Entries in Mitt Romney (1719)


Romney Kicks Off Whirlwind Tour of Battleground States in Iowa

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Mitt Romney made his final stop in the battleground state of Iowa on Sunday, on a day that took him to Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania before midnight.

He had visited Iowa even before announcing his candidacy last June, and this was his 21st campaign event in Iowa this year alone.  Romney made his final argument for voters to come to the polls for him, stressing the importance of the state on Election Day.

“This is much more than our moment.  It’s America’s moment of renewal and purpose and optimism,” he said.  “We’ve journeyed far and wide in this great campaign for America’s future, and now we’re almost home.  One final push will get us there.  We’ve known many long days and short nights, and now we’re close.”

“The door to a brighter future is there, open, waiting for us.  I need your vote, I need your work, I need your help.  Walk with me.  We’ll walk together.  Let’s begin anew.  I need Iowa -- I need Iowa so we can win the White House and take back America, keep it strong, make sure we always remain the hope of the earth.  I’m counting on you.  Will you get the job done?” Romney shouted.

Romney’s voice sounded hoarse at times and he flubbed one of his most frequently used lines, saying that employment, rather than unemployment, had risen under President Obama.

But appearing more energized toward the end of his speech, Romney began to rally the crowd of more than 4,000, many of whom banged noise makers and waved American flags.

“This is a campaign about America and about the future we’re going to leave our children,” he said.  “We thank you, we ask you to stay with it.  All the way.  All the way to our victory on Tuesday night!”

Romney has made seven stops in Iowa alone since the Republican National Convention in August.  The latest Des Moines Register poll showed Obama ahead in the state, 47-42 percent.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Scout Leader From Mitt Romney’s Oft-Told Anecdote Makes Surprise Cameo

Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images(ENGLEWOOD, Colo.) -- One of Mitt Romney’s most told anecdotes came to life tonight in front of one of the candidate’s largest crowds, as the GOP presidential nominee paraded out a Boy Scoutmaster and an American flag he has been mentioning in stump speeches throughout his campaign, a story meant to highlight American greatness.

“A hero is not someone who is larger than life, just larger than himself,” Romney began, launching into the story of meeting with Boy Scout leaders at a Scoutmaster ceremony several years ago. It was there, Romney said, that Scoutmaster William Tolbert told the story of his troop from Monument, Colorado, wanting a “special” American flag.

The troop’s flag flew above the Capitol in Washington D.C., as Romney tells the story, and then NASA agreed to the unthinkable: the organization agreed to fly the flag with the space shuttle Challenger on its mission in 1986.

“Can you imagine the pride of our boys as they were sitting in their rooms at school watching the TV sets as they saw the Space Challenger Shuttle launch into the air and then they saw it explode on the TV screen in front of their eyes,” Romney told the crowd of 17,000 tonight.

Romney recalled how Tolbert said he’d called NASA for weeks and months asking if any of the flag had survived the crash, which had killed all seven crew members on board. Eventually, Tolbert got the news he was waiting for, and the Boy Scout troop a surprise of a lifetime.

“They presented the boys with this plastic container and they open it up and inside was the American flag – their flag – in perfect condition,” said Romney.

“And I haven’t seen that flag in I don’t know, 15 or 20 years, or that Scoutmaster, but Monument, Colorado, is not that far from here,” Romney said, calling out to the Scoutmaster to enter the stage, the crowd erupting in cheers.

“Now, did I get that story right?” Romney asked Tolbert, who came holding the folded flag, which was in a case, in his hands proudly.

“You did, Sir,” Tolbert responded, giving Romney a salute.

A campaign aide later said that the campaign had reached out to Tolbert to invite him to tonight’s rally, and Tolbert agreed, gifting Romney with a flag from NASA as a keepsake.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Says ‘Florida is Everything,’ Adopts Romney Habit of Age Guessing

Scott Legato/Getty Images(PANAMA CITY, Fla.) -- Paul Ryan wrapped up a marathon four-stop, five-state day at an outdoor rally at the Panama City marina Saturday acknowledging to the crowd that “Florida is everything.”

“Mitt Romney and I can handle whatever they are going to throw at us for the next three days, but this country cannot handle another four more years of this administration. We are asking for your help, we are asking for your support,” Ryan said to a crowd of about 2,000 people. “Florida is key. You know that. Florida is everything.”

