POLITICS

Morning Examiner: The Final Four

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll

With less that two weeks to go before election day, the race for the White House has narrowed to just four states. And if Mitt Romney manages to win just two of them, he’ll reach 270 electoral college votes.

Real Clear Politics currently identifies 11 states as battlegrounds in the presidential election: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

But President Obama seems to be dominating Nevada early voting, adding about 5,000 to his lead every day, and Romney is not closing the gap in public polls in the state. Despite some earlier hopeful signs, Pennsylvania is also trending back to Obama with a new Rasmussen poll showing Obama up 5. Michigan also looks like an uphill climb for Romney, where Rasmussen has Obama up 7 and the Real Clear Politics average has Obama up 4. Give all those states to Obama, and his electoral college vote total rises to 243.

But Romney looks like he is sweeping the southern swing states of Florida (Romney +1.7), North Carolina (Romney +4), and Virginia (Romney +1.5). Not only is Romney up in these states, but momentum is on his side. Romney also has momentum in Colorado where a new NBC news poll not only shows the race tide but, for the first time, Obama “is now losing suburban Denver voters as well as independents to Romney.” Add these states to Romney’s column and he has 257 electoral college votes.

That leaves, Iowa (Obama +2), Wisconsin (Obama +2.7), Ohio (Obama +2), and New Hampshire (Obama +.8). If Romney can take Ohio he’ll have 275 electoral college votes, more than enough to win. But, even if Romney loses Ohio, he can still win if he takes Wisconsin and then wins either Iowa or New Hampshire. In other words, if Romney can bat .500 from here on out, he’ll be the next president of the United States.

From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: Ryan outlines conservative approach to poverty
Byron York: While Romney argues case, Obama urges early voting
Tim Carney: For Democrats, Not All Men and Women Are Created Equal
Joel Gehrke: Obama thinks John Roberts made a political decision in Obamacare case

If Romney can manage to bat .500 from here on out, he’ll be the next president of the United States.

Campaign 2012
Polls: Romney expanded his lead in The Washington Post/ABC News daily tracking poll yesterday where he now leads Obama 50 percent to 47 percent. Romney also expanded his lead over Obama on the economy, 52 percent to 43 percent.
Obama: The Obama campaign started yesterday with a Rolling Stone interview where Obama called Romney a “bullshi**er” and ended it with a video of Lena Dunham favorably comparing voting for Obama to losing your virginity.
Ad Wars: Republicans are spending more on television advertising than Democrats, but Democrats are getting more airtime for their dollars.

In Other News
The Washington Post, ‘Fiscal cliff’ already hampering U.S. economy, report says: The “fiscal cliff” is still two months off, but the scheduled blast of tax hikes and spending cuts is already reverberating through the U.S. economy, hampering growth and, according to a new study, wiping out nearly 1 million jobs this year alone.
The Baltimore Sun, Less than half of mortgage settlement money has gone to housing: Less than half of the $2.5 billion that states received from a national settlement six months ago —stemming from mortgage lenders’ misdeeds, including “robo-signing” — has been spent on housing-related activities, according to a study released this month by Enterprise Community Partners Inc.
The Wall Street Journal, Iranians Build Up Afghan Clout: Iran is funding aid projects and expanding intelligence networks across Afghanistan, moving to fill the void to be left by the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, according to U.S. and Afghan officials.
The New York Times, Billions in Hidden Riches for Family of Chinese Leader: A review of corporate and regulatory records indicates that Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao’s relatives, some of whom have a knack for aggressive deal-making, including his wife, have controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion.

Righty Playbook
The Heritage Foundation responds to Obama’s New Economic Patriotism.
Robert Moffit & Alyene Senger explain why Medicare is not at “efficient” as liberals say it is.
The Weekly Standard‘s Daniel Halper notes that Hillary Clinton told the father of the former SEAL slain in Libya, “We’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video.”

Lefty Playbook
The New York Times Nate Silver argues that Romney’s momentum “seems to have stopped.”
Talking Points Memo says the expiration of the payroll tax cut, not the rest of the fiscal cliff, is the real threat to economic growth next year.
Think Progress updates their list of CEO’s threatening to fire employees if Obama wins reelection.

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