CNN's GUT CHECK for October 19, 2012
President Barack Obama greets supporters at a presidential election campaign event at Desert Pines High School in Las Vegas, Nevada.
October 19th, 2012
04:59 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for October 19, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for October 19, 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: Florida, Florida, Florida A new CNN/ORC poll shows a tight race in Florida, with 49% of likely voters choosing Mitt Romney and 48% picking Barack Obama. Margin of error +/- 4%.

DEVELOPING: Unemployment falls in seven of the nine states CNN has identified as toss ups… Unemployment declined in 41 states in September, seven of which are key toss up states in the election. Ohio, which has 18 electoral votes, saw its unemployment rate decline to 7% in September, down from 7.2% just a month earlier.

But the news is not all rosy. Unemployment rates in Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire and North Carolina all have higher rates than when President Barack Obama took office in January 2009.

(Answer below)
After next Monday’s debate, whom will President Barack Obama be tied with for the most appearances in a presidential debate?

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

The race for the White House will be won or lost in nine battleground states spread across the country. With only 18 days remaining until Election Day, we are turning to political experts from each state to help us better understand what is happening on the ground. Today, we turn to veteran Nevada political expert Jon Ralston, whose reporting can be found at and his daily political television show.

Gut Check: Public polling shows that Nevada is a true toss up state with both candidates having a shot at winning the state’s six electoral votes on November 6. What is your sense about who has an edge 18 days before Election Day?

RALSTON: “President Obama has the edge. Nearly every public poll all year has shown him with a slight lead. And in the last few months, the Democrats have dramatically increased their registration lead. It is now larger in Clark County (Las Vegas) than it was in 2008, when Obama won the state by 12 points. Obama's pollster here - Mark Mellman - has the president up by eight points. It may not be that big, but he is ahead in all credible polls I have seen.”

GC: What does each candidate need to do to convince the narrowing set of undecideds to vote for him?

RALSTON: “Romney and his allies need to persuade undecideds, especially Hispanics, who will make up 15% or so of the electorate, that the economy's devastation here is the president's fault. (Nevada’s unemployment rate is) still at 11.8% statewide, well above the national average. The GOP also has to energize the base enough to create such a turnout differential that the Democratic registration edge/machine can be overcome. The Democrats really just need a high base turnout and party loyalty to win the state. If there is an enthusiasm gap of any great size, Obama could lose here.”

GC: What is each candidate’s greatest strength in the state?

RALSTON: “Obama's greatest strength is the Democratic machine erected by Harry Reid two cycles ago. It boosted the president in '08 and Reid in '10 to improbable victories. There's no ground game like it. Romney's advantage is how bad the economy is and he has better people on the ground than the GOP had four years ago. McCain essentially abandoned the state; Romney is fighting for it on the air and on the ground.”

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Early voting surge suggests Democratic push pays off in Iowa
More than 2 million Americans have already cast ballots for president less than three weeks before Election Day with a substantial number coming in the battleground state of Iowa. The state, which holds six key electoral votes, is on pace to exceed the 1.5 million votes cast early in in 2008 - a trend that is not lost on either political party. – Allison Brennan

Leading Drudge: Obama on Comedy Central: 'When four Americans get killed, it's not optimal'
President Barack Obama, during an interview shown on Comedy Central, has responded to a question about his administration's confused communication after the Benghazi attack, by saying: 'If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.' – Toby Harnden for the Daily Mail

Leading HuffPo: Polls Send Mixed Messages
As they often do, the new polls released on Thursday sent something of a mixed message on where the presidential race now stands. Two new NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist College polls gave President Barack Obama comfortable leads in two battleground states, Iowa and Wisconsin, while a new Gallup Daily tracking poll gave Republican nominee Mitt Romney a 7-point lead nationwide. Not surprisingly, another dozen or so polls conducted nationally and in key states found results somewhere in between. – Mike Blumenthal

Leading Politico: Playing to donors, GOP groups spill secrets
For two years, outside money was a secretive game, with deep-pocketed conservative groups refusing to detail their methods or strategies — let alone discuss their donors. Nowadays, though, it seems like they won’t stop talking. – Kenneth P. Vogel