As the hours tick down to Tuesday, Ryan even adopted a habit of his running mate’s: guessing supporters’ ages on the trail. Saturday evening as the sun set on St. Andrews Bay, it was a small child who got the attention as Ryan was talking about the “moral obligation” of getting the national debt down for a younger generation.

“Janna and I, our kids are seven, nine and ten,” Ryan said, before pointing to a younger member of the audience.  “This guy is five.”

Ryan started laughing and said, “Hey it was a guess!”

Two new polls out from the Sunshine State show quite different results for the two tickets.  A Miami Herald/Mason-Dixon poll out Friday shows Romney up here by six percentage points, 51 percent to 45 percent support for the president. However, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll from Saturday shows Obama up by two percentage points, within the poll’s margin of error with Obama at 49 percent and Romney with 47 percent.

The whirlwind sprint for Ryan to give his closing pitch continues Sunday with another five state day including Wisconsin,  must-win Ohio, expanding-the-map Minnesota, as well as Colorado, before he ends in Nevada.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Hits Pennsylvania, Sen. Pat Toomey Predicts State Will Go Red

Scott Olson/Getty Images(MIDDLETOWN, Pa.) -- Just 72 hours before Election Day, Paul Ryan dropped in on Pennsylvania Saturday, the third time he’s done so since Mitt Romney selected him as his running mate.

The Romney campaign says it is expanding the map, and states such as Pennsylvania and Minnesota are now in play for the GOP ticket, but polls still show the president ahead in both places. Although polls have tightened in recent weeks, they still show a three- to five-point lead for President Obama. Both campaigns and their allies, including super PACS, spent $16.7 million in Pennsylvania, according to ad-trackers at the Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Ryan was introduced by Gov. Tom Corbett, former Gov. Tom Ridge and Sen. Pat Toomey, and was greeted by huge cheers from a crowd of about 2,000 when they walked into the airplane hangar rally at the Harrisburg airport.  They all predicted this state, which Obama won by 10 points in 2008, would flip.

“Can I just tell you how red Pennsylvania’s gonna be on Tuesday?” Toomey, wearing  a red jacket, said. “Because I know how red it’s gonna, it’s gonna be this red, OK [points to red jacket]. This is the color of Pennsylvania on Tuesday.”

Toomey, who once shared a house with Ryan in Washington, D.C., said, “It is happening folks. It’s happening all across the country,” but he was still cautious.

“It’s all on our side, but let me stress this,” Toomey said. “There is still nothing inevitable about a victory on Tuesday.  We’ve got to make it happen, and we got to make it happen here in Pennsylvania. And we know we can do it. I mean a state that elected me statewide can elect Gov. Romney as the president of the United States that’s for sure, right?”

Corbett, also in a red jacket, playing off his state’s nickname said, “We are the Keystone State to this nation and we are the Keystone State to this election.”

Ryan, in his Red North Face jacket, said if he and Romney are elected, they will make a “covenant between us and the people whose votes we seek.

“Mitt Romney and I are making this commitment because this is a compact, a contract,” Ryan said.

The Obama campaign isn’t buying that Pennsylvania is really in play for the GOP ticket, calling its efforts  in the state  ”a desperate hunt for a path to 270 electoral votes.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


POLL: 55 Percent 'Wrong Track' Matches 2004; A Difficulty for Obama, But Survivable

Edward Linsmier/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Days before the verdict on his bid for a second term, the bad news for Barack Obama is that most likely voters think the country is headed seriously off on the wrong track. The better news for Obama: Previous incumbents have survived the same challenge.

Just 43 percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll say the country is headed in the right direction; 55 percent say things are pretty seriously off course. The result, hardly an ebullient reflection on Obama’s term in office, clearly defines his difficulties.

See PDF with full results and charts here.

Yet it was almost precisely the same – 41-55 percent, right direction vs. wrong track – shortly before the 2004 election, a handicap George W. Bush overcame to win a second term. In another similarity, Bush fell as low as a 48 percent job approval rating heading into that election; Obama is at 50 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.

While the precedent by no means promises Obama a second term, it underscores how a president who’s less than broadly popular can manage to stay competitive. Politics are comparative; while Bush had weaknesses, his opponent, John Kerry, failed to capitalize on them.

