The Meaning Of Momentum (The Note)

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By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone ) and AMY WALTER ( @amyewalter )


  • THE RACE FOR OHIO: ABC's David Muir reports for "World News" that given the Electoral College math, whoever wins the Ohio will almost certainly win the White House-and with that in mind, the campaigns are tailoring their schedules and messages to the Buckeye State. President Obama has visited Ohio 14 times since June, while Romney has traveled there 15 times. Muir visits with a Romney phone-banker dialing three phones at once and an Obama volunteer on his 14th consecutive day of canvassing. WATCH Muir's report for "World News":
  • AIR WARS COME TO MINNESOTA: Mitt Romney's campaign has reserved television air time in the Minneapolis-St. Paul media market from Saturday through Tuesday, according to sources tracking presidential campaign spending. Early indications are that the buy is fairly modest - under $50,000 - and in a market that bleeds into several counties in Wisconsin. The latest polling in Minnesota gives President Obama an advantage of several percentage points in the state and ABC News rates it as "Solid Democrat." The buy comes on the heels of reports last week that the Obama campaign had also purchased $57,000 worth of airtime in the Minneapolis market. A pro-Romney super PAC, American Future Fund, reported spending roughly $1.6 million in the state of Minnesota since September. Earlier this month the group also released a polling memo in the state calling the race there "a dead heat."
  • THIS WEEK ON 'THIS WEEK': With just over one week until Election Day, top Obama and Romney campaign officials debate the latest in the 2012 election, including the first look at the latest numbers from the ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll, Sunday on "This Week." Plus, the powerhouse roundtable debates all the week's presidential politics, with ABC News' George Will; PBS' "Washington Week" moderator and managing editor Gwen Ifill; Andrew Sullivan, editor of "The Dish" at The Daily Beast; former Obama economic adviser and ABC News consultant Austan Goolsbee; and Republican strategist and ABC News political analyst and contributor Nicolle Wallace. Tune in Sunday:
  • ABC/YAHOO! VIDEO: WACKY WAYS THE RACE COULD END. In the latest installment of "Top Line," ABC's Amy Walter and Rick Klein say it's plausible that Mitt Romney will win the national popular vote, while President Obama wins the election … and that the "nuclear option" of a 269-269 Electoral College tie isn't off the table. WATCH:
  • COUNTDOWN TO ELECTION DAY: There are 11 days to go until Nov. 6, 2012. Here are the ABC News battleground state rankings:


We've heard a lot about momentum this week - especially from Mitt Romney's campaign - and from Romney, himself.

The day after the final presidential debate, Romney told a huge crowd at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado: "You see the president's status quo campaign, you know going forward with the same ideas as we've seen over the last four years is, is why he's slipping, and it's why our campaign is gaining."

The next night, at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Romney told supporters he was "optimistic."

"Not just about winning," Romney said. "We are going to win, by the way, we're going to do that."

He underscored that sentiment last night at a rally in Defiance, Ohio: "Let me tell you, I'm optimistic," he said at the crowd chanted his name. "I'm excited about the future."

In Ohio, the state that could decide the entire election, two Romney campaign strategists released a memo yesterday, projecting confidence : "[The] Romney-Ryan ticket remains poised to win Ohio's 18 electoral votes because our ticket has more enthusiasm, has a better ground game, is leading among independents by a wide margin, and is crippling President Obama's early voting strategy."

Romney political director Rich Beeson and Ohio State Director Scott Jennings concluded: "Our view is that the race is a dead heat with Romney on an unmistakable upward track."

The latest Ohio polls show the race very close, but with President Obama still holding on to a slight edge. An NBC News-Marist poll in Nevada last night also gave the president a small lead in the state while a poll of Colorado showed the head-to-head race tied.

And, nationally, our own ABC News-Washington Post tracking poll yesterday had Romney hitting the 50 percent mark for the first time ever in our polling. Obama wound up with 47 percent support.

Also key, according to ABC News pollster Gary Langer, "Likely voters now pick Romney over Obama in trust to handle the economy by 52-43 percent - the first time either candidate has held a clear lead over the other on this central issue."

Many of the trendlines are unmistakably moving in Romney's direction, but as we've seen so many times in this race, momentum is a moving target. As we head into the final full week of campaigning, the question becomes: Will Romney continue to ride his slow but steady upswing to Nov. 6 or will the president find a way to knock him off course?

And as ABC News Political Analyst Matthew Dowd reminds us, momentum may not matter when it comes to who actually wins the White House: "This race leans slightly in Romney's direction, nationally," Dowd notes. "But it leans slightly in Obama's direction electorally - by a few states."

