Slide halted, Romney challenging Obama in swing states

PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida Mon Oct 8, 2012 10:33am EDT

1 of 15. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his wife Ann shake hands with supporters after a campaign rally in Port St. Lucie, Florida October 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida (Reuters) - Mitt Romney appeared on Sunday to have halted his perilous slide in the polls and is back to running a close race with President Barack Obama as he prepares a new assault on the Democrat over foreign policy.

A solid performance against Obama at Wednesday's first presidential debate in Denver has helped the Republican challenger regain ground in several swing states after three weeks of campaign stumbles that had appeared to jeopardize his chances of winning the November 6 election.

Romney is now sounding more confident and has put the normally sure-footed Obama campaign on the defensive with a vice presidential debate coming up on Thursday between the gaffe-prone Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan.

Romney is to deliver a foreign policy address in Virginia on Monday to try to put more pressure on Obama after the deaths of four Americans in Libya last month, including ambassador Christopher Stevens.

At a rally in Port St. Lucie, Florida, Romney took a jab at Obama about his timid debate performance.

"You all had the chance to hear his answers or his non-answers. Now of course days later we are hearing his excuses and next January we're going to see him leave the White House for the last time," Romney said.

A rash of polls, both nationally and in specific states, showed evidence of Romney's improvement headed into the final month of campaigning.

Romney solidified his post-debate "bounce" in the latest Reuters/Ipsos daily poll, coming in 2 points behind Obama for the third day in a row. The former Massachusetts governor has clawed back from a 6-point deficit last week as Sunday's poll showed Obama at 47 percent and Romney 45 percent.

"Romney's performance in the debate I think has improved his share of the vote for now ... It's a significant change from where we were a couple of weeks ago," said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark.


An average of polls by in several swing states also showed a tightening in the race in some of the places where the election will be decided. Romney was about even with Obama in Florida and Virginia and 3 points behind him in Ohio.

A poll by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic organization, had Obama up by only 2 points in traditionally Democratic Wisconsin. Previous polls had shown a comfortable lead for the president.

Not taken into account yet was the possible impact of the improvement in the U.S. jobless rate announced on Friday. It fell to 7.8 percent in September, the lowest in almost four years, and gave Obama a talking point to defend his stewardship of the economy.

Obama flew to California on a fund-raising swing on Sunday to try to keep up a recent strong campaign finance performance. He raised $181 million together with the Democrats in September, a record for either man's campaign this year.

Ally Robert Gibbs acknowledged that Obama's debate showing was less than electrifying.

"I think the president understood that he hadn't performed up to his own expectations pretty quickly ... after he got off the stage that night," Gibbs told ABC's "This Week."

Campaign officials said Obama would try to challenge Romney more on what they felt were distortions by the Republican challenger. They have been complaining in particular about Romney's vow to cut income taxes across the board for all Americans by 20 percent.

The Obama campaign says it would cost $5 trillion from the federal budget to pay for the tax cuts. The Romney campaign says it would be "revenue neutral" because the resulting growth in the U.S. economy would generate more tax revenue and because Romney would end many tax deductions for wealthier Americans.

"He cannot name one loophole that he would close. If you took away all the loopholes for upper income Americans, every single one of them could still be trillions of dollars short," Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

(This story has been corrected to fix debate to Thursday in paragraph 3)

(Editing By Alistair Bell and Christopher Wilson)

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Comments (16)
Despite having one of his worst weeks of the campaign Obama continues to lead by 3 points (PPP poll) in Virginia, and if Romney doesn’t win Virginia he can’t win overall.

Oct 08, 2012 11:07am EDT  --  Report as abuse
byrond2 wrote:
Syria and Turkey have been exchanging mortar fire for the last six days, albeit on a small scale. If war does break out before the election, Obama will essentially be a wartime president, even though the US may play a small role. Still, everyone knows that the US will be involved to some extent, and wartime presidents ALWAYS win elections. TKO

Oct 08, 2012 11:19am EDT  --  Report as abuse
mjp1958 wrote:
Republican Leaders Agree that Mitt Romney Cannot Be Trusted

“If Governor Romney would like to give back all the money that he has earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees, over his years at BAIN, then I would be glad to then listen to him. “
-Newt Gingrich, Republican leader and former Speaker of the US House of Rep.

“We are going to cut taxes on everyone across the country by 20 percent, including the top 1 percent. “ (This is contrary to what Romney said in his first debate with Obama.)
– Mitt Romney, Republican politician and presidential candidate

“I have never seen a guy (Romney), and I have run a lot of elections supported a lot of people for political. I have never seen a guy change his positions on so many things so fast, on a dime.”
- Rudy Giuliani, Republican leader, former New York City mayor

“He (Romney) is the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.”
–Rick Santorum, Republican leader and former Republican Senator

“This is someone (Romney) who doesn’t have a core. He has been on both sides of almost every single issue in the past 10 years. “
–Rick Santorum, Republican leader and former Republican Senator

“He’s (Romney) been on your side at one time or another.”
– Rep. Louie Goehmert, R-Texas

“He’s certainly beings dishonest about his own record? When he says that he had the endorsement of the NRA, he did not. When he says he didn’t raise taxes, and in fact, there were $500 million in fees raised during this time. When he talks about my record or John McCain’s. “He’s making up stuff, it’s just incredible. In Arkansas, we call it DISHONESTY.”
- Mike Huckabee, Fox News commentator and former Governor

(P.S – Sound familiar with Romney’s dishonest tactics speaking in the first debate with Obama!)

“When Governor Romney said not to long ago that Russia is our number one strategic threat. Come on, Mitt. Think. That isn’t the case.”
– Colin Powell, retired four-star general and former US Secretary of State under President George W. Bush

“If a person (Romney) is dishonest to get a job, he will be dishonest to get a job.”
-Mike Huckabee, Fox News commentator and former Governor

CBS News Reporter: Are you calling Mitt Romney, a liar?
Newt Gingrich response: “Yes.”
-Newt Gingrich, Republican leader and former Speaker of the US House of Rep.

“This is someone (Romney) who will say anything to get elected.”- Rick Santorum, Republican leader and former Republican Senator

“There is clearly a problem with (Romney’s) tax returns, otherwise, he would release 10 years of tax returns.”
-Rick Tyler, Republican political strategist

“It’s crazy, (Romney) He’s got to release at least 6, 8, 10 years of back tax returns.”
– Bill Kristol, neo-Conservative commentator and editor of The Weekly Standard

Republican leaders agree – Romney Cannot Be Trusted! Most American voters agree!

Watch videos of all of these comments on YouTube.

Oct 08, 2012 11:19am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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