NYT: Pennsylvania In Play - Tilting Romney

Discussion in 'Politics' started by pspr, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. pspr


    First there was quiet. Then came the “super PACs.” Now the candidate is on his way.

    In a striking last-minute shift, the Romney campaign has decided to invest its most precious resource — the candidate’s time — in a serious play to win Pennsylvania.

    Mr. Romney’s appearance here on Sunday could be a crafty political move to seriously undercut President Obama, or it could be a sign of desperation. Either way, his visit represents the biggest jolt yet in a state that was until recently largely ignored in the race for the White House.

    Over the last several days, with polls showing Mr. Obama’s edge in the state narrowing, Republicans have sprung into action and forced the Democrats to spend resources here that could have gone toward more competitive battleground states.

    Conservative super PACs dusted off old advertisements that had not been shown in weeks and shipped them to local television stations from Scranton to Pittsburgh. They ordered millions of dollars in airtime.

    And overnight the race here became the most expensive test yet of whether Republicans and their armies of cash-flush outside groups could unsettle the race at the last minute.

    The super PACs helped create an opening that paved the way for the Romney campaign to start making its move. The campaign has already invested $1 million in television advertising across the state, and on Thursday it bolstered that effort even further with a new round of commercials that will ensure a heavy and continuous presence through Election Day.

    This came as the Republican National Committee made one of its largest commitments of the race so far, dropping $2.5 million into the state.

    Forced to respond, the Obama campaign has put more than $1.5 million into an ad campaign here and is planning even more. Democrats are saying that the race is much closer than they would have guessed just a week ago.

    “It’s a little tighter than I would have expected,” said Jef Pollock, a pollster for Priorities U.S.A. Action, a Democratic super PAC. “But the question is whether this is just the natural tightening that’s going to happen.”

    Pennsylvania has voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in every election for the last 20 years. Independent pollsters have called it the Republicans’ white whale. Indeed, polls show Mr. Obama ahead, albeit by a shrinking margin. And his senior political strategist, David Axelrod, even joked this week that he would shave off his mustache of 40 years if they lose here.

    But there is a tangible sense — seen in Romney yard signs on the expansive lawns of homes in the well-heeled suburbs, and heard in the excited voices of Republican mothers who make phone calls to voters in their spare time — that the race is tilting toward Mr. Romney.

    If ever there were a place where a last-ditch torrent of money could move the needle, this is it.