Keep an eye on ABC for our next ABC News-Washington Post tracking poll at 12p.m. today:


The Note's virtual political roundtable:

ABC's AMY WALTER: Regardless of the outcome on Nov 6, we know one thing for sure: The GOP outside groups helped keep Mitt Romney afloat to a degree never seen before in presidential campaigns. As CMAG reports today, "American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, Restore Our Future and Americans for Prosperity - have so dominated Republican presidential advertising that their collective efforts surpass those of their own nominee. Not only will they have spent far more on TV than Romney's campaign when all's said and done - no surprise since groups pay higher ad rates… but it's safe to bet they will have aired significantly more spots than the Romney campaign, a relinquishing of message control never before seen from any presidential nominee."

ABC's RICK KLEIN: It's a rather crass endgame for the campaign, but it's also a split-screen ending. President Obama is closing hip and snarky, talking about BSers and chatting with MTV, his campaign using Lena Dunham - your first pop president. Mitt Romney is calculating that voters are now making a serious choice and want, well, hope - Ronald Reagan, all over again. In a tough race to read the winds of momentum, the candidates are taking things in much different directions.

EARLY VOTING SNAPSHOT: REPUBLICANS BOAST BIGGER SHARE THAN IN '08. ABC's Elizabeth Hartfield reports that in 2008, about 30 percent of the national vote was cast via early or absentee ballots. This year, the expectation is that about 40 percent of Americans will cast a vote early, observers said. … the Republican National Committee reports that Republicans are making up a larger share of the early voters than they did last cycle … Here is a closer snapshot of where things stand in the battleground states where in-person early voting is allowed:

COLORADO: A total of 325,810 votes have been cast so far- 126,539 from registered Republicans and 120,965 from registered Democrats.

FLORIDA: 925,604 ballots cast so far- 414,016 from Republicans, 363,881 from Democrats. Early in-person voting has not started yet in Florida- it kicks off on Saturday the 27th.

IOWA: 399,858 ballots have been cast in the state, 183,780 from Democrats, 126,872 from Republicans.

NEVADA: 218,616 votes have been cast statewide with Democrats boasting the advantage over Republicans-101,935 vs. 79,058.

OHIO: A total of 808,051 ballots have been cast so far- 618,861 absentee ballots returned and 189,190 additional in-person votes. Ohio does not register voters by party.

VIRGINIA: 247,862 votes have been cast but the state does not register by party.


with Chris Good ( @c_good)

OBAMA: 10 INTERVIEWS TODAY. The president's campaign emails: "On the heels of his two-day, nonstop "America Forward!" tour, during which he held six grassroots events in six states across four time zones, President Obama will participate in ten interviews Friday, building on his ongoing efforts to reach as many voters as possible through Election Day."

BROWN VS. WARREN, WITH CONTROL OF THE SENATE AT STAKE. Democrat Elizabeth Warren and Republican Sen. Scott Brown are locked in a fierce battle for Massachusetts' Senate seat, ABC's Jonathan Karl reports, with Democrats believing that if they defeat Brown they'll almost certainly retain control of the upper chamber. WATCH Karl's report for "World News":

SUNUNU: COLIN POWELL ENDORSED OBAMA BECAUSE OF RACE. Top Romney surrogate and former New Hampshire governor John Sununu was asked by CNN's Piers Morgan about Colin Powell's endorsement of President Obama, ABC's Michael Falcone reports. His response: "Frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that's an endorsement based on issues or that he's got a slightly different reason for President Obama." Morgan: "What reason would that be?" Sununu: "Well, I think that when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being President of the United States-I applaud Colin for standing with him."

…THEN TAKES IT BACK. Sununu released this statement last night: "Colin Powell is a friend and I respect the endorsement decision he made and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the President's policies. Piers Morgan's question was whether Colin Powell should leave the party, and I don't think he should."

OBAMA TO ROLLING STONE: ROMNEY IS A 'BULLS--ER.' ABC's Jake Tapper reports: President Obama referred to his challenger Mitt Romney as a "bullsh**ter" in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, the latest salvo in a campaign that has seen its share of insults hurled from both sides. Passed on a message from the young daughter of an editor of the magazine, the president remarked that he "does very in that demographic. Ages six to 12? I'm a killer … You know, kids have good instincts. They look at the other guy and say, 'Well, that's a bullsh**ter, I can tell.'" Romney campaign spokesman Kevin Madden responded, saying, "President Obama is rattled and on the defensive. He's running on empty and has nothing left but attacks and insults. It's unfortunate he has to close the final days of the campaign this way."

