Trademark mustache in play if some Dem states fall
October 31st, 2012
11:24 AM ET
10 years ago

Trademark mustache in play if some Dem states fall

(CNN) - With polls showing the presidential race tightening Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania - and Republicans signaling they think those three Democratic states could be in play - whoever wins these states could come out on top by a close shave.

And if GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney takes any of those states, a top adviser to President Barack Obama says shaving is just what he'll do.

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On MSNBC Wednesday morning, senior Obama adviser David Axelrod said he would go on the network and "shave off my mustache of 40 years if we lose any of those three states."

Voters who remain truly undecided are a small sliver of the electorate, and the campaigns are now engaging in an aggressive setting of expectations. Axelrod and Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, held a conference call with reporters on Monday to "to address the state of the race" and have announced a similar briefing on Wednesday.

Michigan and Pennsylvania last went for a Republican in 1988. Minnesota last went red in 1972.

But polls show margins in these states as close as in some which are rated as toss ups on the CNN Electoral Map.

A Star Tribune poll of Minnesota likely voters conducted from October 23 through 25 showed Obama at 47% and Romney at 44% while a poll conducted by St. Cloud State University between October 15 and 21 showed Obama with an advantage over Romney, 53% to 45%, both within the sampling error.

In Pennsylvania, a recent Philadelphia Inquirer poll conducted between October 23 and 25 showed the state was also within the sampling error, with 49% of likely voters backing Obama and 43% supporting Romney.

A poll of likely voters in Michigan conducted from October 27 through 29 by CNN affiliate WDIV-TV and The Detroit News showed Obama at 48% and Romney at 45%, another margin within the sampling error.

Asked about the range of polls, Axelrod said in the Wednesday interview, "With all due respect, to the public polls that are out there, they're all over the map."

He suggested the Romney campaign and their allies were bluffing about their confidence.

"Here's what is true, in the era of super PACs there's a lot of money out there and people can take fliers on states that they don't necessarily thin they're going to win," he said.

Obama's campaign has, however, dispatched resources to those states. Former President Bill Clinton campaigned in Duluth and Minneapolis, Minnesota on Tuesday, and Vice President Joe Biden was expected to campaign in Scranton, Pennsylvania, though that event was canceled in light of Superstorm Sandy.

Obama's campaign will also run a commercial in Pennsylvania, following the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future's $2.1 million buy in the Keystone state.

On Tuesday, Romney's campaign released an energy-themed ad tailored for Pennsylvania. A Republican source told CNN Romney's campaign would be on Pennsylvania airwaves on Monday and Tuesday next week.

A memo focused on Pennsylvania from Romney political director Rich Beeson on Tuesday said that "the Romney campaign has the resources to expand the map in ways that weren't possible in past cycles (without reducing any effort in any other target state)."

"Pennsylvania presents a unique opportunity for the Romney campaign. Over the past few years we have seen Pennsylvania voting for a Republican senator and a Republican governor, and Republicans win control of the State House in addition to the State Senate," he continued. "The western part of the Keystone State has become more conservative (and President Obama's war on coal is very unpopular there), and Mitt Romney is more competitive in the voter-rich Philadelphia suburbs than any Republican nominee since 1988. This makes Pennsylvania a natural next step as we expand the playing field."

In the interview, Axelrod made the mustache bet on the condition that one of the currently clean-shaven interviewers would grow a mustache , should Obama not win the battlegrounds of Florida or North Carolina.

"After the election, you guys aren't going to have that much to talk about so people can tune in every day and watch your mustache grow," he said.

- CNN's Kevin Liptak and Janet DiGiacomo contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • Michigan • Minnesota • Pennsylvania
soundoff (32 Responses)

    Uh oh Axe. I'm sure that we've got Michigan and Pennsylvania in the bag, but Minnesota, I'm not so sure about that one. Come on! This is the state that elected Michelle Bachmann for Christ sake.

    October 31, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Not much of anything to really put up, is it?

    October 31, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. sonny chapman

    CAN Joe grow a 'stache ? P.S.-Geaux Tigers !

    October 31, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. Montykoolaid

    Wow.... a nearly 10 point sampling error.

    I hope everyone realizes that the 10 point differince could go either way.

    So they are either tied, or Obama is ahead by way more than shown.

    October 31, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Letha

    Please keep the mustache but pack fast and leave the White House with your friends.

    October 31, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Anthony

    Axelrod is not worried. In Pennsylvania, Democratic advantage in southeastern Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, is too much for the rest of the state to overcome. In Michigan, it is the home of the auto industry, which was rescued by Obama. In Minnesota, remember that even Walter Mondale won Minnesota. He lost every other state.

    October 31, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. Bruce

    I would not underestimate how much the storm has changed the race in NY and PA. It effected the urban areas the most and it doesn't look like these areas are going to get back to 100% by Tuesday. The last thing on these people's mind when they don't have power or a place to stay is getting out to vote. Not to mention there might not be places to go to to vote. For the first time in this election cycle, I'm worried.

    October 31, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. Anne

    and while you are shaving the mustache please ask the President to be honest and transparent about Benghazi. We know that the country is going through a difficult time after the storm and we appreciate that Mr. Obama put the campaign on hold for 2 days to do his real job (although Biden was attacking non-stop), but you have 6 more days to answer the Benghazi question.. we are not idiots, we understand the investigation story, but what did the WH know and when. Simple questions, just the truth..

    October 31, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. gt

    alexrod looks like the cartoon character "clyde crashcop"with his whiskers gone ...who knows...

    October 31, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. Don't worry David

    Don't worry David. This week in particular showed everyone's character and I think we know who is relevant and who is a true leader with a vision for America to move Forward = President Obama.

    I'm voting for President Obama.

    October 31, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. Don

    Since the "liberal" free enterprise system is ganging up on Romney and his lies about Jeep, I doubt Axe has much to worry about.

    October 31, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. jk in MN

    Don't underestimate Minnesota, Axe. There are 2 constitutional amendments on the ballot put there by the right wing GOP legislature. One of them is a Marriage definition amendment that will no doubt bring out alot of the conservative voters. The other is a voter ID amendment. I personally hope both amendments go down in defeat – it's close though.

    October 31, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. luke,az

    Gov. Romney is NOT presidential material. This man has no core convictions. He will say anything to anybody at anytime. His lies are increasing in magnitude as each day goes by. Romney's latest lie about Chrysler sending jobs to China when in fact the US plant in Ohio is adding 1,100 new workers is beyond description. He is the worst presidential nominee for the Republican party in this country's history.

    October 31, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. g

    Romney is seeking new pathways to 270 electoral votes because he knows that he can kiss Ohio goodbye.

    October 31, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. Palin Power

    Obama is going to lose every deep blue state including PA, MI, MN, CA, OR, WA, NY, MA, etc.

    October 31, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. Observer

    The only thing anyone should be concerned about really is the well being of all of those unfortunate enough to be caught by this horrible storm, best wishes and speedy recovery America, my condolences to those who have lost loved ones.

    Lucid One

    October 31, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. Valentina

    That's all? If those states turn red in November I suspect Axe will get castrated by his liberal comrades, his mustache will not suffice.

    October 31, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. ST

    I tend to agree with Axerold that these three states will not be pinched from Dems. If these polls were taken by Quinnipiac University I could be worried. I have full confidence in the way they conduct their polls. They are very reliable.

    October 31, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. I mean...

    I mean even GM is calling Romney on his lies after Romney threw GM under the bus. Does Romney even like GM?

    October 31, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. jkane sfl a vote for lady parts romney the tax cheat and lyin lady parts ryan willcut your moms medicare and soc sec . .can you afford to pay for them???

    You can't listen to the polls ,CNN and the rest of the media are just trying to suck more money out of the super pac ,the party is over for romney and the gop bafoon party but the gop goofballs will try to get the elections in court for a replay of the fixed elections of 2000 which had disasterous consequence for the country with bush ,if he had lost , we probably would not have had 9-11 and Iraq war with about 10.000 dead Americans, watch secrets of 9-11 this week on military channel and never vote gop again !!!!

    October 31, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  21. Q

    @ Palin Power

    What parallel universe are you living in?

    October 31, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Republicans should be very worried...

    Ok, rhetoric aside. Romney represents the Republican Party, but he has presented himself, not as the tenacious candidate who competes at any costs (George W. Bush), but lesser. Romney is now actually eroding the perception of the Republican Party and has dragged down the good names of so many with him. For example, I will guess that Ryan's "rising Republican star" appeal has eroded significantly. The nation has watched a Republican Party leader who's foundation is built on shifting sand.

    October 31, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. Tony

    Palinpower, Romney/Ryan will lose Michigan, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin. Their home states will reject them. At least Palin won Alaska.

    October 31, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  24. doctortyrone

    I too would like to be optimistic for Obama, but my discussions with Obama campaign insiders tells me that the campaign is in serious disarray and is now very concerened about PA. If they lose PA, it is over. The ad buy in PA is about to go up 10 fold. They are going to have to borrow about 15 million to do an ad buy there and Min. and WI. It looks grim. Sorry to be wet blanket, but get ready for a Romney presidency.

    October 31, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. truth hurts

    But polls show margins in these states as close as in some which are rated as toss ups on the CNN Electoral Map.
    my, my, my.... how the mighty have fallen! Deep blue states now within the margin of error!! It certainly DOES look like the American people have woken up and don't like what they have seen and heard over the last 4 years. The American people simply do NOT tolerate failure and that is all Obama has delivered in his 4 years. Well, that and a boatload of excuses and fingerpointing. Time to get a COMPETENT person in the Whitehouse. Romney/Ryan - the ONLY way to save this economy and create jobs.

    October 31, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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