CNN's GUT CHECK | for November 2, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: OCTOBER JOBS REPORT: HIRING INCREASES, UNEMPLOYMENT UP… Hiring increased last month, while the unemployment rate ticked higher, according to a report released just four days before the presidential election. The economy added 171,000 jobs in October, while the unemployment ticked up to 7.9, from 7.8% in September, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists surveyed by CNNMoney had expected employers to add 125,000 positions in the month and unemployment to inch up to 7.9%. – Tami Luhby
DEVELOPING... OBAMA AND ROMNEY OFFER CLOSING ARGUMENTS in exclusive op-eds on CNN.com/OPINION:
BARACK OBAMA: Four years ago, we were mired in two wars and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Together, we've battled our way back. The war in Iraq is over, Osama bin Laden is dead, and our heroes are coming home. Our businesses have created more than 5 million new jobs in the last two and half years. Home values and 401(k)s are rising. We are less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last 20 years. And the American auto industry is back. … We're not there yet. But we've made real progress. And on Tuesday, America will get to choose between two fundamentally different visions of what makes America strong. ....The path Governor Romney offers is the one we tried for eight years after President Clinton left office - a philosophy that says those at the very top get to play by a very different set of rules than everyone else. Bigger tax cuts for the wealthy that we can't afford. Encouraging companies to ship jobs and profits overseas. Fewer rules for big banks and insurance companies. They're the policies that caused this mess in the first place.
MITT ROMNEY: We will produce more of the energy we need to heat our homes, fill our cars, and make our economy grow. We will stop President Obama's war on coal, his disdain for oil, and his effort to crimp natural gas by federal regulation of the very technology that produces it. … We will retrain our work force for the jobs of tomorrow and ensure that every child receives a quality education no matter where they live, including especially our inner cities. … We will restore fiscal sanity to Washington by bringing an end to the federal spending and borrowing binge that in just four years has added more debt held by the public than almost all previous administrations combined. … Finally, we will champion small business, the great engine of job creation in our country, by reforming the tax code and updating and reshaping regulations that have suffocated economic growth. … I am offering a contrast to what we are seeing in Washington today. We've watched as one party has pushed through its agenda without compromising with the other party. We've watched gridlock and petty conflict dominate while the most important issues confronting the nation, like chronic high unemployment, go unaddressed. The bickering has to end. I will end it. I will reach across the aisle to solve America's problems.
In the final weekends before the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, which candidate led by two points in each respective race?
On Fridays we like to reach out to the masters of the political class to learn from their lenses on politics. Today, we interviewed Adam Smith (@adamsmithtimes), political editor of the Tampa Bay Times, to learn about the state of the race in Florida.
GUT CHECK: What are Mitt Romney and Barack Obama’s strengths and weaknesses in Florida going into the closing days of the campaign?
SMITH: The longtime rule of thumb in Florida has been that statewide elections are decided in the middle - independent, swing voters especially in the I-4 Corridor. On that score it looks like Romney has an advantage.
But in polarized 2012, the rule may no longer hold true. This year, the base electorates may well tip Florida. Demographic trends in Florida definitely favor Democrats over the long-term, and if the massive Obama GOTV effort in this state is as strong as his people claim, the president may well eke out a Florida win, even as his margins shrink in conservative and swing counties.
GUT CHECK: Some people thought the Paul Ryan pick would hurt in Florida. Has he had any effect, and if so, what?
SMITH: I was one of those who initially thought Ryan would be a net loser in Florida - entitlements cuts, hard line immigration reform positions - but from what I've seen Republicans have done a good job turning the entitlement issue into a wash by hammering Obama for allegedly cutting $700 billion from Medicare to pay for the Affordable Care Act. Mostly the campaign has sent Ryan to GOP strongholds in Florida, and he may do more to energize the conservative base than to turn off the moderate middle.
GUT CHECK: What impact, if any, has Gov. Rick Scott and his tenure had on this campaign and the Florida electorate?
