DEMOCRATS AT THE DEEP END
NEW YORK TIMES
You have to calm down, Democrats. Romney hasn’t turned into some new supercandidate. You were just underestimating him during September. He’s the same old Mitt. This week in Des Moines, he told an editorial board that he doesn’t have any plans for pushing anti-abortion bills if he’s elected. ...Meanwhile, back at headquarters, his spokeswoman was assuring National Review that he “would, of course, support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.” Maybe this will come up in the vice-presidential debate. Do you remember how well Joe Biden did against Sarah Palin? Things haven’t really gone off the deep end for the Obama campaign. They’ve gone back to normal. You knew that the Obama-is-going-to-win-by-10-points euphoria wasn’t going to last.
CHARLES M. BLOW
NEW YORK TIMES
Romney’s post-debate bounce essentially wiped out Obama’s post-convention bounce so we’re pretty much back to where we started: a tight race in which the president holds a narrow lead (when all polls are taken together), but also one in which he is still highly favored to win the electoral college.Those numbers could change, but they haven’t yet. I can understand a certain amount of unease in the Obama-supporting public in general, but within the left-leaning press it’s inexcusable. Only the laziest political commentators could look at the current state of play and see doom for Obama.
REPUBLICANS' SECURITY LAPSE
The purpose of Wednesday’s hearing of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee was to examine security lapses that led to the killing in Benghazi last month of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others. But in doing so, the lawmakers reminded us why “congressional intelligence” is an oxymoron. ... Republicans were aiming to embarrass the Obama administration over State Department security lapses. But they inadvertently caused a different picture to emerge than the one that has been publicly known: that the victims may have been let down not by the State Department but by the CIA. If the CIA was playing such a major role in these events, which was the unmistakable impression left by Wednesday’s hearing, having a televised probe of the matter was absurd.
BOTCHED IN BENGHAZI
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa has forced the Administration to start to answer for this stunning and deadly assault on U.S. sovereign soil in Libya, but a lot of questions demand further investigation. Were warnings of an imminent threat ignored? Was incompetence or a systemic failure to blame for the security lapse? The most immediate question concerns the Administration's response, and this is where electoral politics deserves to come in. Ms. Rice has defended her false and misleading statements by saying she was reading off a script prepared by U.S. intelligence—apparently a script not shared with the State Department she formally reports to. It'd be instructive to know who provided her this script, and whether or not she spoke to White House political aide David Plouffe or the Chicago campaign office as she prepared for her Sunday TV show appearances on September 16.
BUMP OR CHANGE?
Did last Wednesday’s debate give Romney a bump or did it fundamentally change the race? A bump will likely self-correct and probably quickly. A change in voter perceptions of Romney is obviously a different matter. That largely depends on whether last Wednesday was more about Romney’s or Obama’s performance. Specifically, did middle to lower-middle, blue-ish-collar voters, who had decided Romney didn’t like them, change their minds or did they simply see an Obama performance that reminded them of all the doubts they’ve had about him for the last four years? ... Anecdotally it feels like Romney may have convinced a lot of those voters that he doesn’t hate them and he’s up to the job. Or maybe they just saw their lingering doubts about Obama acted out live. I can’t tell from the polling yet, but I’m certain both campaigns are vigorously looking for the answer to that question right now.