'FIX THE DEBT': CEOS LAUNCH POLITICAL PUSH. The Christian Science Monitor's David Grant reports: "A dozen CEOs and business leaders rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange Thursday morning with a message for lawmakers in Washington: Come November, you're going to be hearing a lot more from corporate America about getting the nation's finances in order. The business executives were visiting the heart of global capitalism to kick off the more than 80-strong CEO Council of the Fix the Debt campaign. Fix the Debt, an offshoot of a Washington think tank, is committed to pushing Washington toward a deficit-cutting "grand bargain" to solidify America's finances for the next several decades."

OBAMA VOTES EARLY. ABC's Mary Bruce reports: After urging his supporters to vote early for weeks, President Obama has cast his own ballot, officially become the first sitting president to vote early in-person. The president made a quick stop in his hometown of Chicago this afternoon to visit his local polling site. Obama, visibly exhausted from his dizzying campaign schedule, chatted with election workers as he filled out his paperwork.

RYAN STILL SPENDING MILLIONS ON HIS CONGRESSIONAL RACE. ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports: "The GOP vice presidential nominee is spending about $2 million on television, radio and print ads to keep his House seat, Paul Ryan's congressional campaign manager Kevin Seifert confirms. The ads will run in the Milwaukee and Madison media markets, and the campaign just released a new one Wednesday making the total number of television ads at eight, less than two weeks before Election Day. They will release a ninth before voters go to the polls on Nov. 6, a congressional aide tells ABC News."

MEAT LOAF'S FIRST-EVER ENDORSEMENT: ROMNEY. The singer endorsed Mitt Romney onstage at an event in Defiance, Ohio., and ABC's Emily Friedman reports that it was Mr. Loaf's first-ever political endorsement: "I have never been in any political agenda in my life, but I think that in 2012 this is the most important election in the history of the United States," Meat Loaf said in a black silk shirt with sparkly buttons down the front and sequined designs on the sleeves. "Storm clouds [have] come over the United States. There is thunderstorms over Europe. There are hail storms, and I mean major hail storms, in the Middle East."

OBAMA WRAPS UP TWO-DAY BLITZ. ABC's Devin Dwyer reports from Cleveland: "After 37 hours, 6,500 flight miles and six grassroots rallies that drew tens of thousands of supporters, President Obama's frenetic battleground-state blitz came to a close tonight with a rally on a small airport tarmac overlooking Lake Erie. 'This is the final stop on our 48-hour fly-around all across America. We've been going for two days straight,' a visibly tired but spirited Obama told a crowd of 12,000 after taking the stage under starry skies."

JOE BIDEN OP-ED: 'WE'LL CREATE JOBS, RESTORE SECURITY.' The vice president writes in the pages of USA Today: "President Obama has brought our economy back from the brink of collapse, our auto industry back to life, our heroes back from war, and our enemies to justice. … First, President Obama will help create a million new manufacturing jobs and double our exports so we sell more products around the world stamped 'Made in USA.' … Second, we'll cut our oil imports in half and make our cars and trucks go twice as far on a tank of gas … Third, to maintain the best workforce in the world, we'll recruit and train 100,000 math and science teachers … Fourth, we'll reduce our deficit in a balanced way … Fifth, after a decade of war, it's time to do some nation-building here at home."

FATHER OF SLAIN SEAL: OBAMA COULDN'T LOOK ME IN THE EYE. From The Weekly Standard's Daniel Halper: Charles Woods, the father of Tyrone Woods, who was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, reveals details of meeting Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton at the publically broadcast memorial service for the slain Americans at Andrews Air Force Base only days after the attack … '[H]e kind of just mumbled, you know, "I'm sorry." His face was looking at me, but his eyes were looking over my shoulder like he could not look me in the eye. And it was not a sincere, "I'm really sorry, you know, that your son died," but it was totally insincere, more of whining type, "I'm sorry."'"

MORE FROM WOODS: BIDEN BOISTEROUS, INAPPROPRIATE. The Blaze has more comments from Woods on the service at Andrews Air Force Base: "Woods said Biden came over to his family and asked in a 'loud and boisterous' voice, 'Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?' 'Are these the words of someone who is sorry?' said Woods." with a strong middle class."

RYAN COURTS OBAMA'S '08 SUPPORTERS IN VIRGINIA. ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports from Charlottesville, Va.: "When you think about November 6, Election Day, think about a person who you know who liked the hope and the change in 2008, who was inspired by that, but who now knows it's empty," Ryan, standing next to a large "Victory in Virginia" sign, urged the crowd. "Because let's also think about November the 7th. Lets think about the next morning … about what we're going to see."