Leading The New York Times: Campaigns See Latino Voters as Deciders in 3 Key States
Mr. Obama and his supporters have outspent Mr. Romney and his backers nearly 2-to-1 on advertising on Spanish-language television stations in three of the most closely contested states — Colorado, Florida and Nevada — including a new advertisement in which Mr. Obama makes a personal appeal for support, speaking entirely in Spanish. Mr. Romney’s advisers have relied on a surge of ads across the television spectrum, saying that most Hispanics speak English and consider the economy, not immigration, the top issue. – Adam Nagourney and Fernanda Santos

The political bites of the day

- Obama tests his Romney attacks; today’s: ‘Romnesia’ -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN VIRGINIA: “He is forgetting what his own positions are and he is betting that you will, too. I mean he is changing up so much, and backtracking and sidestepping. We have got to name this condition that he is going through. I think it is called Romnesia.”

Gut Check Full Service: Kevin Madden, a senor Romney adviser, responds to the comments by stating, “Twenty-three million Americans are struggling to find work in this economy and yet President Obama can't get serious on the campaign trail. He's conducting a small campaign that fails to rise up to the big challenges the country is facing.”

- McCaskill, Akin try to define themselves in a testy Missouri Senate debate last night -
DEMOCRATIC SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILLL: “I was disappointed when the president wouldn't support my spending cap. He was disappointed when I wouldn't go along with cap and trade. I was disappointed when he refused to quickly approve the Keystone Pipeline. For six solid years, I've been smack-dab in the middle.”
REPUBLICAN REP. TODD AKIN: “I've had a chance to travel for 18 months, and I've got a pretty good sense of where people are. My views are pretty much in sync with the voters of this state, and what's more, I've opposed the failed record and the failed policies which have given us the unemployment, the lack of jobs, and other miscellaneous problems such as gasoline prices doubling.”

- And in Ohio debate last night, “Senator, you are a liar!” -
DEMOCRATIC SEN. SHERROD BROWN: “On the auto rescue, to call that ‘Washington speak’ is a bit peculiar, because it kept tens of thousands of Ohioans at work. Josh Mandel’s view of politics and economics? Tax cuts for the wealthy trickles down. Mine is to focus on the middle class and build the economy out.”
REPUBLICAN STATE TREASURER JOSH MANDEL: “Senator, you are a liar. You are lying to the people of the state of Ohio. You are falsely attacking me, and I won't stand for it. You might want to try to push people around in Washington, but you're not going to push me around.”

- The candidates show their comedic side, joke about church, one another and Biden on Thursday night -
Gov. Mitt Romney: “Of course the president has put his own stamp on relations with the church. There have been some awkward moments. Like when the president pulled Pope Benedict aside to share some advice on how to deal with his critics. He said, ‘look Holy Father, whatever the problem is, just blame it on Pope John Paul II.’”
President Barack Obama: “Win or lose, this is my last political campaign. So I am trying to drink it all in. Unfortunately, Mayor Bloomberg will only let me have 16 ounces of it. … Ultimately, though, tonight is not about the disagreements Gov. Romney and I may have, it is what we have in common – beginning with our unusual names. Actually Mitt is his middle name. I wish I could use my middle name.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less








After Monday’s debate on foreign policy, President Barack Obama will be tied with former President George W. Bush for the most appearances in a presidential election debate. Both men will have appeared in six presidential debates.

Obama appeared in three presidential debates against Sen. John McCain in 2008 and will have also debated Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney three times.

Bush, likewise, debated both Vice President Al Gore and Sen. John Kerry three times.

Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush is tied with former President Bill Clinton for second – both appearing in five presidential debates.

(why aren’t you in it)

Congratulations to Peter Ubertaccio (@ProfessorU) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question. Dante Scala (@Graniteprof), Matthew Gilbertson (@MattRGilbertson) and Greg Dean (@gregdean11) also tweeted correct answers. Happy Friday all.

Our inbox awaits:
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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: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Democrats, don't let the polls vote for you, GET OUT AND VOTE and keep your heads up because Obama can win and Repugs are constantly devising ways to steal this election and we're not going to let that happen. Keep your heads up and listen carefully to what the Republicans aren't telling you and that's the clue to how they plan to steal it. Repugs haven't been successful at suppressing the vote, they haven't been able to outraise Obama, all their attempts have failed now they've reached a new low, including Romney, threatening your job if you don't vote for Romney and that's a direct attack on your personal integrity. These are Taliban type attacks on the freedoms of Americans.