Mitt Romney, by some measures, is doing better than Kerry did. In the closing days of the 2004 election, Kerry mustered no more than 50 percent strong enthusiasm among his own supporters, a factor that can reflect motivation to vote. Romney, by contrast, has 62 percent strong support today, roughly on pace with Obama’s 66 percent. Strong enthusiasm among Romney’s supporters also far surpasses John McCain’s four years ago. (Obama’s, for his part, is on par with 2008, after lagging earlier in the fall.)

Another comparison, though, shows Romney’s own challenges. Bush in 2004 led Kerry by 12 percentage points on the key issue of the day, security in a post-9/11 world. By contrast, Romney has been unable to take and hold a clear advantage on this election’s key issue, the economy; his +4 points vs. Obama in trust to handle the economy falls well short of Bush’s lead on security eight years ago.

CLOSE – Such are the elements of the continued deadlocked presidential race this year: Romney has 49 percent support in the latest ABC/Post tracking poll, Obama 48 percent, essentially identical to the long-running tally.

The closeness of the contest, as noted last week, is unusual: Obama’s support has been between 47 and 50 percent consistently since ABC/Post polls started evaluating likely voters in July, and essentially the same among registered voters back to April 2011. Romney, since July, has occupied virtually the same narrow band as Obama, between 46 and 50 percent support. Neither has exceeded 50 percent among likely voters, a record in polls back to 1960, adjusted for third-party vote.

TRACK and VOTE – In one uncanny result, vote preferences among right direction/wrong track likely voters almost exactly mirror ABC/Post pre-election polling in 2004. Then, likely voters who said the country was headed in the right direction favored Bush by 94-4 percent; today they’re for Obama by 93-4 percent. “Wrong track” likely voters in 2004 backed Kerry, by 84-12 percent; today they’re for Romney, by 85-11 percent. Bush stayed competitive then, as Obama is now, by winning a bit more “wrong track” likely voters than losing “right direction” ones.

Two other comparisons involving incumbent elections further frame this year’s contest. In 1992, when then-President George H.W. Bush lost re-election, 76 percent of registered voters said the country was seriously off on the wrong track – 21 points more than now – and his approval rating was down in the low 30s. In 1996, when Bill Clinton won re-election, 55 percent picked the “wrong track” answer, the same as in 2004 and today, but Clinton at about that time held 58 percent job approval regardless – a good deal better than Bush’s in 2004 and Obama’s now.

It likely was an improving economy that helped Clinton 16 years ago; on that now, as on much else this year, the jury is out. Consumer sentiment has been advancing, but very slowly, and from a very low level. Even with 171,000 jobs added in October, today’s 7.9 percent unemployment is hardly comfortable. It was 7.3 percent in October 1992.

INDIES/ PARTIES – With Obama winning support from 91 percent of Democrats and Romney from a record 95 percent of Republicans, attention turns again to independents, often swing voters in national elections. They split by 51-44 percent, Romney-Obama, in the latest data, not a statistically significant division given the sample size.

Where independents wind up does not necessarily determine the outcome; Kerry finished a non-significant +1 point in this group in the national exit poll in 2004, but lost the election; Bush finished +2 among independents in 2000, but lost the popular vote.

In one change, independents this year are more apt to lean toward the Republican Party than they were in ABC/Post pre-election polling in 2008 (40 percent do now, 32 percent did then); these may be voters who’ve moved away from full allegiance with the GOP but still tilt that way.

It’s true, too, that comparing independents in pre-election polls vs. the exit poll isn’t perfect; respondents in exit polls, just having voted, are less apt to say they’re independents.

Indeed the other missing piece is turnout among party regulars – specifically, the proportion of Democrats to Republicans who cast votes. In the 2008 exit poll Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 7 points; with that kind of margin Obama could have lost independents and still won. In 2004, instead, Democrats and Republicans were exactly evenly distributed – the kind of race in which independents are critical.

In this poll, there’s a mere 3-point gap between the parties – almost precisely halfway between the 2004 and 2008 exit polls, and again contributing to the exceptional closeness of the contest.