BIDEN SPEAKS AT MCGOVERN PRAYER SERVICE. ABC's Arlette Saenz reports from Sioux Falls, S.D.: With twelve days left before election day, Vice President Joe Biden joined hundreds gathered at the First United Methodist Church in Sioux Falls, S.D. to pay respect to the late Sen. George McGovern. "Several of you said, 'How could you be here in the middle of a campaign?' Where I come from you ask, "How could you not be here for someone who's done so much?'" Biden said. Biden served alongside McGovern in the U.S. Senate from 1972 to 1980 and credited McGovern for inspiring him to run for his senate seat at the age of 29. "I admired him from the day I became aware of him through the day he died," Biden said.

RYAN MOCKS OBAMA AS MOVEON.ORG PLAYS UP MOURDOCK. ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports from Bristol, Va.: Campaigning in this crucial battleground state today, Paul Ryan called the Obama campaign's glossy magazine-style document a "slick new brochure." And when a supporter in the crowd called it a "comic book," Ryan was only too happy to repeat the description. The rally was on a hill outside a fibers factory, and the crowd was pumped up and reliably Republican. So even when a plane from the liberal group flew overhead dragging a message "Romney's GOP: Wrong on Rape and Women," the crowd barely took notice. It was a clear reference to the comments Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock made Tuesday night when he said a woman impregnated during rape was "God's plan."

'HORSES AND BAYONETS': FODDER IN VIRGINIA SENATE RACE. ABC's Abby D. Phillip reports: "It started as a snarky comeback when President Obama knocked down Mitt Romney for arguing that the Navy is now smaller than any time since 1917 with the reminder that the military has fewer "horses and bayonets." But the punch line quickly became real campaign fodder in the razor-thin Senate race between Tim Kaine, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, and George Allen, a former Republican senator. … Within hours of the debate, Allen's campaign released a statement ripping Obama's 'disregard' for the potential loss of '200,000 Virginia jobs.' And in a campaign ad less than two days after his comments, Allen, 60, tied Kaine to Obama, suggesting that the two Democrats support draconian cuts to the military."

JOE LIEBERMAN OP-ED: NO MORE DEFENSE CUTS. The Connecticut senator writes in the Wall Street Journal: "There is broad consensus that when Congress reconvenes in November, it must act to prevent sequestration. That is the $500 billion cut in defense spending scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 2, which all parties agree would be catastrophic for our national security. But as we contemplate proposals to ward off sequestration, we must not lose sight of a larger truth: Our armed forces are already under unprecedented strain because of the $487 billion in defense cuts imposed by the Budget Control Act last year. This budget reduction is delaying critical modernization programs and forcing our military to slash manpower and force structure."

OBAMA CITES MOURDOCK ON THE TRAIL. ABC's Mary Bruce reports from Tampa, Fla.: Although he did not call him out by name, today marked the first time the president has referenced on the campaign trail Mourdock's remark that pregnancies resulting from rape are "something God intended." "As we saw again this week, I don't think any politician in Washington, most of whom are male, should be making health care decisions for women," Obama told 8,500 Floridians at his second campaign rally in this key battleground state this week.


@ DavidMDrucker : RT @washingtonpost U.S. economy grew at 2 percent annual rate during 3rd quarter

@Timodc : Some countries w/ 2% GDP growth: Samoa, El Salvador, New Zealand, Antigua and Barbuda

@JohnJHarwood : How do polls ID "likely voters" differently? Diff weights to: past voting, intent to vote, interest in election, enthusiasm for candidate

@mattbeynon : Rick Santorum will headline Lancaster County, PA rally for Mitt Romney …

@ChuckGrassley : Fred and I hit a deer on hiway 136 south of Dyersville. After I pulled fender rubbing on tire we continued to farm. Assume deer dead

@PolsonKanneth : Need your political fix at 3:am? Well, @RickKlein is awake & yes, that's a vacuum behind him! #CasaKlein, #YourVote.


with ABC's Josh Haskell (@HaskellBuzz)

-President Obama has no campaign events scheduled and will tape three interviews at the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama is on the trail out west speaking at a grassroots event in Las Vegas, NV.

-Mitt Romney is on the trail in Ames, IA holding an event at Kinzler Construction Services. Romney travels to North Canton, OH in the evening to hold a rally with Paul Ryan. Romney surrogate John McCain will be out campaigning in Virginia holding events in Fairfax and Woodbridge.

-Ann Romney has a campaign stop for her husband in Virginia Beach, VA at Back Bay Gourmet.

-Dr. Jill Biden is out on the trail in New Hampshire making four stops in Concord, Berlin, Conway, and Laconia.

Check out The Note's Futures Calendar :