In a memo sent to surrogates today, Romney senior adviser Beth Myers sets the expectations for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney low - very low - compared to the "ample rhetorical gifts" of his opponent. The memo says President Obama has a "significant advantage" heading into the first debate.
"President Obama is a uniquely gifted speaker, and is widely regarded as one of the most talented political communicators in modern history," Myers writes, calling Obama a "universally acclaimed public speaker."
Myers' memo is the latest in pre-debate jockeying by both campaigns to set their candidate's expectations low, while raising expectations for their opponent.
Beyond his "natural gifts" for oratory, Meyers argues that Obama has "substantial debate experience under his belt."
"This will be the eighth one-on-one presidential debate of his political career. For Mitt Romney, it will be his first," she says. Obama, in her words, has had "extensive seasoning under the bright lights of the debate stage."
Way to pump up the troops, Beth!
She's setting very low expectations, and there's ample evidence as to why. Romney comes off as a stiff, and his attempts to improvise have been very cringe worthy. Despite the bluster of the Romney supporters, debates just aren't a thing that one can expect Romney to excel at.
So where does this gloom and doom memo leave the already perturbed Romney campaign?
If the debates can't give them a bump, what can?
Meanwhile we read: Ohio Slipping Out Of Reach For Romney
On the same day that the Republican presidential candidate will take part in his most intense 10-hour period of campaigning in the Buckeye State in months, a fresh New York Times-CBS News-Quinnipiac poll out this morning found President Obama's edge there growing.
In Ohio, Obama leads Romney, 53 percent to 43 percent - that's up from the president's 50 percent to 44 percent lead in a previous poll on August 23. The findings also track with other public polling available in the state that shows Obama out in front.
This morning ABC News moved the state of Ohio and its 18 electoral votes from "Toss Up" territory to "Lean Obama." This puts the ABC Electoral College estimate at 255 for Obama to 206 for Romney. Without a drastic change in Ohio that means there are only seven battlegrounds left for Romney to capture in his quest for the presidency, including the state of Florida with its 29 electoral votes.
But today's New York Times-CBS News-Quinnipiac poll also forecasted a gloomy picture for Romney in the Sunshine State. There Obama leads Romney by a 9 point margin, 53 percent to 44 percent. That's also an improvement on the president's 49 percent to 46 percent margin over Romney in the same poll in late August.
"The polls, along with interviews with supporters and advisers in the nation's two largest battleground states, lay bare an increasingly urgent challenge facing Mr. Romney as he prepares for his next chance to move the race in his favor, at the first debate with Mr. Obama next week," The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg note. "Mr. Romney's burden is no longer to win over undecided voters, but also to woo back the voters who seem to be growing a little comfortable with the idea of a second term for Mr. Obama."
Is the gig up?
No Ohio, no Florida, no Mitt presidency...
Will history record the day of the release of the infamous 47% comments as the day that Romney lost the election?
What has the Romney campaign done either tactically or strategically to get their man elected?
I can't for the life of me see what strategy they ever have had to get the required 271 electoral votes. The main strategy was to hammer Obama's economic record, which they've been doing, but then the next question becomes what Romney would do differently, and they have absolutely no clear cohesive message about that. Every time someone asks for clarity, Romney says vague things about "principals" whereas many are scared sh*tless about exactly what he'll do if he ever became President, for good reason. In essence Romney is saying I'm going to gore lots of oxen, but I won't tell you if your ox will be gored. Even bringing Ryan on board, with his pinhead spreadsheets hasn't added any clarity about what Romney would do. All we've heard Mitt say was that Ryan's plans weren't necessarily his plans, zilch about what he'd do differently than what Ryan's published plans say.
And tactically, after the now infamous 47% comments, the reaction was what, exactly? That he meant what he said, but that he didn't say it elegantly. Ok, fine, then come out and say it elegantly! You said it, you own it, double down or go home. He just hasn't, which leaves everyone with the impression that he has one message for the 1%ers and another for the rest of us. He actually spoke with great clarity and emotion to that gathering, unlike the stiff way he usually speaks. Is it any wonder that people feel that a Romney presidency would only benefit the rich?