SMITH: Rick Scott certainly hasn't helped Romney. It's no accident the governor has barely ever appeared with Romney at public campaign events. That said, I have seen no evidence to suggest that our unpopular conservative governor has any bearing on Romney's support in Florida.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Election campaign ends with chess match in swing states
After years of planning and months of campaigning, the most expensive presidential race in history comes down to a final five-day whirlwind of speeches and television ads in the eight states still up for grabs. President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney plan to hold virtually nonstop events between now and the Tuesday election considered too close to call. – Tom Cohen
Leading Drudge: Obama Left Them Behind: Hungry Dumpster Diving In NYC
Homes and businesses in the Lower East Side and East Village are still without power and under water. Residents began dumpster diving outside a Key Food supermarket Thursday, looking for whatever food they can take. – Jonathan Vigliotti
Leading HuffPo: Bloom Goes The Dynamite
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Barack Obama for reelection on Thursday, Bloomberg TV reported and The Huffington Post confirmed. The mayor, an Independent, did not endorse a candidate in the 2008 election and hadn't seem poised to do so this time around either. But he said in an op ed published on his website that his eagerness to see action on climate change legislation persuaded him to back a second term for the president. Bloomberg also explained that while he admired Mitt Romney, his stance on a number of social issues gave him pause. – Sam Stein and Luke Johnson
Leading Politico: Liberals fear grand bargain betrayal if Obama wins
Labor unions and liberal interest groups are going all-out for President Barack Obama’s reelection — but they’re just as ready to turn that firepower back on him if he betrays them with a grand bargain. These groups fear a victorious Obama would ink a deal with Republicans during the fiscal cliff negotiations that slashes entitlement benefits. – Carrie Budoff Brown
Leading The New York Times: The Man Who Wields a Lead-Weighted Beanbag for Obama
Almost exactly four years ago, when President Obama was on the cusp of winning the White House, he spoke emotionally about David Axelrod, the strategist who guided him from the Illinois State Senate to the pinnacle of national politics. He praised Mr. Axelrod for his “basic take” on “how politics should be able to draw on our best and not our worst.” – Jim Rutenberg
The political bites of the day
- Clinton argues he knows what it takes, and POTUS has it -
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON AT AN OBAMA CAMPAIGN EVENT IN WISCONSIN ON THURSDAY: “I've had the job. I've fought the fights. I've made my mistakes. I know when you get down and crawl in the dirt and try and make change instead of talk about change. It is hard. He (Barack Obama) has done it. He has made the big decisions.”
- Ryan to volunteers: Meet the moment -
PAUL RYAN AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN LAS VEGAS ON THURSDAY: “Let’s just wake up on Wednesday morning and look back at this moment as the time we met the moment. That we did everything we could possibly do to get people to the polls. Talk to those people who may have voted for hope and change and know that it didn't work. Let’s wake up Wednesday morning and know that we met this moment and we turned our country around and we got ourselves back on the right track.”
- Rand Paul: FEMA is 'inefficient' -
SEN. RAND PAUL OF KENTUCKY IN AN INTERVIEW WITH ERIN BURNETT ON THURSDAY NIGHT: “What I have always maintained on our side is that FEMA should exist on money that comes in as revenue, but not on borrowed money, so really the fight wasn't about whether or not we should borrow money for FEMA or come from existing funds. To me it’s a matter of priorities. We send billions of dollars overseas to aid other countries. I’m for keeping that money home and paying for FEMA with that rather than borrowing money.” LINK
- Biden highlights early voting, talks open bars and love -
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN REVEALS THE TOP 10 REASONS TO VOTE EARLY ON DAVID LETTERMAN’S LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW:
10. I'm not saying each early voter gets a free cheeseburger, but I'm not saying they don't either.
9. It's vastly more effective than voting late.
8. You know who votes early? People with a backbone like a ramrod.
7. In a less crowded polling center, there's plenty of room to stretch out, linger and relax.
6. If you vote early, you don't have to pay taxes…. (Looks off to the side) I'm sorry; I'm being told that's not accurate.