    October 19, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. Jen

    everyone pay attention to this. Give Obama four more years so that he can keep this unemployment down. Put romney in and it will go up. Remember Bush!!!!

    October 19, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Don't catch Romnesia, middle-class: when the GOP/Teatrolls try to screw you, you tell them NO MEANS NO.

    October 19, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  4. Peggy Munro

    I shall be there and I am making sure all the women I know will be there voting for The President as we are tired and sick of those Republican men meddling in our private business and threatening to reverse our basic rights that we fought so hard for. I am seething with anger over this and will surely vote Democrats across the board.

    October 19, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  5. Marie MD

    Any senior who votes for the twit should drop dead. Wait, they will drop dead with those Medicare vouchers and privatized Social Security.
    Just hand in there old fools. Your time will come before you know, waaaaaaaaaaay before with the bully bishop and the lyan altar boy.

    October 19, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  6. Mary Denise

    Obama said he doesn't know what happened! Is he talking about the economy or the dead soldiers in Afghanistan or Americas
    Ambassador Stevens in Lybia? Use your head and vote for someone who is successful. If you stick with the Stick don't complain later. Four years of phony......................

    October 19, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  7. Allen

    I cannot believe anyone with a job would vote for Obama. We are tired of carrying the ones who do not want to work. I cannot wait until election day, I pray everynight we do not have to go through what we have the last 4 years.

    October 19, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  8. Willie Floyd

    At 67 I fall into the 47% Robney does't give a d- about. I had my 1st part time job in the 11th grade. Worked until I was 64 when I broke my hip-3 surgeries followed-forcing me to take an early retirement. As a widow I do everything I possibly can on my own-even with my cane. If I need help I PAY FOR IT!!! I AM NOT A VICTIM!! The only thing I expect from the government is the S.S. I paid into all my working years. Maybe if the government would keep their sticky fingers out of the S.S. trust fund we would all be better off. I don't want a Medicare voucher plan either!!!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012-our only hope for the middle class!

    October 19, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  9. Kevin

    Also CNN made a big deal of the orlando news paper endorsing Romney but why haven't I heard a peep about the biggest news paper in FL the Tampa Times endorsing Obama.

    October 19, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  10. honest mari

    Truly I have never for the life of me seen such a person or politician that flakes with the wind such as Romney. Why on earth must we listen to candidate who is determined to hide the details of his plan from us while at the same time he wants our vote and then we have to wait till he gets into the office before he tells us what actually his plan entails. What a callous and cold hearted business tactics. Romney we are humans not technical numbers. America there is no substance to his sale. We know the job numbers are getting better he can not help but lie about it just like he has continuously lied about his record in Massachusetts ;about creating 12 million jobs first year in office or the most recent statement he made aboute what the President said in the Rose garden on September 12th.If we. Can trust Romney with these little things, how can we trust him on big issues that affect us as human beings

    October 19, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  11. NameRichard Bondwe

    For more years is coming Mr. President come November, 6

    October 19, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  12. Paula

    Not all ladies believe the hype. If this President actually allowed men to earn more than their female counterparts in the WH then he too deserves to go. Long live Hillary!

    October 20, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  13. bobby frank

    I would strongly suggest that every Democrat, Republican, Independent, etc. vote for Obama in early voting or election day. We cannot afford to go back to the folks that tried to destroy our country and especially tried to destroy the middle class. Stand up to them and vote to save our country from their past reckless behavior.

    October 20, 2012 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  14. clarke

    it is funny how short peoples memories are. I will be supporting President Obama.

    October 20, 2012 06:52 am at 6:52 am |

    there are those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who ask "what happened?" there will be a lot of demos asking questions after election day

    October 20, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  16. Roger Le

    Why don't American try out something's that u hope better than the fail policy for the same...please compair bill Clinton and Obama who will be smarter (Clinton he is the rear president ) not Obama please do ur home work! Thanks

    October 20, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  17. min51

    im a older person i will vote Obama , ( vouchers that will fix it , its bad enough not to get things you need we get pills i wont take high pain meds i have Tramadol and gabapiten for pain, i need injections and therapy and a surgery i have arthritis of spine ect .nerve damage. it well just make it even harder on folks like me . ( i was hurt at work ) down with Romney he wants war , why he has no vision of the future

    October 20, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |