Let’s face facts: the weeks since President Obama’s calamitous debate performance in Denver have been nerve-wracking. After that debate, Mitt Romney suddenly looked like a plausible candidate for president, and he clearly enjoyed a surge in the polls as a result. And neither Joe Biden’s triumph in his debate against Paul Ryan nor Obama’s win in his second debate against Romney seemed to do much to slow things down.
However, things are now swinging back Obama’s way. The third debate was a blowout win for Obama, to the point that conservative commentators were beside themselves during and after about how poor Romney’s performance was. According to the best polling analyst out there (Nate Silver at 538), Romney’s momentum has now stopped. Maybe that’s in part due to the third debate; we’ll have a clearer sense of that over the next few days. And, importantly, there was never a moment at which it looked like Romney could actually win the electoral college (even if it did appear at times that he might win the nationwide popular vote). Now that the polls are starting to swing back Obama’s way, the prospect of Romney getting to 270 electoral votes looks ever more distant. Even when the polls were at their worst over the last couple of weeks, Obama has always held a sometimes small but persistent lead in Ohio, a state without which it’s nearly impossible for Romney to win, and the most recent polling shows Obama regaining lost ground in places like Virginia as well.
In addition, IN-Sen candidate Richard Mourdock’s stunning comments about rape and “God’s will” have proven to be a major headache for the Romney campaign, since Romney awkwardly filmed a TV spot endorsing Mourdock only days earlier. Indeed, Mourdock is the only Senate candidate in the country for whom Romney has filmed an ad like that. Romney’s campaign issued a tepid statement saying he doesn’t agree with Mourdock’s comments, but he has neither withdrawn his endorsement nor asked that his ad be pulled from the airwaves. And the more the truly extreme nature of today’s Republican party hits the headlines, the worse things look for Romney.
Furthermore, Colin Powell re-endorsed Obama in a very strong statement that, among other things, laid waste to Romney’s economic plan and expressed concern about “which Governor Romney we would be getting.” And, closer to home, we have the entertaining prospect of reporters sifting through Romney’s testimony in the divorce case of Tom Stemberg, the guy who founded Staples. We don’t yet know what’s in there, though the gossip sheet TMZ claims it shows Romney intentionally undervaluing Staples stock in order to cheat Stemberg’s ex-wife. More to come on that one, no doubt.
Finally, this just in: the not-especially-liberal Washington Post editorial board has issued a full-throated endorsement of President Obama. The Post declares that Obama is “by far the superior choice,” says that “there is no way to know what Mr. Romney really believes,” and offers this devastating commentary on Romney: “rarely has a politician gotten so far with only one evident immutable belief: his conviction in his own fitness for higher office.”
It’s double-down time, folks. We can win this. Do as much as you can.