Who’s Up? Hint: It’s Not the Guy Who Wants a Truce.

A Truce?

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Not So Fast

With three national polls that show the President holding a substantial lead over challenger Mitt Romney, the challenge is not to make too big a deal of it. The nine percent  lead that Fox News polling, for instance, attributes to the President is far more than he beat John McCain by after a financial crisis and Sarah Palin. So the Obama campaign naturally prefers to lower expectations.

Obama consultant David Axelrod told Time Magazine: “I don’t think we have a nine-point lead. You know, there was a time a couple months ago when one public poll had us up 13. At the same time, another poll had us down by six. I think these public polls create the impression of volatility but, you know, I think we’re in a solid position in a tough and close race.”

Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight agrees with that assessment.

Let’s Just Forget I Ever Said “Bain”

What is the Romney campaign saying? In Spanish, it might sound a bit like, “No Más.”

Romney told NBC’s Chuck Todd, “Our campaign would be — helped immensely if we had an agreement between both campaigns that we were only going to talk about issues and that attacks based upon — business or family or taxes or things of that nature.”

Benjy Sarlin at Talking Points Memo points out that this attempt to refocus the campaign away from his business record is a reversal for Romney: ” From his campaign’s earliest days, Romney argued repeatedly that voters should elect him because of his private-sector experience, crediting his investments in Bain with creating 100,00 jobs (a claim that fact-checkers have heavily disputed).”

So far Romney has asked for an apology from the Obama campaign and now a truce on his business record and taxes — tactics that do not feel very reminiscent of Reagan or Bush. But neither of them had 30 years in the complex world of private equity to explain.

When’s the Bounce?

The Romney campaign has set the expectation for its post-convention bounce at 11 percent as the challenger, in contrast to seven percent for the incumbent — which would still leave the President ahead, according to Markos at Daily Kos. But there are problems for Mitt with the conventional bounces most candidates get from choosing a running mate and then a celebratory convention. Either Romney will be muscled into choosing Paul Ryan who carries a the unpopularity of the House Republicans with him or Romney ends up disappointing very influential members of his base. He also lacks a life story that matches the war valor of Dole and McCain or the Born Again renewal of George W. Bush.

The good news for Romney is that the national polls are probably somewhat inflated at this point after his rough July, even if Mitt Romney doesn’t know he had a rough July. That gives him a lot of room for a comeback.

Verdict: The President is up but Romney isn’t down and out.



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