Today the Mitt Romney campaign released a memo describing what the campaign calls its “ever expanding” map to win 270 electoral votes and capture the presidency. The memo, written by Romney political director Rich Beeson, leads off noting that former PA Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, has stated that a “startling upset” for Romney over Obama is a possibility in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has consistently been in the “safe Democrat” column until the past couple of days. It is now rated “lean Democrat” by ABC News and as a “toss up” by the RealClearPolitics average.
“What a difference a few days makes,” Beeson writes. “Not only has Minnesota has been moved to ‘Lean Dem’ and the Obama Campaign is up in that state with a significant television buy, but the Chicago gurus have heeded Governor Rendell’s plea and are buying television in Pennsylvania and sending the Vice-President in to help prop up their flagging campaign.”
Beeson writes that the Romney campaign’s strong fundraising efforts enable it to compete with the president’s campaign across the board, while leaving none of the “lean Romney” states short of support. “As a campaign, we will put more resources into the target states in the final week, than previous GOP campaigns have been able to do in the final 10 weeks. The Romney campaign has the resources to expand the map in ways that weren’t possible in past cycles (without reducing any effort in any other target state). After fully funding the paid media effort, the ground operations and the voter contact programs, Governor Romney’s message of bringing real recovery continues to resonate with voters, volunteers, and donors.”
Beeson adds that Obama is particularly vulnerable in Pennsylvania because of the “war on coal,” which has targeted western Pennsylvania. “The western part of the Keystone State has become more conservative (and President Obama’s war on coal is very unpopular there), and Mitt Romney is more competitive in the voter-rich Philadelphia suburbs than any Republican nominee since 1988. This makes Pennsylvania a natural next step as we expand the playing field,” Beeson writes.
Comparing the body language of the two campaigns, it’s evident that the Romney campaign is confidently moving forward into states thought to have been safe for Obama, while the president’s top men played an unconvincing defense during their conference call on Monday. No McCain 2008 state is in play for Obama, while the president’s firewall has become a 5-alarm blaze.
Update: Meanwhile, Ohio’s polls may be understating Romney’s support there.