Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Democrats Are Getting Desperate They Spin Fanciful Scenarios to Maintain Slim Hope of Victory

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Democrats Are Getting Desperate They Spin Fanciful Scenarios to Maintain Slim Hope of Victory

Article excerpt

A president notorious for talking big but acting small is hanging his slender hopes for re-election on a gigantic gust of wind.

Mitt Romney was on a roll when Hurricane Sandy struck. He'd taken the lead in nearly all the national tracking polls, by 6 percentage points in Gallup, the most respected. Even in the handful of polls where Barack Obama led, he was below 50 percent, a bad place for an incumbent to be the week before an election. Undecided voters usually break heavily toward the challenger.

At least 28 newspapers which had backed Mr. Obama in 2008 switched their endorsements to Mr. Romney. He was drawing larger, more enthusiastic crowds.

The grimmest news for Mr. Obama was a Gallup survey Monday which indicated Mr. Romney leads, 52-46, among the 15 percent of registered voters who have already voted. At the same point in 2008, Mr. Obama led Sen. John McCain 55-40 among early voters.

Democrats must win early voters. Mr. Obama beat Sen. McCain by 7.2 percentage points -- but by only 3 points among those who voted on election day.

Mr. Romney suspended campaigning for two days. That broke his momentum, Democrats hope.

The hurricane also provided the president with "a remarkable last minute chance to campaign for his job just by doing his job," said Ben Feller of the Associated Press.

To demonstrate leadership in the crisis, Mr. Obama horned in on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's tour of communities devastated by Sandy. As is typical, Mr. Obama's leadership is more apparent than real. The federal government provides funds for disaster relief, but once the money's released, cleanup operations are run mainly by state and local authorities.

"When an American is in need, we leave nobody behind," the president said at a non-campaign campaign photo-op at Red Cross headquarters in Washington.

Unless you're an American besieged at the consulate in Benghazi, waiting in vain for air support.

Sandy gave Mr. Obama's friends in the news media another excuse for not talking about Libya. But when Jay Leno jokes that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been revived as the president's "new policy for questions about Libya," their efforts to suppress the scandal have not been as successful as they would like. …

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