5. Single and looking to mingle? Find that special someone on the early voting line.
4. Of course, there is the open bar.
3. Not exercising your right to vote is malarkey - it's literally malarkey.
2. Early voters will receive a $5 million donation from Donald Trump.
1. Honestly, don't you want this election over with already?
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
e mcmorris-santoro (@evanmc_s)
Howey/DePauw poll of #INSEN: Joe Donnelly 47, Richard Mourdock 36. Pollster: "Joe Donnelly will be the next U.S. Senator."
David Beard (@dabeard)
Haley Barbour: Republicans, don't bash @GovChristie for nicey-nice w Obama: http://wapo.st/SAnCYB #sandy @WashingtonPost
CNN Mornings (@cnnmornings)
JUST IN: AAA reports the national average price for gallon of regular gasoline is down 1.1 cents to $3.50. #gasprices
Reid Wilson (@HotlineReid)
Everyone who's anyone in GOP politics is going to Romney's Friday rally in West Chester, OH. Check out this guest list: http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/332248/romneys-friday-night-ohio-rally-features-everyone-everyone#
Ivan Watson (@IvanCNN)
Matt Romney goes looking for investment money in Russia, country his father called America's "No 1 geopolitical foe" http://nyti.ms/X4MaMU
Pete Cashmore (@mashable)
Pew: Social Media Users 'Relentlessly Negative' About Politics – http://on.mash.to/SCVKEc
Amie McLain (@AmieMcLain)
You get an extra hour of sleep this weekend!! Set your clocks because we FALL back an hour. Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday at 2am.
Robert Reich (@RBReich)
Starting next Wed we start focusing on something prez candidates haven't even mentioned: January's fiscal cliff.
Ari Shapiro (@Ari_Shapiro)
It is not yet 7 am, and Rebecca Black's "Friday" is blasting through the Romney bus. FOR THE LAST TIME.
AD WATCH: CMAG lists the top 10 stations for political ad occurrences in the 2012 election cycle as of October 27:
1) KSNV (Las Vegas/NBC)
2) WKYC (Cleveland/NBC)
3) KRNV (Reno/NBC)
4) WBAY (Green Bay/ABC)
5) KTNV (Las Vegas/ABC)
6) WOIO (Cleveland/CBS)
7) WEWS (Cleveland/ABC)
8) WJW (Cleveland/FOX)
9) WBNS (Columbus/CBS)
10) WSYX (Columbus/ABC).
“All these markets also are relatively cheap, the most expensive being 18th-ranked Cleveland. Because advertising rates differ from market to market, stations that air the most political spots typically are not also the ones reaping the most political ad revenue.”
“This explains why none of Washington, D.C.’s “big four” stations make the list of top-ranked stations by ad occurrences—yet all four make the list of top 10 for political ad spend. NBC owned-and-operated station WRC leads the pack among stations for all political ad spending this cycle. FOX’s Washington O&O WTTG ranks second, ABC affiliate WJLA ranks third, and CBS affiliate WUSA ranks seventh.”
Two different races, one common candidate – and both extremely close contests.
On this weekend in both 2000 and 2004, the presidential race was within two points, according to the Gallup Daily Tracking poll. On November 5, 2000, Gallup had then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush leading Vice President Al Gore 47% to 45%. Likewise, on October 31, 2004, Bush led Sen. John Kerry 49% to 47%.
In both cases, Bush went on to win the election by a slim margin.
In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Gallup announced it would only have one more daily tracking poll before the November 6 election. This is a change for the organization that has highlighted its daily tracking poll for years.
“There is so much disruption that it would not be an accurate rendering of what is going on,” said Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of Gallup. “Gallup is now tentatively planning on conducting interviewing over the last four days of this week, Thursday through Sunday, to provide a final pre-election estimate of the election race.”
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
No correct trivia answers today.
Our inbox awaits: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing email@example.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.