As soon as Mother Jones broke the video of GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s now-infamous “47% percent” statement, liberal leaning Facebook and Twitter streams were filled with snarky comments calling the election all but over.
But it isn’t.
Granted, it’s easy to have a strong gut reaction to statements Romney made at a $50,000 a plate private fundraiser smearing Obama supporters as people who don’t pay taxes and rely on government handouts.
Mitt Romney should just talk to an empty chair this morning. That way he can't offend anyone. #RomneyEncore
Barack Obama's best asset in this campaign is Mitt Romney's mouth. #RomneyEncore
Comedian Andy Borowitz offers a more “elegantly stated” satire in The New Yorker:
“In what his campaign described today as a bold strategy to insure victory in the Presidential contest, Republican nominee Mitt Romney will undergo a procedure to have his mouth wired shut until Tuesday, November 6th.”
But there are still 49 days until we go to the polls. While President Obama leads by a razor thin margin -- NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released today shows the President pulling ahead with a five-percent lead and a USA Today/Gallup Poll reports a one-percent advantage -- it’s too early for Democrats to say the race is over, or to even get smug. When the laughter -- and outrage -- over Romney’s gaffes dies down, the Democrats need to keep their eyes on the prize.
After all, foot in the mouth statements happen to almost every politician. Conservative pundits point out that four years ago, then-candidate Barack Obama made a comment painting rural Americans in states like Pennsylvania with the broad brush of “clinging to guns or religion”. And Obama managed to bounce back from that statement, not only to win the state of Pennsylvania, but the entire country.
In a campaign season during which undecided or moderate voters have said time and time again that political discussions are becoming more and more contentious, divisive statements are fracturing social media circles – as well as real-life friendships -- Democratic supporters need to focus not just on what Romney's doing wrong, but what the Obama administration is doing right.
Politico credits the Obama campaign's effectiveness to a combination of skills and attributes, ability to maintain a unique connection with voters as the President who broke racial barriers and have credibility among a significant portion of voters that he is not to blame for the recession.
But President Obama needs to watch his back. The Romney campaign is outspending the Obama campaign in advertising, and apart from the official campaigns, the GOP has nearly four times as much outside campaign funding than the Dems. And as Democratic Underground points out, dimming prospects for Republicans to win the Oval Office may also cause conservatives to channel more of their campaign money and efforts into winning seats in Congress, seats that Democrats also badly want to win back into their control.
Mitt Romney may have shot himself in the foot with his 47% comment, but the Democrats still need 51% to keep the White House.
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