How to Tell Which Campaign Thinks They're Winning — and Losing
Even more significantly, according the the Lehigh Valley Morning Call, several Romney super Pacs have also begun to pour money into the state. "Karl Rove's American Crossroads made a $1.2 million buy, and the billionaire Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity a $1.5 million buy, both groups revealed Wednesday." The paper is also reporting that two of Romney's main surrogates, Marco Rubio and Tagg Romney, will visit the state.
Coupled with Romney's investment of precious campaign cash, that's not only an awful lot of money for a week's worth of ads, but it also gives the lie to the Obama campaign's charge that this is just an elaborate feint by the Romney team to force a counter-move by the Obama camp. David Axelrod told the Morning Joe program that "he'll shave his mustache of 40 years if Obama loses the state." Darn. And I was going to buy David a mustache trimmer for Christmas.
It's still an uphill battle for Romney in Pennsylvania, but with the northeastern part of the state angry over Obama's coal policy and suburban enclaves returning home to support Republicans, the Romney camp obviously sees an opening and is looking to exploit it.
Mitt Romney has said repeatedly over the last week that he wants to "expand the map" into states won by President Obama in 2008 and thought safe for the Democrats in 2012. He is doing this in Pennsylvania, in Wisconsin, and, to some extent, in Michigan (although there are no plans yet announced for either Romney or Ryan to make a stop there). The Romney campaign has purchased some ad time in Michigan, however, and the Obama camp was forced to counter. This, indeed, may be a feint given the historic ability of Michigan's unions to get out the vote for Democrats and the most recent Detroit Free Press poll that gives Obama a 6 point lead. But stranger things have happened, and if the Romney campaign sniffs a shift in those polls before Tuesday, they may add a stop or two in Michigan.
It is Wisconsin where the Obama camp appears to be most worried. Despite a Marquette Law School poll showing the president leading by 8 points in the Badger State, the Obama campaign has scheduled no less than three additional appearances in Wisconsin before the election (the president was in Green Bay on Thursday). Clearly, if the president really thought he was up by 8 points in a state he won by 10 in 2008, he wouldn't be spending precious time by visiting the state to shore up his support.
Part of the explanation for the Obama camp's nervousness in Wisconsin may be that the GOP has a get-out-the-vote operation that for once is the equal to, or superior to, that of the Democrats. The massive organization built by Scott Walker that outperformed the polls in his recall election last summer has been augmented by the RNC. Obama doesn't need Wisconsin to win. But losing the state would help Romney tremendously.
The president was in Las Vegas on Thursday while Paul Ryan visited Reno. The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that Romney is likely to make one more stop before election day in the state. The precious hours spent on the campaign plane to get to Nevada means that the GOP has hardly given up despite a recent poll showing the president up by 4.
Nevada is another state thought safely in Obama's column which now has shown a narrowing to where Republicans believe they have a legitimate shot. Obama's lead in early voting is only half of what it was in 2008, giving Romney hope that the state's sizable Mormon population and the historic advantage Republicans hold outside of Clark County (Las Vegas) could tip Nevada to the GOP in 2012.
The rest of the scheduling will probably reflect the closeness of the races in Florida, Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Virginia. Both candidates, their running mates, their wives, and their surrogates will fan out across these states digging for every last vote, boosting the spirits of volunteers by dropping by campaign offices, participating in interviews with local media, and revving up their respective get-out-the-vote operations. It is likely that additional events will be added to each day's calendar; rallies will be held far into the night as the candidates push themselves to exhaustion by working 20 hour days.
As for where to get a good idea of both campaign's schedules, CNN's Political Ticker publishes a rundown every morning. Politico has a calendar that lists daily campaign stops for the principles as well as major surrogates. And the campaign websites might have updates that will be helpful.