It's one week before election day, and the Obama campaign is having to use heavy artillery to defend what should be safe and secure territory. Former President Bill Clinton, who is more appealing on the stump than is President Obama, is in Minnesota. Minnesota should be deep blue, and the state shouldn't even be mentioned one week before the election. The campaign schedules are unclear due to the storm, but Vice President Joe Biden was originally scheduled to be in his home state — even in his hometown of Scranton, Pa., — today. Biden is still a net plus on the stump, and you would think the Obama campaign wouldn’t send him to his home turf unless they had to.
In other news, a look at early voting numbers shows that 30,000 more Republicans in Ohio have cast an early vote in this election so far than did in 2008. But the big news from Ohio is that this year, 220,000 fewer Democrats have voted early so far in the state compared to 2008. And by the way, the Gallup poll that Obama finds so bothersome shows a fresh 6-point lead for Romney among those who have already voted. This is what a crumbling campaign looks like. States that are supposed to be secure are having to be defended, and analysis of early voting trends in key states suggests that enthusiasm for the incumbent's campaign is desperately lacking. And as this Insider has pointed out, the Obama campaign has nothing affirmative to say in the days remaining.
The president will spend another day in Washington orchestrating the response to Sandy. At the 30,000 foot level, that's good for the president. He looks like a president. But it's clear things on the ground in key states are not going well, and without presidential visits to rally his forces and oil his organizations, the president appears to be in trouble.
For the first time, one poll shows Romney ahead in Ohio, but all polls shows Romney has momentum, and no polls show the president at 50 percent. The dashboard of the president's bandwagon is beginning to glow from all the flashing red warning lights. Minnesota and Pennsylvania need work, and Ohio is slipping away. So far, the storm hasn't been an image bonanza for the president, and Romney hasn't made a mistake.
The president's campaign has appeared out of gas and desperate for several weeks. Now we're going to find out what reallydesperate looks like. Sometimes in losing campaigns, about now is when insiders begin to throw in the towel and try to escape blame. People who want to protect their image for the analysis and the books that will be written post-election day begin to settle scores and point fingers. Look for stray quotes to begin to crop up anonymously from within the Obama organization that will lead to stories that prematurely give accounts of the failures within the Obama campaign That will be a sign that the campaign cancer has metastasized.
As one storm clears, other ominous clouds are developing over the Obama campaign.