He did unveil one new wrinkle — that taxpayers might have a pot of deductions (“I’ll pick a number — $25,000”) to allocate to mortgage interest, health insurance, charity, etc. But he’d have been better off explaining how it might apply to a family making, say, $50,000 a year.
The punditocracy made all too much of Romney’s failure to nail Obama on the administration’s shifting explanations of the terrorist attack that killed our ambassador to Libya on Sept. 11.
Romney will have every opportunity to explore that further in the upcoming foreign policy debate — and also to explode Obama’s assertion that he would never play politics with foreign policy. Think of the leaks of classified information on the Osama bin Laden raid, drone attacks and computer viruses afflicting the Iranian nuclear program — all obviously designed to help Obama politically.
But moderator Bob Schieffer will make a mistake if his first question is about Libya. It ought to be about the impending world recession and the possibility of ruinous currency wars — all laid out in a frightening op-ed by David Smick in the Washington Post on Wednesday.
(Smick, once chief of staff to GOP Rep. Jack Kemp of New York is now a successful investor, editor of International Economy magazine and author of “The World Is Curved,” ought to be on Romney’s short list for secretary of the Treasury.)
Contrary to the oddsmakers, I think this is a 50-50 race because national polls show a near dead heat and because, even if Obama leads in most of the swing states, his margins are shrinking by the day.
The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls has Romney up by 1 point — meaning, a tie — but the Gallup seven-day tracking poll shows Romney up by 7 points among likely voters. Granted, this does not account for reactions to the second debate.
Assigning electoral votes to the candidate who’s ahead in state polls, Real Clear Politics gives Obama 294, which is 23 more than he needs to win. But Romney has moved ahead in polls in Colorado, North Carolina and Florida.
And, since the first debate, he’s moved up 11 points in New Hampshire and 4 points in Virginia, now virtual ties, and almost 4 points in crucial Ohio, where Obama now leads by only 2.4 percent. Iowa and Wisconsin are also in play.
So, bottom line, legally you can’t place a bet in Las Vegas on the outcome of this election, but if you did so in London, you might just make a pile.