OTHER GROUPS – Turnout among other groups will influence the ultimate partisan divisions. Nonwhites are far more apt than whites to be Democrats and to support Democratic candidates; Obama in this poll is backed by 93 percent of blacks, 67 percent of Hispanics and 77 percent of nonwhites overall. The question is whether they achieve or even exceed their 2008 turnout, a record 26 percent of the electorate.

Whites, for their part, favor Romney by 58-38 percent; Romney’s now doing about as well among white women (58 percent, a new high) as among white men (59 percent), boosting him among women overall, now a close 50-48 percent split, Obama-Romney.

Romney also has now matched his high among political moderates, although with 43 percent support he trails Obama in this group by 10 points. Obama won moderates by a far broader 21-point margin, 60-39 percent, in 2008. Yet he’s outpacing Bush, who lost moderates by 9 points in 2004, but still won re-election on the strength of record support from conservatives – a level Romney is rivaling today.

Finally there are young likely voters, who back Obama by more than 2-1, as they did in 2008. Fewer 18- to 29-year-olds now report being registered and certain to vote than did four years ago; on their eventual turnout, as with so many of these groups, the election well may hinge.

Partisan divisions in this survey, Democrats-Republicans-independents, are 32-29-35 percent among likely voters. Partisan divisions in the 2008 exit poll were 39-32-29 percent.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Leads in Confidence on Recovery – But Obama Escapes Most Economic Blame

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- More likely voters think the economy would improve under Mitt Romney than under Barack Obama – but they disproportionately blame Obama’s predecessor for its troubles in the first place, an example of the mixed sentiments that undergird the deadlocked 2012 election.

Fifty-four percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll express at least some confidence the economy would improve under Romney; fewer, 47 percent, think the same if Obama’s re-elected. Then again, far fewer in either case are “very” confident of economic gains – 19 percent if Romney wins, 21 percent if it’s Obama – hardly a rousing endorsement of either.

See PDF with full results and charts here.

While Obama falls seven percentage points short of Romney in this measure, he does far better in another: Despite his tenure at the helm, just 36 percent of likely voters say Obama is chiefly responsible for the country’s current economic problems. Fifty-one percent instead still blame his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, three years and nine months after he left office.

Such views feed into the overall razor-close division in vote preferences, with 49 percent support for Obama, 48 percent for Romney in this latest four-day tracking poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. That’s essentially where the race has been not just for weeks, but months.

The one-point difference between the candidates is insignificant, given sampling error. Indeed – and not to imply false precision – taking it to two decimals, Obama has 48.56 percent support, Romney 48.49 percent – seven-hundredths of a percentage point difference between them. (If this sounds familiar, it was the same difference, albeit toward Romney, in results reported Oct. 23.)

Three of the four nights of this survey include the period when Hurricane Sandy approached and then hit the East Coast. Out of a national sample of 1,293 likely voters, 151 were interviewed those nights, Monday through Wednesday, in the Northeast. Results in this group are in accord with comparable data from nights before the storm struck.

STORM – While there’s been no apparent effect on vote preferences, Obama continues to get broadly positive grades for his response to the storm. Seventy-nine percent rate his handling of the situation positively, including 69 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of conservatives, as well as more than eight in 10 in other political and ideological groups.

As on Wednesday, Romney’s ratings are far more divided, likely reflecting partisan predispositions given his lack of an official role in the storm response. His handling of the situation is rated positively by 49 percent overall, ranging from 78 percent of Republicans to 47 percent of independents and 24 percent of Democrats. He’s rated negatively by 24 percent, chiefly Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.

The federal government receives ratings for its response much like Obama’s – 78 percent positive. As noted Wednesday, these are far higher than similar ratings a week after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Where they go from here depends on the course of recovery and the patience of the populace.

It’s possible the storm damage could impact the vote another way: Obama’s support consistently has been strongest in the Northeast, Romney’s in the South – both reflecting longstanding partisan and ideological patterns. If fewer Northeasterners can get to the polls, that conceivably could influence the national popular vote overall. (Any impact on the electoral college, though, is harder to discern.) In the Midwest and the West, meanwhile, Obama and Romney are essentially tied.

VOTING and GROUPS – Early voting, in any case, is progressing quickly; 21 percent of “likely voters” in this survey in fact say they’ve voted already, and 19 percent say they plan to do so. If all follow through, it’ll leave just six in 10 to vote on Election Day itself.

