IT'S ALWAYS THE ECONOMY, STUPIDBY DANIEL HENNINGERWALL STREET JOURNALWhat Mr. Obama won't say is that the financial crisis resulted from the implosion of a housing market transformed into a toxic landfill by Congress, regulators, Fannie, Freddie and mortgage packagers. The Bush presidency was a bystander. Also left unsaid by Mr. Obama but free for the telling by Mr. Romney is that as the U.S. unemployment rate hit 9.5% in June 2009 and a shocked public was looking for a response, the new president introduced the Affordable Care Act. ...For the next nine months, as unemployment ran between 9.5% and 10%, Congress at Mr. Obama's insistence worked on his health-care legislation. When Mr. Obama signed the bill into law in March 2010, the unemployment rate was 9.8%. If an opponent wanted to describe this in partisan terms, he might say that the president legislated an entitlement dream while the economy burned.
KNOWNS, UNKNOWNS AND UNKNOWABLESBY CHARLES M. BLOWNEW YORK TIMESMitt Romney is running out of time. His path to victory is growing narrow and dark. There are only 40 days until Election Day. Early voting has begun or is about to begin in several states and new polls show Romney at or near double-digit deficits in the all-important swing states of Ohio and Florida. The Romney campaign is buckling under the weight of some big mistakes: A strategy that assumed that an empty suit could make empty promises and that an electorate full of voters consumed by anger at the president wouldn’t notice. A candidate who keeps his foot so deep in his mouth that his toes can tickle his cerebellum. A nominating convention that fell flat. Romney picking a vice presidential candidate from the far right as he callously sought to siphon far-right enthusiasm without embracing far-right dogma. The fat lady is waiting in the wings and she’s gargling with honey and lemon juice.
THE GOP'S REAL PROBLEMBY FAREED ZAKARIAWASHINGTON POSTAs President Obama has surged in the polls, Republicans have been quick to identify the problem: Mitt Romney. ...The problem is not Romney but the new Republican Party. Given the direction in which it has moved and the pressures from its most extreme — yet most powerful — elements, any nominee would face the same challenge: Can you be a serious candidate for the general election while not outraging the Republican base? ... The Republican Party has imposed a new kind of political correctness on its leaders. They cannot speak certain words (taxes) or speculate about certain ideas (immigration amnesty) because these are forbidden. Romney has tried to run a campaign while not running afoul of his party’s strictures. As a result, he has twisted himself into a pretzel, speaking vacuously, avoiding specifics and refusing to provide any serious plans for the most important issues of the day.END OF THE REFERENDUMBY RICH LOWRYPOLITICO...No miraculous intervention from the outside is going to save Romney. It all comes down to him. Romney is not a natural ideologue, nor — obviously — a natural backslapper. But he is a data-obsessed salesman. He should be pitching his program with all the zeal and airtight attention to detail of a presentation for a Bain Capital business deal. ... At this point, almost every day, every hour that Romney isn’t spelling out the programmatic differences between him and the president — and how they will affect people — is lost time. ... What Mitt Romney has to do is relatively easy. He has to make an unrelenting case for his program, and pitched particularly to the practical concerns of middle-class voters. He has to give the public compelling reasons to pick him in an election that will be a choice, not a referendum.