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Battleground Blitz Continues, New Ads Hit Airwaves

Mitt Romney; photo by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Mitt Romney holds a campaign rally Thursday at Defiance High School in Ohio. Photo by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images.

The Morning Line

With 11 days to go until Election Day, there is no rest for the weary.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney campaigns across the Midwest on Friday, delivering a speech in Iowa before returning to Ohio, the key battleground where he held three events on Thursday.

President Obama, meanwhile, will be mass communicating, sitting down for 10 interviews, including seven with battleground state reporters.

The series of conversations follows Mr. Obama’s two-day campaign tour across six states. His campaign characterized Friday’s media blitz as part of a strategy to build on “his ongoing efforts to reach as many voters as possible through Election Day on his plans to keep moving America forward toward an economy built to last with a strong middle class.”

If there was any question they’re trying to gin up the base, this settles it: Mr. Obama will sit for a live interview with MTV’s Sway Calloway in an event the network is calling “ASK OBAMA LIVE.”

Both candidates are fighting hard for the nine remaining tossup states, and there’s fresh evidence for their urgency.

Mr. Obama and Romney are tied at 48 percent among likely voters in Colorado, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll. That’s down from a 50 percent to 45 percent advantage the survey showed for the president in mid-September.

In Nevada, Mr. Obama has a three-point edge, 50 percent to 47 percent, which is within the poll’s margin of error. The margin represents a slight improvement for the president, who had been ahead, 49 percent to 47 percent, in a late September survey in the Silver State.

A Fox News poll of likely Virginia voters showed Romney narrowly ahead, 47 percent to 45 percent, also within the margin of error. The previous Fox poll in Virginia had put Mr. Obama up by seven points, 50 percent to 43 percent.

Part of the reason for the shift: Independent voters are now breaking, 53 percent to 31 percent, for Romney after being evenly split at 43 percent last month.

Want to see how Colorado, Nevada and Virginia affect the Electoral College chances of the two candidates? Give it a try in our Vote 2012 Map Center.

AD ALERT

New television ads flying under the radar at the national level are pounding the airwaves in the battleground states. Team Obama began airing a new spot in Florida that features the secretly taken video of Romney talking to donors. It warns: “It’s said that character is what we do when no one is looking. Mitt Romney thought no one was looking when he attacked 47 percent of Americans.”

The spot closes with, “Remember what Romney said, and what his plan would do.”

Watch the spot here or below.

Republicans also have a bunch of unreleased spots running in the battlegrounds.

Team Romney has not told the press about a 30-second ad starring the former Massachusetts governor’s Cabinet members, Jane Edmonds, Beth Lindstrom and Ellen Roy Herzfelder, which popped up Thursday in the Northern Virginia television market.

It’s a similar look and feel to this ad focused on women, in which Herzfelder says Romney “totally gets working women,” but has a governing message.

“We made things happen, we balanced budgets,” Lindstrom says.

“I see qualities in the man that make me know that I can put the nation in his hands and feel very good about it,” Edmonds says.

And here’s a new spot from the Republican National Committee’s independent expenditure effort.

NewsHour partner Kantar Media/CMAG found that the Obama campaign is “continuing to juggle 20 or so spots at once, is keeping up its attacks on Romney with a slate of new and older ads, counterpunching with ads featuring Bill Clinton, and promoting Obama’s proposals for the next four years,” while also running the get-out-the-vote spots we’ve been noting here.

On Thursday’s NewsHour, Margaret Warner talked with NPR’s Mara Liasson, whose report on the data gathered by Kantar Media/CMAG is airing Friday. They talked about how the battlegrounds are “set in stone.”

Liasson reported:

This is a battleground that’s not going to shrink because of a peculiar aspect of this cycle. In the past, because campaigns had to make tough decisions because they had limited or finite, limited, but finite resources, sometimes, they would leave a state. That’s not going to happen this year.

This battleground is not going to shrink. But what these ads tell us is, at this moment, it’s also not growing. In other words, if the battleground was growing, you would see Republicans buy ads in Michigan or Pennsylvania, and they’re not right now.

The Kantar Media/CMAG data show the ads are 7-to-1 negative. Here’s the tally:

As of October 24, Obama had been mentioned critically in 240,558 downballot ad occurrences in 2012, to the tune of about $115 million in advertising. Many, many of these negative mentions were referencing “Obamacare.” Obama had been mentioned positively in ads that aired 13,628 times for a total of about $8.8 million in advertising.

Romney had been mentioned critically in downballot ads airing a collective 8,240 times through October 24, amounting to about $4.1 million in advertising. He received positive mentions in 4,562 ad occurrences amounting to $2.6 million or so in ad spending. CMAG counts endorsement ads as positive mentions, so Romney’s recently aired endorsement spots for Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and nominee Richard Mourdock of Indiana have helped goose his total positive mentions.

Watch the segment here or below:

Listen to Mara’s report here.

FACE THE FACTS

With Hurricane Sandy barrelling toward the Eastern seaboard, Friday’s tidbit from NewsHour partner Face the Facts USA focuses on extreme weather events and comes with a nifty infographic.

The nonpartisan organization found that the “annual number of billion-dollar disasters in the United States — earthquakes, floods, fires, hurricanes and more — has tripled since the 1980s, from two to about six per year.” More:

And 2011 was a barn-burner, with 14 separate $1 billion-plus weather events. That’s like buying 4,500 new homes at the median price for every major hurricane, tornado outburst, flood and drought. Losses from U.S. natural disasters in 2011 topped $60 billion.

2012 LINE ITEMS

  • As part of the NewsHour series “Missing Issues,” which explores topics so far absent on the campaign trail, we looked at the European economy on Thursday.
  • Gwen Ifill walks us through the 1-2-3’s of the remaining 11 days.
  • Mr. Obama voted early in Chicago on Thursday. And yes, they checked his ID.
  • Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown writes on Mr. Obama’s efforts to regain his standing with female voters, and David Nather and Charlie Mahtesian note that abortion politics are back and making a difference down the ballot.
  • As women continue to be the prime target, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., kept up the a media offensive with an appearance on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” She coined a new term, telling Stewart, “President Obama calls it ‘Romnesia,’ I call it Mittology.” Pelosi also sat down with Charlie Rose and taped a chat with Rachael Ray that airs next week.
  • Politico looks at the campaigns’ digital efforts. The consensus? “The consensus from interviews with seven GOP online strategists and two swing-state Romney operatives is that the Romney team does everything Obama does, just not as well.”
  • Team Obama has a new Romney-Richard Mourdock attack site.
  • The Washington Post endorses a second term for Mr. Obama. (The paper also backed him in 2008, Sen. John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000.)
  • Team Romney and the Republican National Committee had more than $120 million in the bank on Oct. 17, while Mr. Obama and the Democratic National Committee had about $104 million.
  • Frank Tanabe, a World War II veteran, has died a week after he gained attention for his determination to vote from his deathbed.
  • Romney’s testimony in a lawsuit involving the founder of Staples was unsealed.
  • This presidential election brings us the most racial polarization since 1988, according to the Washington Post.
  • The Post’s Michael Leahy looks at the most prominent undecided voter in West Virginia: Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.
  • The Washington Examiner notes that “bad news” would greet Vice President Biden’s arrival in Wisconsin: “Oshkosh’s largest employer announced that it will lay off 450 employees in January.”
  • Paul Solman tries to get to the bottom of the budget and the national debt.
  • Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu suggests that Colin Powell’s endorsement of the president is racially motivated.
  • Politico’s Anna Palmer on the “Bushies in Romneyworld.”
  • Romney picks up the endorsement of musician-turned-actor Meat Loaf during a rally Thursday in Defiance, Ohio.

TOP TWEETS

OUTSIDE THE LINES

  • Don’t miss the NewsHour’s richly reported piece on how the ongoing toil in Syria is taking a toll on the cultural significance of Aleppo.
  • Roll Call’s Joshua Miller writes that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee out-raised its GOP counterpart for the October campaign finance reporting period.
  • Roll Call’s Humberto Sanchez notices that Republicans vying for leadership spots have been generous toward colleagues on the ballot this year.
  • The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Joe Guillen reports that Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and GOP state treasurer Josh Mandel sparred Thursday night over the auto rescue and abortion during their third and final debate in Ohio’s Senate race.
  • Fox’s Chad Pergam finds mixed reactions on Capitol Hill to Mr. Obama’s debate sequestration talk.
  • The Grio’s Mary Curtis explores the lack of black politicians on the ballot for major offices after four years of the first African-American president.
  • The Associated Press features a recent political cartoonist convention in this video.
  • Nevada’s Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval joins Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s push to legalize online poker.

Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.

ON THE TRAIL

All events are listed in Eastern Time.

  • President Obama visits the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C., at 2 p.m. He also will do 10 interviews during the day, including a live conversation with MTV at 5 p.m.
  • Mitt Romney delivers remarks in Ames, Iowa, at 1 p.m. He then travels to North Canton, Ohio, for a rally with Rep. Paul Ryan at 7:15 p.m.
  • Vice President Biden campaigns in Wisconsin, delivering remarks in Oshkosh at 11:45 a.m. and attending an event in Kenosha at 3:45 p.m.
  • Michelle Obama attends an event in San Diego at 2:10 p.m. She then travels to Las Vegas for an event at 5:30 p.m.
  • Ann Romney campaigns in Virginia, dropping by Back Bay Gourmet in Virginia Beach at 11:30 a.m., attending an event in Williamsburg at 1:35 p.m. and visiting St. Joseph’s Villa in Richmond at 3:10 p.m.
  • Jill Biden campaigns in New Hampshire, stopping in Concord at 11:10 a.m., Berlin at 1:40 p.m., Conway at 3:45 p.m. and Laconia at 6 p.m.

All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:


For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

Follow the politics team on Twitter: @cbellantoni, @burlij, @elizsummers, @kpolantz, @indiefilmfan, @tiffanymullon, @dePeystah, @meenaganesan and @abbruns.

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