Unlike in 2008, though, preferences among these groups is very evenly divided – Obama +3 points among those who’ve voted early or plan to do so; Romney +2 among Election-Day likely voters. Those non-significant differences compare with a wide Obama +18 among early voters in 2008, vs. +2 among Election-Day voters that year.

The closer race shows another way: Among likely voters who supported Obama in 2008, he’s retaining 83 percent this year – but 14 percent are moving to Romney. Romney, by contrast, is retaining more of John McCain’s supporters, 94 percent, and losing just 5 percent to Obama. That said, Obama’s making it back among new voters: Seven percent of likely voters say they did not vote in 2008, and they favor Obama widely, by 62-34 percent.

Among other groups, preferences among independents – often swing voters – have squeezed to essentially a dead heat, 49-46 percent, Romney-Obama; that’s tightened from a record 58-38 percent in Romney’s favor last week. It hasn’t meaningfully changed total results because of slight changes in the numbers who identify themselves as independents, Democrats and Republicans – proportions that are not fixed, but that can move in step with other attitudes.

CONTACT – All this underscores the critical importance of turnout. Both campaigns are hitting it hard: Among all likely voters nationally, 30 percent have been contacted by a representative of the Obama campaign asking for their support, 27 percent by someone from the Romney camp.

Obama retains an edge in contact efficiency: Among those he’s contacted, 71 percent are his supporters; among those contacted by Romney, 62 percent support him. Obama had a bigger advantage in contact efficiency in 2008, however, as well as in contacts overall.

Contact numbers soar in the 11 battleground states identified by the ABC News Political Unit; there 47 percent have been contacted by Obama’s campaign, 36 percent by Romney’s. That’s an edge for Obama, but it fades when three states, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and North Carolina, are excluded. In the eight remaining states (see the end of this analysis for the list), Obama’s side has contacted 51 percent, Romney’s, 45 percent, not a significant difference.

CONFIDENCE and BLAME – One perplexing element of the election is how Obama has remained competitive despite the economy’s long-running troubles. Part of the answer rests on who’s blamed for it in the first place. Independents, for instance, blame Bush rather than Obama for current economic problems by a 19-point margin, 51-32 percent. And that widens to a 27-point margin among political moderates.

In the battleground states, Bush gets more economic blame than Obama, by 50-37 percent. Even in strong Republican states it’s an even split.

That continued blame on Bush enables Obama to deflect some of the economic ill-will that otherwise would be headed his way. It also helps lessen the impact of his seven-point disadvantage, noted above, in confidence the economy would recover under his leadership vs. Romney’s. Notably, Obama’s disadvantage in confidence hits 10 points among independents.

On other economic measures the two remain close – a two-point gap (toward Romney, but non-significant), in trust to handle the economy; a five-point gap (toward Obama, marginally significant) in better understanding Americans’ economic problems. Of all the reasons the race has stayed so tight, the failure of either candidate to seize and hold an advantage on these measures probably explains it best.

Partisan divisions in this survey, Democrats-Republicans-independents, are 32-28-36 percent among likely voters. Partisan divisions in the 2008 exit poll were 39-32-29 percent.  "Battleground states” as designated by the ABC News Political Unit are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama and Romney Resume Campaigning, No More Mr. Nice Guy

JEWEL SAMAD/FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama and Mitt Romney Thursday ended a brief truce for Superstorm Sandy, and made it clear as they returned to the campaign trail that there would be no more Mr. Nice Guy.

Romney stumped in Virginia, hoping to lock up the battleground state in the waning days of the campaign.

Obama began his day in Wisconsin, another key state where a Marist poll released Thursday indicated he had a 49-46 lead on Romney.

In his first campaign event since Saturday, Obama launched a three-state swing across the country in Green Bay, a battleground where he and Romney have been separated by only a few points in recent polls.

Before easing back into his usual stump speech, the president evoked the superstorm's devastating impact on parts of the East Coast.

"We've also been inspired these past few days because when disaster strikes, we see America at its best. All the petty differences that consume us in normal times all seem to melt away," Obama said. "There are no Democrats or Republicans during a storm, there are just fellow Americans."

It wasn't long, however, before Obama revisited familiar lines of attack against Romney.

