CNN's GUT CHECK | for October 8, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: ROMNEY LEADS OBAMA 49% – 45% IN NEW PEW POLL… “Mitt Romney no longer trails Barack Obama in the Pew Research Center’s presidential election polling,” President of Pew Research Center Andrew Kohut writes. “Romney has drawn even with Obama in the presidential race among registered voters (46% to 46%) after trailing by nine points (42% to 51%) in September. Among likely voters, Romney holds a slight 49% to 45% edge over Obama. He trailed by eight points among likely voters last month.”
WHY? “By about three-to-one, voters say Romney did a better job than Obama in the Oct. 3 debate, and the Republican is now better regarded on most personal dimensions and on most issues than he was in September. Romney is seen as the candidate who has new ideas and is viewed as better able than Obama to improve the jobs situation and reduce the budget deficit. Fully 66% of registered voters say Romney did the better job in last Wednesday’s debate, compared with just 20% who say Obama did better,” Kohut explains.
METHODOLOGY: “The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 4-7 among 1,511 adults, including 1,201 registered voters (1,112 likely voters), finds that 67% of Romney’s backers support him strongly, up from 56% last month. For the first time in the campaign, Romney draws as much strong support as does Obama.”
DEVELOPING: VP DEBATE PREP UNDERWAY… Vice President Joe Biden is currently in Wilmington, Delaware prepping for the vice presidential debate Thursday. However, the Obama campaign does not expect Biden, a former senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to make up for the president's showing in the first presidential debate, according to multiple Democratic sources.- Jesscia Yellin
MEANWHILE: Paul Ryan says Romney raised the bar; warns listeners to watch for a “flying” Biden… Paul Ryan in an interview with Detroit radio station WJR: “He raised the bar quite high, that's for sure. Mitt definitely put the pressure on from that perspective. … Joe Biden is just going to come flying at us. It seems pretty clear that their new strategy is just basically to call us liars, to descend down into a mud pit, and hopefully with enough mudslinging back and forth–and distortion–people get demoralized and they can win by default.”
Last week, the Washington Nationals’ Teddy Roosevelt showed his athletic prowess by winning his first president’s race. Known for his athletic prowess, what did the real Teddy say when he encountered an obstacle on a hike?
Just hours after Mitt Romney delivered what was billed as a major foreign policy address by his campaign, what caught our eye today was not what we saw, but what we didn’t in terms of reaction from conservative thought leaders.
As of late this afternoon, Red State, The Weekly Standard and National Review did not have a fresh take on Romney’s speech from the Virginia Military Institute where he accused President Obama of leading “from behind” in terms of the Middle East. The speech was an effort by the Romney campaign to call into question Obama’s record on foreign policy at a time when polls shows that voters have confidence in the president on this subject.
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld did weigh in on Twitter and described Romney’s address as a “Terrific, comprehensive speech by Gov. Romney at VMI. He knows America's role in the world should be as a leader not as a spectator.”
The liberal blogs pounced on Romney’s address with ThinkProgress saying that the former Massachusetts governor reversed himself on foreign aid and a post on DailyKos mocked Rumsfeld’s tweet.
It is a federal holiday and Washington, DC is only half open, so we will likely see reaction from conservatives overnight, as Red State Editor Erick Erickson suggested.
Erickson said that the speech was important because it highlighted that “Barack Obama’s campaign went from Osama bin Laden is dead and al-Qaeda is on the run to al-Qaeda is alive and our ambassador is dead.”
But Erickson noted that his foreign policy review of the Obama administration cannot stand on its own, rather it should be part of a larger argument against another four years for Obama.
“I think that Mitt Romney is going to need to turn this into a larger critique of the Obama administration,” said Erickson, who is a CNN contributor. “They can’t handle foreign policy and the economy separately.”
Still, there are only 29 days left until Election Day, maybe some conservatives would rather see Romney devote his time and energy to the economy. A Romney adviser, who asked not to be named, did tell us that the focus in these closing days should be 100 percent dedicated to contrasting the governor’s economic vision to the president’s record.
