Mitt Romney's presidential campaign and leading Republican strategists are blaming Hurricane Sandy for their possible defeat on Tuesday. CBS News reports that Romney's campaign claims that the storm "stalled" heir much-hyped "momentum":
Campaign sources concede superstorm Sandy stalled Romney's momentum. For eight straight days, polls showed him picking up support. The campaign's internal polling, which is using different turnout models than most public polls, had him on solid ground in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Iowa. He had a slight lead or was tied in Ohio, New Hampshire and Wisconsin and was in striking distance in Pennsylvania, a state Republicans hadn't won since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
But then came something very big: a natural disaster that left a path of death and destruction on the East Coast. Suddenly, there was little talk about small things. Those leads in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Iowa still hold in the internal polls, campaign sources say, but Romney's movement flattened out or, as the campaign likes to say, "paused." Nevada is now off the table.
Romney certainly "gained ground in the polls in the week or two after the Denver debate" but hasn't since mid-October, reports Nate Silver. And Nevada was never "on" the table. Only "a single poll all year has found Romney leading in Nevada," adds the New York Times' FiveThirtyEight. Cute spin, though.
"If you hadn’t had the storm, there would have been more of a chance for the Romney campaign to talk about the deficit, the debt, the economy. There was a stutter in the campaign. When you have attention drawn away to somewhere else, to something else, it is not to his [Romney's] advantage,” Rove [said]. "Obama has temporarily been a bipartisan figure this week. He has been the comforter-in-chief and that helps."
Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is also pushing the meme. "The hurricane is what broke Romney's momentum. I don't think there is any question about it," the former Republican National Chairman said on CNN's State of the Union.
Spin, spin baby.