CNN’s GUT CHECK for September 20, 2012
Mitt Romney addresses a crowd in North Las Vegas, Nevada.
September 20th, 2012
05:06 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN’s GUT CHECK for September 20, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for September 20, 2012| 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: WITH 47 DAYS TO GO, PRESIDENTIAL RACE TIED NATIONALLY: 47% – 47% among registered voters.

And in the battleground state of Nevada, a new CNN/ORC Poll tells us: Obama 49% - Romney 46%, well within the margin of error. Our take below.

OBAMA: NO WE CAN'T, BUT YOU CAN... President Barack Obama at a forum hosted by Univision: "I've learned some lessons... Most important is you can't change Washington from inside, only from the outside. That's how some of our biggest accomplishments like health care got done – mobilizing the American people."

ROMNEY POUNCES ON "SURRENDER" OF MANTLE OF CHANGE... Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney seized on the comments at a campaign event in Sarasota, Florida: "The president today threw in the white flag of surrender again. He said he can't change Washington from inside; he can only change it from outside. Well, we're going to give him that chance in November, we're going to send him outside... He went from the president of change to the president who can't get change."

DOWN BALLOT DRAG? GOP SENATE CANDIDATE BLAMES ROMNEY FOR HIS BAD POLL NUMBERS… Wisconsin Republican senate candidate Tommy Thompson in an interview with WKOW: “The presidential thing is bound to have an impact on every election… You know, whether you're a Democrat or Republican. If you're a standard-bearer for the presidency is not doing well, it's going to reflect on the down ballot."

TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer below)
What Nixon administration decision on this week in history was aimed at appeasing anti-Vietnam War protests?

MARK (@PrestonCNN) & MICHELLE (@MJaconiCNN)
What caught our eye today in politics

Since mid-April, close to $30 million has been spent on television ads trying to influence the outcome of the presidential race in Nevada.

At stake: six electoral votes.

So much money for just a handful of votes is illustrative of how the candidates and their allies are fighting dollar-for-dollar in every battleground state. The spending is likely only going to increase in the Silver State in the closing weeks of this campaign.

A just released CNN/ORC International Poll of likely voters in Nevada shows President Barack Obama has a slight edge over Mitt Romney, 49% to 46%, but Obama’s advantage falls well within the survey’s 3.5 point margin of error.

The state is up for grabs.

In addition to the TV ad spending, the Republican National Committee is now moving staffers out of New Mexico and sending them to Nevada and Colorado – two states the GOP thinks Romney has a better chance of winning.

No wonder Obama’s campaign has spent more than $1.1 million and the Democratic-friendly labor group SEIU COPE an additional $98,400 on TV ads in the past two weeks, according to Campaign Media Analysis Group, CNN’s consultant on political television advertising.

Romney has spent roughly half of what Obama has on TV ads in this period in Nevada, but his conservative allies are filling the void. Five third-party groups have spent nearly $1.7 million in this two-week period, according to Campaign Media Analysis Group. The biggest spenders: Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies: $755,000, American Crossroads: $538,000, Americans for Prosperity: $320,000, Republican Jewish Coalition: $66,000, and American Principles in Action: $10,000.

Who are the candidates and outside groups trying to reach? A very small number of people, according to the CNN/ORC poll. A whopping 90% of likely voters have made up their minds about whom they will vote for president, according to the survey.

The candidates’ current target: 8% who say they could change their minds.

The Nevada poll is very consistent with what we would expect to see in the other battleground states in terms of support for each candidate. Obama does better with women, 57%; Romney with men, 53%; Obama gets 57% of support from voters who earn less than $50,000, while Romney receives 53% of support from voters who make more than $50,000; and Obama does better with voters younger than 50, while Romney does better with voters older than 50.

Romney does hold a 2 point edge with independents, but that is basically nullified by the 6 point margin of error for that demographic.

This leads us to a very simple conclusion: More and more TV ads will begin to appear on the Nevada airwaves, which will only mean that Campaign Media Analysis Group’s $30 million estimate of TV ads for the state is only going to increase. Sorry John Ralston (@ralstonreports).

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNN Politics: Romney campaign aims to recalibrate campaign around economic message
In response to sagging battleground polls and criticism from some Republican party insiders, the Romney campaign – as part of its recalibration – intends to get more specific with its economic message, trying to reach out to the increasing number of voters who believe Mitt Romney doesn't understand their problems. – Gloria Borger

Leading Drudge: Gallup O 47% M 47%
These are the results when registered voters are asked: "Suppose the presidential election were held today. If Barack Obama were the Democratic Party's candidate and Mitt Romney were the Republican Party's candidate, who would you vote for, Barack Obama, the Democrat or Mitt Romney, the Republican?" – From Gallup

Leading HuffPo: Head For The Hills
Senate Republicans insist that Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comment won’t hurt them in their campaigns, but that didn’t stop them from running for the hills when the subject came up. – Jennifer Bendery and Michal McAuliff

Leading Politico: Dems surge in key Senate campaigns
Democratic candidates in some of the most critical Senate races in the country are surging, putting the party in the best position of the election cycle to keep its majority in November. – John Bresnahan, Manu Raju and David Catanese

Leading The New York Times: In a Tight Race, Obama Draws on the Levers of His Power
For months, government lawyers and economists worked behind the scenes to develop a trade case against China. Then last month came a eureka moment: They confirmed the existence of a Chinese subsidy program for automobiles and parts that in their view violated international trade rules. They finished a complaint, circulated it among agencies and proposed a time frame for filing. – Peter Baker and Eric Lipton

