Romney Wobbles : Obama holding

Wednesday 26 September 2012 12.38

By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent

With less than 60 days to go to the Presidential election, the pundits are moving into overdrive as the opinion polls show little change on the pattern established over the last few months. Some are writing Romney off as a poor candidate with a confused and confusing message. But that is undoubtedly premature.

Mostly it is based on the speech (recorded without permission) of Mitt Romney discussing the 47% of people in America who pay no federal income taxes.

“Victims”, he called them, who were dependent on the federal government. It was an off-the-cuff comment, “inelegantly stated”, as he put it himself. But the commentators have had a field day. “He is out of touch”. “He despises half of Americans”. “He is not suitable for the Presidency”, they said.

Rather than row back, Mr Romney has doubled up on his bet by trying to explain what he meant to say. It has not ameliorated the situation. The polls show a mild setback for Mr Romney from this, but not an all-out disaster.

Meanwhile President Obama has been swanning around the country hitting hard. As an incumbent, he has huge natural advantages and he has been using them to the full. He has known he is the candidate for two years and has been planning meticulously for the campaign.

But there are many pitfalls ahead. His biggest drawback is the unemployment situation. At just over 8%, it is high by historical American standards. It is also very difficult for a sitting President to get re-elected with a number like that.

But the trajectory in the last couple of years has been gradually down. Not fast enough, most Americans would say! But it’s the direction that may be important.

The next figures are due out on October 5th, just two days after the candidates have their first joust in Denver Colorado. That promises to be a monumental week in this campaign. We’ll be in Denver to bring you all the best material.

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