The topic du jour of Columbus Day was foreign policy – will Romney follow Erickson’s counsel and link it tomorrow to his economic message?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Romney calls for strong U.S. role in world affairs
Mitt Romney promised Monday to restore the traditional U.S. foreign policy dating to the end of World War II, based on exerting influence through military and economic power, in a major speech two weeks before he debates President Barack Obama on international issues. – Tom Cohen
Leading Drudge: 'Hope Is Not A Strategy'
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Monday that President Obama has embraced a passive foreign policy that retreats from the bipartisan consensus that has governed for generations, and said that under Mr. Obama the United States no longer shapes events on the global stage. – Seth McLaughlin for The Washington Times
Leading HuffPo: Too Close for Comfort
The surprisingly strong debate performance by Republican nominee Mitt Romney against President Barack Obama last week has resulted in a dramatic tightening in the presidential race, according to tracking surveys conducted since Wednesday. – Mark Blumenthal
Leading Politico: Mitt Romney: Obama has made U.S. less safe
Using his harshest language yet, Mitt Romney charged Monday that President Barack Obama has made America less safe during his time in office, citing the recent attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Libya as a case in point. In a tough foreign policy speech at the Virginia Military Institute here, Romney linked the attacks in Benghazi — including the killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens — to a broader critique of Obama’s foreign policy as naïve and weak. – James Hohmann
Leading The New York Times: Romney Strives to Stand Apart in Global Policy
Mitt Romney intensified his efforts Monday to draw a sharp contrast with President Obama on national security in the presidential campaign’s closing stages, portraying Mr. Obama as having mishandled the tumult in the Arab world and having left the nation exposed to a terrorist attack in Libya. – David E. Sanger
The political bites of the day
- Romney talks tough on Iran, says he would increase sanctions – but on what? -
MITT ROMNEY AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN VIRGINIA: “I will put the leaders of Iran on notice that the United States and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. I will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on Iran, and will tighten the sanctions we currently have. I will restore the permanent presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf region and work with Israel to increase our military assistance and coordination. For the sake of peace, we must make clear to Iran through actions - not just words - that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated.”
- Obama surrogates blast Romney speech, say he goes the way the wind goes on foreign policy -
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE, ON AN OBAMA ADMINISTRATION CONFERENCE CALL: “I watched the speech with great interest trying to figure out what Gov. Romney’s policies really are. This is, I think, the seventh speech he has given on foreign policy over the years but I think I have come out more confused because he has changed his mind on a number of different issues in terms of Libya, for instance, I mean first he was for the intervention, now he is against it.”
- Obama honors Cesar Chavez -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT AN EVENT ESTABLISHING THE CÉSAR E. CHÁVEZ NATIONAL MONUMENT: “Our world is a better place because Cesar Chavez decided to change it. Let us honor his memory, but most importantly, let’s live up to his example.”
- GM to hire 2,000 in a battleground Michigan county -
MICHIGAN GOV. RICK SNYDER IN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE DETROIT FREE PRESS: “Michigan's the place to be, to innovate, and to do it on a significant scale of 1,500 jobs is very exciting. I'm fired up by this.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Freaked-out Obamaphiles should keep one thing in mind: Romney is about to talk about foreign policy. That is all.—
Daniel Gross (@grossdm) October 08, 2012
Liberals say Mitt's foreign policy is same as Obama's or he's war mongering or he's lying. Their excuses are as confusing as their policy.—
Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) October 08, 2012
The greatest foreign policy assumption in this race is that any president can shape in a dispositive way the flow of Middle East history.—
Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) October 08, 2012
Adam P. Levy (@adamplevycnn) October 08, 2012
Christie's re-election bid complicates RGA succession. Looks like he will chair 2014. Jindal likely to chair 2013 on.cnn.com/QMPK97—
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) October 08, 2012
Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) October 08, 2012
President Teddy Roosevelt was known for his “White House walks” - strenuous jaunts throughout largely unkempt terrain of Washington. According to TIME Magazine, this occasionally included a nude swim across the Potomac.
Occasionally, these walks would include foreign dignitaries and high level government officials. According to Edmund Morris’ biography of Roosevelt, “A Strenuous Life,” the president had only one rule about these jaunts: Whenever the group encountered an obstacle, the entire party was not allowed to go around.
“Over, under, or through—but never around,” Roosevelt was known to say.
After more than 500 attempts, the beloved Teddy Roosevelt mascot that has become a staple at Washington Nationals home games finally won his first race of the presidents last week. Competing against “George Washington,” “Abraham Lincoln” and “Thomas Jefferson,” Teddy has been shut out for years, much to the chagrin of Nationals fans.
Finally, however, Teddy lived up to his adage and went “through” the finish line first.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Is everybody out celebrating Columbus Day? Discovering new worlds? No correct answers to today’s Gut Check Trivia question.
Our inbox awaits: email@example.com
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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.