Obama: “Florida, you can trust what I say.”
By JOE HARRIS
FORT LAUDERDALE — On Monday and Tuesday, the faces of President Obama, Mitt Romney, and their running mates were as familiar to South Floridians as the senior citizen actors in the Seminole Casino commercials. All four ticket headliners were in and around Greater Fort Lauderdale—leaving the requisite traffic delays in their individual and collective wakes—to take a last-minute swing at breaking the virtual dead-heat in national polls, including numbers that still make the Sunshine State very much in play.
Following Monday night’s presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, a tour of electoral vote-rich Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Ohio proved to be the order of the days, with an additional six-state swing announced by the president, including at least two additional trips to Florida, and one to Iowa—with its six electoral votes—just before Gov. Romney’s own trip to the Hawkeye State. It disappoints the GOP nominee that, despite the state’s conservative-bent (and dislike of progressive state judges), Iowa remains a tossup.
On Tuesday, the president assailed Romney at a rally in Delray Beach, accusing the former Massachusetts governor of flip-flopping so often that he needs Obamacare to cover his pre-existing “Romnesia.” Obama told supporters, “Florida, you know me. You can trust what I say.”
Obama’s camp is trying to squash the allegations that the president has no second term agenda, only attacks against the Republican nominee. “Read my plan, compare it to Gov. Romney’s and decide which is better for you,” Obama says in an ad that is playing in Florida and other battleground states. “It’s an honor to be your president, and I’m asking for your vote so together we can keep moving America forward.”
The Obama campaign has printed 3.5 million of copies of a new 20-page booklet—“The New Economic Patriotism: A Plan for Jobs & Middle Class Security”—of goals for the next term.
But the real test of Mr. Romney’s ability to win will not come until after both camps engage in a brutal, last push. Key to that push is the race to 270, the number of electoral votes needed to win the election. With more than 40 states now basically uncompetitive, the two campaigns are intensifying their focus on the six or seven that are truly close.
There’s good and bad news for both the president and Romney. Although polls continue to suggest that the GOP nominee has a slight lead in the Sunshine State, the president isn’t willing to cede the field just yet. And despite Romney’s lead in Florida, several polls show that he is still trailing—by as much as 2 percentage points—in states that matter in the Electoral College.
According to an analysis that was released October 21 by the FiveThirtyEight polling organization, Romney has a 68 percent chance of winning Florida and its whopping 29 electoral votes. The FiveThirtyEight method is, principally, an Electoral College simulation, which relies heavily on state-by-state polling. That same analysis shows Obama with a 67.6 percent chance of winning the Electoral College, and thus securing a second term.