"You'll be making a choice between two fundamentally different visions of America—one where we return to the top-down policies that crashed our economy," Obama said before being interrupted by boos from the audience, "or a future that's built on a strong and growing middle class."

"Don't boo, Wisconsin—vote," he added.

Romney, who just a day before campaigned in Florida without doling out his usual barbs directed at the Obama campaign, spent Thursday in Virginia where he launched a new line of attack against Obama focused on Obama's suggestion that he would create a secretary of business.

"We don't need a secretary of business to understand business. We need a president who understands business and I do," Romney said.

The Romney campaign also launched a new ad Thursday morning, which lampooned Obama for wanting to "add another bureaucrat" in response to any problem.

Virginia is considered a "toss up" state in the ABC News political map.

Obama has events planned in Nevada and Colorado Thursday, and Romney has two additional events in Virginia.

This final frenetic stage in the campaign comes after an unusual storm-induced hiatus from the most vitriolic political attacks. During that time, Obama has been off the trail and focused on storm relief, while Romney and his surrogates have focused on striking the right balance between stumping for votes and being circumspect in the face of a devastating natural disaster.

Obama got high marks from likely voters for his handling of the storm response with 78 percent rating his performance positively, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll. Only eight percent rated it negatively.

And most voters gave Romney positive marks for his handling of the storm.

The two candidates, however, remain virtually tied in most polls, including the ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll.

The ad wars also heated up significantly Thursday, with both campaigns releasing new spots.

The Romney campaign pushed out the "Secretary of Business" and a web video called "Bill's Barbecue" which pinned Obama with the blame for the shuttering of an 82 year-old business. Romney visited the Bills Barbecue business owners Thursday during his campaigning.

The Obama campaign released a new spot, "Solid," touting the endorsement of Republican and former Defense Secretary Colin Powell. The ad will air in 10 states including New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Virginia.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama and Romney Détente Ends as They Return to Campaign Trail

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The political détente declared during superstorm Sandy is over as President Obama and Mitt Romney return to the campaign trail on Thursday after days of subdued rhetoric and deferred political events.

After suspending campaigning for days in the wake of the storm, Obama will return to the stump with a three-state swing through Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado on Thursday.

Romney, who campaigned in Florida on Wednesday without doling out his usual barbs directed at the Obama campaign, will spend his day Thursday at three campaign events in Virginia.

Obama got high marks from likely voters for his handling of the storm response, with 78 percent rating his performance positively, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll.  Only 8 percent rated it negatively.

In what is likely to be a preview of campaign events to come, Vice President Joe Biden and Paul Ryan sparred on Wednesday over the auto bailout and over what the Obama campaign claims is a misleading Romney ad about Jeep production in China.  The ad is being aired in Ohio.

The ad implied that Jeep had moved its production of vehicles from North America to China, when in fact the company said that it is expanding its production to China while also adding jobs in Ohio.

"They are running the most scurrilous ad in Ohio.  And I mean this sincerely; I want you to listen -- one of the most flagrantly dishonest ads I can ever remember in my political career," Biden said in Florida Wednesday.

Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee, took several opportunities to fire back at Biden on Wednesday, taking the Obama administration to task for the auto bailout, which has been one of the shining stars of the Obama campaign's re-election argument.

"The facts, they speak for themselves.  President Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy, taxpayers still stand to lose $25 billion dollars in the president's politically managed bankruptcy.  These companies, Chrysler in particular -- we know this story -- are now choosing to expand manufacturing overseas," Ryan said in Wisconsin.  "Those facts are inconvenient for the president, but no one disputes them.  The president and the vice president, the problem is they simply can't defend their record."

The debate reveals a fierce fight in the final days to win the key battleground state of Ohio, where Obama has held a consistent lead, and where the auto bailout that the Obama campaign trumpets is widely popular.

Polls show Romney trailing Obama there by several points, and a CBS/New York Times/Quinnipiac poll released on Wednesday shows Obama holding a 5-point lead over Romney.

Ohio and its 18 Electoral College votes is considered a must win state for both camps.  Since 1960, no president has been elected without winning Ohio.  ABC News rates the state as a "toss up."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Storm Response Earns Obama Praise Amid the Election’s Deadlock Drama

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Likely voters of all political stripes give broadly positive ratings to Barack Obama’s response to the devastating storm that smashed the East Coast this week. Whether it makes a difference in the long-deadlocked presidential election is another question.

Initially, the latest ABC News/Washington Post daily tracking poll finds essentially no change: Likely voters are back to exactly an even split in preferences, 49-49 percent between Obama and Mitt Romney – within a point or two of where the race has been all along.

See PDF with full results and charts here.

Regardless, in interviews conducted Tuesday night, 78 percent rate Obama’s response to the hurricane positively (as excellent or good), while just eight percent see it negatively. Romney, who naturally has had a far less prominent role in this issue, is rated positively for his response to the hurricane by 44 percent, negatively by 21 percent, with many more, 35 percent, expressing no opinion.

The federal government’s overall response to the storm is rated about as well as Obama’s, 73 percent positive in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. These ratings are far higher than the government’s, or George W. Bush’s, a week after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The future, of course, is uncertain, and these ratings can change depending on the pace of recovery. Notably, many in each case rate the responses to date as “good” rather than “excellent,” leaving room for reconsideration as the efforts progress.

Views on Obama’s response to the hurricane exhibit some bipartisanship in an otherwise highly partisan period; he’s rated positively on the issue by 63 percent of Republicans as well as more than 80 percent of Democrats and independents, and by nearly as many conservatives (73 percent) as moderates and liberals (eight in 10). The federal government’s response more broadly is rated essentially equally favorably across partisan and ideological lines.

Partisanship roars back in views of Romney’s response; these likely are based on political predispositions, given his lack of an official role in the effort itself. His 70 percent positive score among Republicans drops to 40 among independents and 24 percent among Democrats.

This survey was conducted the past four nights, including interviews after Hurricane Sandy made landfall Monday night. Out of a national sample of 1,288 likely voters, 102 were interviewed Monday and Tuesday in the Northeast. Results in this group are in accord with comparable data from nights before the storm struck.

ELECTION – Partisanship in the election itself is profound, with Obama and Romney each supported by at least 90 percent of likely voters within their parties. Depending on turnout, that can leave things up to independents, a movable group that’s less rooted in partisan preferences.

Their latest direction gives some ground to Obama: Independents now divide by 51-46 percent, Romney-Obama, matching the president’s best in this group since July. He’s gained eight percentage points among independents, and Romney’s lost seven, since last week.

That shift among independents doesn’t tell the whole story because the makeup of the eventual electorate, and precise vote preferences among groups, are yet to be settled. But as with so many other measures, it underscores the unusual closeness of the contest.

MORE GROUPS – Among other divisions are the continued sharp differences by race. Whites in this survey favor Romney by 58-40 percent, including white men at 62-36 percent. Non-whites, for their part, back Obama by 79-20 percent. The question again is turnout proportions; non-whites accounted for a record 26 percent of voters in the 2008 exit poll.

Turnout’s a question, as well, among young voters, a particularly strong group for Obama this year as in 2008, but one that seems less engaged this time around. At this point in 2008, 63 percent of adults under age 30 reported being registered to vote; that compares with 57 percent now. The falloff has occurred specifically among young men; just half now report being registered, down 13 points from this time last year.

Time, of course, is running short. Eighteen percent of likely voters in fact say they’ve already voted, and about as many more intend to do so between now and Election Day.

But the differences between these two groups, too, have tightened. Those who’ve voted early or intend to do so, previously looking better for Obama, now divide by a narrow 51-48 percent; and Election Day likely voters, previously better for Romney, Wednesday split by 47-51 percent. It’s close in both, just like it’s close overall.

FIRST/SECOND TERM – Another result looks at whether likely voters are focused more on what Obama has done in his first term – when the economy’s been in dire straits – or on what he might do in a second term. The division is 27-47 percent, with an additional 17 percent saying they’re focused on both.

Vote preferences among these groups are telling. Among those focused on Obama’s first term, Romney leads by a 17-point margin, 58-41 percent. By contrast, among those who are more interested in what Obama would do in a second term, or who say both matter equally, it’s a 16-point Obama lead, 57-41 percent. Those results explain both candidates’ broad themes – for Obama, a focus on what’s ahead; for Romney, one on what’s gone wrong, particularly economically.

