Mitt Romney goes big while the president plays small ball. “With 12 days left until the election, Mitt Romney began offering the outlines of a closing argument here that co-opts President Obama’s message from four years ago, repeatedly promising to deliver ‘big change’ at a moment of ‘big challenges’ and calling his opponent a guardian of the status quo.”

Maybe voter ID requirements are no big deal. “Casting Ballot, Obama Asked For ID.”

The big question is still Ohio. “White, working-class voters in Ohio are supporting President Obama at higher levels than in other swing states, making it tougher for Mitt Romney to catch the incumbent in perhaps the most vital of all battlegrounds. Even as the GOP nominee has inched ahead in polls of swing states like North Carolina, Florida and Colorado, Romney has been unable to crack Obama’s slim but steady advantage in polls of the Buckeye State.”

It’s a big scandal and the speaker is right to demand answers. “Congress’s top Republican is pressing President Barack Obama to provide clearer answers about what led to last month’s fatal assault in Benghazi. In a letter dated Thursday, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Obama, as commander-in-chief, is in the best position to explain the administration’s policies and response to the attacks at the U.S. Consulate there, which killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other diplomatic officials.”

The big canard from the administration spinners is that the jihadists in Libya had no connection to al-Qaeda. “In the wake of the Arab Spring, multiple groups calling themselves Ansar al Sharia have sprung up. Ansar al Sharia in Yemen is a known front for al Qaeda. . . . An Ansar al Sharia militia in Libya is known to have taken part in the Benghazi attack. As with AQIM, some have tried to portray AAS in Benghazi as a strictly local actor that is uninterested in al Qaeda’s global jihad. But this is demonstrably false. Members of the group took part in an attack on a U.S. consulate, thereby demonstrating their clear animosity for America and the West. And members of AAS in Benghazi were the ones who reportedly contacted AQIM both before and after the terrorist attack. This provides a tangible link between AAS and al Qaeda’s global affiliate network.”

Th big difference is not only ideology but also outlook. The Des Moines Register captures the contrast: “Obama sharpens criticism” vs. “Romney expresses optimism.”

The big shift began with the debates. “The polls from Ohio currently show a dead heat, but they also show momentum for Romney. Just two weeks ago, Obama was up 10 points in the state. Today, that margin has closed to 3 in the latest SurveyUSA poll. Meanwhile, the latest Suffolk (PDF) poll has Ohio tied (at 47) and Rasmussen also has a tie (at 48). All of this is clearly good news for Mitt.”

The big surprise: how willing Obama is to debase the presidency. “President Obama’s campaign is targeting young voters with a double-entendre-laden YouTube ad — an ad that faintly imitates one Vladimir Putin used to appeal to the young to win his presidential election earlier this year. Obama’s ad, ‘The First Time,’ is more straightforward. Lena Dunham faces the camera and says, ‘Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy.’ From there, it quickly becomes obvious she’s talking about first-time voting, not sex, although the intended double-meaning is obvious.” Blech.