When Mitt Romney yesterday, through his victory in the Texas republican primary, reached the required 1,144 delegates to capture the Republican nomination at the convention in Tampa at the end of August, it was a victory without a victory speech, without fanfares and jubilation. He had defeated Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and all the rest after a hard and long campaign. And it was historic – the first Mormon ever to become one of the two major political parties’ presidential candidate.
One would think that to be worth celebrating, but it didn’t happen because Romney’s campaign had somehow, inexplicably and clumsily, planned it so that Romney was not even in Texas yesterday but at a fundraiser with multi-millionaire Donald Trump at his hotel in Las Vegas.
A more stupid strategy is hard to imagine, for it was Trump who got the attention, not Romney, by continuing to express his doubts that Obama was not born in the United States. Many questioned why Romney is even associating with Trump, now a leading spokesman for the totally discredited “birther” movement. Leading conservative columnist George Will was not pleased: who will vote for Romney because he is seen with Trump, this “bloviating ignoramus.”
Good question. This association, for someone who needs to make substantial inroads among independent voters to have a chance to win, can’t be conducive to that effort, and the Obama campaign will surely use this against Romney in the remaining five months to November 6.
Today, the race is even between the two candidates. Obama leads by an average of two percentage points over Romney and, according to Real Clear Politics, by 243 electoral votes to 170 for Romney. 270 are needed to win and the final victory depends on the 125 electoral votes in ten swing states, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. In 2008, Obama lost in only of these ten states, Arizona and Missouri.