ECONOMY and EMPATHY – Results specifically on the economy also reflect the dynamics of this contest. Trust to handle the economy has been Obama’s greatest vulnerability, yet Romney has been unable to capitalize on it fully; the two continue to run essentially evenly in trust to handle it, 49-47 percent, Romney-Obama. Romney had opened a 9-point lead on the economy last week; it didn’t hold.

But then there’s empathy, which has been Obama’s strong suit – understanding the economic problems of average Americans. On this they’re now at 50-44 percent, Obama-Romney, better for Obama from last week, but well down from his double-digit lead on empathy last summer.

There’s a telling contrast between these sentiments and those four years ago. At this time in the 2008 election Obama led John McCain by 10 points among likely voters, 52-42 percent, in trust to handle the economy, and by a broad 18 points, 56-38 percent, in economic empathy. That’s why the 2008 election was not a particularly close one – and why this year’s is another story entirely.

Partisan divisions in this survey, Democrats-Republicans-independents, are 33-28-36 percent among likely voters. Partisan divisions in the 2008 exit poll were 39-32-29 percent.  “Battleground states” as designated by the ABC News Political Unit are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Biden Calls Romney Jeep Ad ‘Outrageous Lie’

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(SARASOTA, Fla.) -- Vice President Biden launched a stinging critique of Mitt Romney for an Ohio ad suggesting the president allowed Chrysler to move Jeep operations to China, calling Romney’s ad an “outrageous lie.”

The vice president said the ad was an act of “desperation” and he accused the GOP nominee of using scare tactics to frighten thousands of autoworkers in the final days of the campaign.

“They are running the most scurrilous ad in Ohio. And I mean this sincerely… one of the most flagrantly dishonest ads I can ever remember in my political career,” Biden said at the Municipal auditorium. “It’s an outrageous lie. A lie, a lie that is so deceptive and so patently untrue that the Chrysler corporation, including the chairman of the board of Chrysler, they actually spoke up.”

Executives at GM and Chrysler have rebutted the ad Romney released last week, and the vice president said the Romney campaign is using the ad to “scare the living devil” out of Ohio autoworkers.

“Maybe it’s just me. Maybe because it makes me so…so,” Biden said holding his tongue and adding. “I’m being a good Biden today. Why would they do this? Why would they do this in the face of the overwhelming facts contradicting them? I’ll tell you why I think they’re doing it. They’re trying to scare the living devil out of a group of people who have been hurt so badly...because of the previous four years before we came to office.”

“These are auto workers waking up in their communities just a couple of days ago to see this ad and guess what they were calling? Thousands of them were calling their UAW reps, is it true? Is it true? Is Jeep really going to leave?…  What a cynical, cynical thing to do….To go out and try to scare these people for electoral reasons at the end, to say something that’s so untrue,” Biden said.

Biden accused Romney of spreading “confusion” with his ad, an attribute the vice president said a president shouldn’t possess.

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan defended the ad Wednesday.

“American taxpayers are on track to lose $25 billion as a result of President Obama’s handling of the auto bailout, and GM and Chrysler are expanding their production overseas. These are facts that voters deserve to know as they listen to the claims President Obama and his campaign are making. President Obama has chosen not to run on the facts of his record, but he can’t run from them,” Ryan said.

The vice president resumed his first full day of campaigning Wednesday in Florida after his events in Ohio were cancelled Tuesday due to Superstorm Sandy. Biden lauded the bipartisan tone governors, mayors and federal officials have adopted in their organization of storm relief efforts and hoped that attitude of cooperation would extend beyond the election.

“It’s working like it used to work when I was a young senator. We’ve got Democrats and Republicans working together,” he said.

With less than six days until Election Day, Biden is on his final trip through Florida, a state that he’s visited 10 times including this trip. As the crowd chanted “four more years,” Biden warned the supporters, “We gotta get through the next six days.”

But while he sharpened his attacks against Romney in his speech, Biden shortly after turned his attention to 2016, jokingly telling a Republican voter over the phone at a restaurant called 400 Station that he just might be on the ticket in 2016.

“Well look, I’m not trying to talk you into voting for me, I just wanted to say hi to you, okay?” Biden said over the phone. “And after it’s all over when your insurance rates go down then you’ll vote for me in 2016. I’ll talk to you later.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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