TRAIL MOMENTS
The political bites of the day

== VIRGINIA SENATE DEBATE SPONSORED BY NBC4 AND THE FAIRFAX COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ==
– Allen on 47%: ‘I have my own point of view’ –
VIRGINIA REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE GEORGE ALLEN IN A TELEVISED DEBATE THURSDAY: “I have my own point of view… My point of view is the people of America still believe in the American dream… everyone has that equal opportunity to compete and pursue their dreams.”
-- Kaine says he is open to a minimum tax –
VIRGINIA DEMOCRATIC SENATE CANDIDATE TIM KAINE IN A TELEVISED DEBATE: “Everyone pays taxes… I would be open to a proposal that would have some minimum tax level for everyone. But I do insist - many of the 47% that Gov. Romney was going after pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than he does.”

– Boehner says Romney’s 47% comments ‘off the message’ –
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER IN A NEWS CONFERENCE ON CAPITOL HILL: “You're going to have candidates –both campaigns on both sides - say things that get off the message. The message is: Let's stay focused on jobs because that's what the American people want us to stay focused on.”

– Romney ‘takes’ compliment from Obama’ –
MITT ROMNEY IN A MEET THE CANDIDATES EVENT ON TELEMUNDO: “First of all, I would repeal all of Obamacare and replace it with I think the kinds of reforms we really need. And I have experience in healthcare reform. Now and then the president says I’m the grandfather of Obamacare. I don’t think he meant that as a compliment, but I’ll take it.”

– Changing 47% to 100% –
MITT ROMNEY IN A MEET THE CANDIDATES EVENT ON TELEMUNDO: “This is a campaign about the 100 percent. And over the last several years you’ve seen greater and greater divisiveness in this country. We had hoped to come back together, but instead you’ve seen us pull apart. And politics has driven us apart in some respect. So my campaign is about the 100 percent of America. And I’m concerned about them. I’m concerned about the fact that over the past four years life has become harder for Americans. More people have fallen into poverty. More people we just learned have had to go onto food stamps.”

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Barack Obama (@BarackObama)
47 days left to re-elect a President who won't write off 47% of the country: http://OFA.BO/pTQ4Dm

Glen Johnson (@globeglen)
MASS. SENATE: Scott Brown speaks to the Globe's Bobby Calvan about possibility of missing debate... http://bo.st/OJpzNM #mapoli

Brian McClung (@bmcclung)
AP: Pawlenty rules out electoral bid in ’14 after taking new job at Financial Services Roundtable http://bit.ly/NEHFEC @stowydad

Molly Ball (@mollyesque)
My magazine profile of @GovGaryJohnson, in which he declines to take off his clothes and run around Dupont Circle. bit.ly/PePZZW

Mollie Z. Hemingway (@MZHemingway)
'Battle for conservative soul is one of most interesting things happening, there is no counterpart on left.'

Evan Perez (@evanperez)
Today may be day DC's unexpectedly good baseball squad quenches 79yr baseball playoff drought for capital cityhttp://wapo.st/UqwfFG #Nats

TRIVIA ANSWER

During summer 1969, the Nixon administration was concerned that anti-Vietnam War protests would escalate as students returned to college campuses around the country. So on September 19, 1969, Nixon announced that he would be canceling the draft calls for November and December of 1969.

“These actions have been made possible by the reduction in our forces of 60,000 in Vietnam which I announced on Tuesday and by other actions taken by the Department of Defense under the manpower program,” Nixon said in Roosevelt Room of the White House. LINK

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=2237

With 32,000 young men set to ship out in November and another 18,000 in December, the decision kept more than 50,000 soldiers from being drafted.

Both theses moves – the cancellation of the draft and the force reduction legislation – were part of Nixon’s efforts to turn the war over to the South Vietnamese.

Looking back, though, these changes did little to quell the fervor of anti-war protests.

In November 1969, an estimated 500,000 people participated in an anti-war March on Washington. These protests culminated on the steps of the Capitol, where a group of protesters held a candlelight vigil and sang songs long into the night.

GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)

Both Bernard Lin (@blin11592) and Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) were close to the correct answer in today’s Gut Check Trivia question. Their answer: the deferment of 35,000 troops. Correct answer: the deferment of 50,000 troops.

GOT NEWS?
Our inbox awaits: gutcheck@cnn.com
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing gutcheck@cnn.com
Tips or comments? Send them to Michelle; send complaints to Preston, because he is already in a bad mood. We also want to give a shout out to Dan Merica, who runs our Twitter account @gutCheckCNN and enriches this product every single day.


Filed under: 2012
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Shouldn't a plutocrat like Mittens be wearing gloves so he does not get germs from you people?

    September 20, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. My America

    Has anybody else noticed Romney is just repeating anything he hears from the Democratic side? Republicans are just going to have to understand the "Information age" does not allow us to be able to forget the dirty politics, scare tactics, or other mass media tricks used before. We know what good and definitly what bad things Republicans are involved with. You just have to understand Republicans this time you put your money on the wrong guy. There can be no world take over by the rich with a guy like that Sorry. Ask me and I will tell you how, since your evil plans are not working.

    September 20, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  3. DENNA

    Mitt Romney just looks so smarmy. He makes my skin crawl. Why doesn't he unveil his financial plan for America? If he did that he might rise in the polls – or not.

    September 20, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |