalf of another presidential run by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

But no matter where the Democratic fingers are pointing, the fact that they are already starting to blame each other for an Obama loss has to send chills down the spines of Democrats who are still operating under the assumption that Romney can’t win.


[I]f you’re looking for a reason (besides, of course, the national polling showing an ever-so-slight Romney edge) why the media narrative has tilted toward the Republicans over the last week or so, I think the Romney campaign’s guarantee of victory has mattered much less than the Obama campaign’s recent aura of defeat.

Losing campaigns have a certain feel to them: They go negative hard, try out new messaging very late in the game, hype issues that only their core supporters are focused on, and try to turn non-gaffes and minor slip-ups by their opponents into massive, election-turning scandals. Think of John McCain’s desperate hope that elevating Joe the Plumber would change the shape of the 2008 race, and you have the template for how tin-eared and desperate a losing presidential campaign often sounds — and ever since the first debate cost Obama his air of inevitability, he and his surrogates have sounded more like McCain did with Joe the Plumber than like a typical incumbent president on his way to re-election. A winning presidential campaign would not normally be hyping non-issues like Big Bird and “binders full of women” in its quest for a closing argument, or rolling out a new spin on its second-term agenda with just two weeks left in the race, or pushing so many advertising chips into dishonest attacks on its rival’s position on abortion. A winning presidential campaign would typically be talking about the issues that voters cite as most important — jobs, the economy, the deficit — rather than trying to bring up Planned Parenthood and PBS at every opportunity. A winning presidential campaign would not typically have coined the term “Romnesia,” let alone worked it into their candidate’s speeches.


Obama senses it, but can’t quite believe it. He seems confused by how easily Romney started punching over his weight class on October 3rd. He seems surprised that the last two debates didn’t drop Governor Romney’s numbers like a rock. He’s frustrated that Romney is a happy warrior now, and it shows. He’s visibly irritable because all the press hits and ads and field work…and so, so much money… haven’t reduced Mitt Romney to dust…

For months, according to Team Obama, there was no path for a Romney victory. The Blue Wall states were immutable, the swing states were susceptible to his women-and-seniors-and-immigrants-and-students mojo. Everything that worked in 2008 would work now. Everything in the hard-hitting Chicago political tool box would be deployed, and by the end Mitt Romney would want to be in the Witness Protection Program.

But now, as the President’s options have narrowed and as the weight of Obama’s failures from the economy to the Libya fiasco come crashing down on his campaign, I’m feeling increasingly optimistic that we’ve passed an inflection point in the campaign where Obama’s familiar tools can’t help him pull off a miracle.

Obama was the candidate of the inevitable, unbeatable wave, not of the grind-it-out, cut-and-thrust of a motivated, funded and determined GOP and conservative base. Unlike McCain, Mitt Romney’s team won’t get hit and stand there with their jaws hanging down at the ungentlemanly conduct of the other side.



“You guys have some short memories. Folks in your business were writing me off a year ago, saying there was no way I would win.”

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