Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal editorial was right.
Mitt Romney is running the kind of cautious campaign that could lead him to defeat.
Right now, Obama is leading Mitt Romney in national trial heats by 2.6 points overall according to the latest Real Clear Politics average (47.0 percent to 44.4 percent)
And he holds a narrow lead in head-to-head matchups in key swing states as well – as evidenced by the RCP Battleground averages in Ohio (46.2 percent to 43.6 percent) , Florida ( 46.7 percent to 45 percent) and Virginia (47.2 percent to 44.8 percent.
In Florida, according to a Quinnipiac University poll, Obama leads among the key constituency of independent voters by a 44 percent to 37 percent margin, and leads among Latinos, 56 percent to 32 percent—having picked up seven points since issuing an executive order easing U.S. deportation policy.
The Romney campaign has premised itself on the notion that President Obama’s approval rating is below 50 percent – overall and on the economy – and that as the economy weakens, more and more swing voters will throw their support behind Romney.
But by thinking they “ can play it safe and coast to the White House by saying the economy stinks and it’s Mr. Obama’s fault.” they have lost the week.
The Supreme Court health-care ruling presented a long-term opportunity for Romney and Republicans to portray the Obamacare penalty as a Middle Class Tax Hike – that is clear and undeniable.
Not only did the Romney Campaign fail to seize this opportunity, they put forth contradictory statements that “muddied the tax issue in a way that will help Mr. Obama’s claims that he is merely taxing rich folks like Mr. Romney” – making it “harder for Republicans to again turn ObamaCare into the winning issue it was in 2010.”
Governor Romney was forced on the defensive on two occasions this week – the first, following a Monday television appearance by Romney senior campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, who argued on MSNBC that the mandate is a penalty, not a tax and again after Rupert Murdoch and Jack Welch advised him via Twitter to replace his senior staff if he wanted to win in November.
Meanwhile President Obama has gone on the offensive this week – calling foreign-born citizens critical to American success and making another pitch for comprehensive immigration reform during July Fourth White House citizenship ceremony for 25 immigrants who are serving in the military on Wednesday, and launching his “Betting On America” bus tour through key swing states Pennsylvania and Ohio on Thursday – further underscoring the absence of coherent leadership, message, or vision.
I have written previously with Pat Caddell that both the Obama and Romney campaigns are now seeking to frame the upcoming election as a fundamental choice between two failed visions and approaches to governing.