Romney’s Edge: Moderate Mitt Takes Florida by Storm

Though Ohio is widely considered the make-or-break state this year, Mitt Romney will have a hard time winning the presidency without taking Florida and its 29 electoral votes. And right now his chances look pretty good.

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EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP / Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets supporters while holding a rally in Daytona Beach, Fla., Oct. 19, 2012.

A big reason John McCain lost Florida in 2008 was that his presidential campaign arrived there for the general election dressed in red when the invitation said purple. Florida, which has the nation’s largest cache of independent voters, tends to prefer more moderate presidential politics. But Senator McCain, with right-wing running mate Sarah Palin in tow—at one Florida rally she accused Democratic candidate Barack Obama of “working with terrorists”—blew into the peninsula after Labor Day that year with a strident conservative edge. It ignored the advice of Florida GOP leaders and even pushed women in Republican bastions like Sarasota County into Obama’s camp.

In 2012, Mitt Romney seems to have learned from McCain’s mistakes in the nation’s largest swing state—turning September poll deficits of as many as nine points in Florida into a slim but tenacious lead over President Obama. Romney sounded more conservative during most of this year’s Republican primaries. But he morphed back into The Pragmatic Massachusetts Governor during his triumphant first debate with President Obama on Oct. 3, and he’s been lavishing Moderate Mitt on the Sunshine State ever since, starting with an Oct. 5 rally in St. Petersburg, where he offered emotional personal anecdotes. Women voters there have warmed to his softer rhetoric on contraception and abortion, and even Florida’s non-Cuban Latinos, especially in the all-important I-4 Corridor between Tampa and Orlando, are listening to Romney’s promise to forge the comprehensive immigration reform that Obama pledged but has not delivered.

As a result, say campaign officials, those constituencies are focusing more on the economic issues that favor Romney, whose Florida momentum has alarmed the Obama campaign with less than two weeks to go before the Nov. 6 election. Absentee ballots for Romney, for example, so far look to outnumber those for Obama. “This is a very economically conscious state, and it’s been hit hard by home foreclosures, job losses and the President’s failed policies,” says Brett Doster, president of Front Line Strategies in Tallahassee and a senior Romney adviser in Florida. “It has more women entrepreneurs than most states, and the Hispanic unemployment rate in the I-4 Corridor is north of 16%. Romney clearly has more intensity going for him here now, not just with his base but in his outreach to independents as well.”

Romney, despite the help of Republican Senator Marco Rubio, has a tougher row to hoe with Florida’s non-Cuban Hispanics: Obama won 57% of Florida Latinos in 2008. But Romney’s gains with female voters there have been stunning. A Quinnipiac University/CBS/New York Times poll in late September had Obama ahead with Florida women by a 58%-to-39% margin; a new CNN/ORC International survey shows Romney narrowing that gender gulf to two points, 47% to 49% for Obama. That poll, taken just before the two candidates’ third and final debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., on Monday night, has Romney ahead of Obama in Florida, albeit by just one point, 49% to 48%—a statistical tie that evokes the disputed 2000 presidential election, which George W. Bush won thanks to a victory margin in Florida of a mere 537 votes.

Though Ohio is widely considered the make-or-break state this year, Romney will have a hard time winning the presidency without taking Florida and its 29 electoral votes. Right now his chances look surprisingly good. Although many of Florida’s large cohort of seniors may be wary of his voucher plan for Medicare, two major newspapers, the Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun-Sentinel, which backed Obama in 2008, have endorsed Romney. A big difference from 2008 is that national Republican forces are better clued in to the peninsula’s political realities. The hotly contested GOP primaries got Romney off to a slower start in Florida, which allowed Obama to spend millions putting boots on the ground and ads on the air defining Romney as a right-wing plutocrat. But Romney’s Florida director, Molly Donlin, has built an apparatus that shrewdly emphasizes the independent-rich I-4 Corridor—she planted the state campaign’s headquarters in Tampa, in fact, instead of Tallahassee—and has significantly beefed up the local volunteer army.

The Obama campaign should have expected the Florida race to tighten by this point—as presidential contests there invariably do. Though Obama in 2008 became the first northern Democrat to win the state since Franklin Roosevelt, he did it by only a 51%-to-48.5% margin. Still, he won 56% of Florida women and defeated McCain among Florida independents, who account for a fifth of the state’s electorate, by seven points. One of those independent supporters this time around is former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who bolted the Republican Party two years ago during his failed bid for the U.S. Senate.

Crist, whose 2008 advice to national Republican bosses not to throw so much red meat around Florida went largely unheeded—rather than emphasize environmentally sound offshore oil drilling, for example, they scampered around the state screaming “Drill, baby, drill!”—has endorsed Obama and is actively campaigning for him across Florida. Crist says he’s confident a final push by the President, whose economic stimulus plan he backed and has credited with helping Florida endure the earlier depths of the recession, will give him the state. “Florida is as purple a state as it gets,” says Crist, who some expect to join the Democratic Party and run for Governor in 2014. “In the end Florida voters won’t forget how extremist and ‘severely conservative’ Romney went in the primaries, no matter how much he tries to Etch-a-Sketch out of it now.”

A big question for Obama is whether he can afford to lose Florida, and if so, whether he should focus harder on Ohio. For the moment, though, he’s campaigning in Florida as if it means as much as Ohio does, a reminder of the mesmerizing hold the Sunshine State has on modern presidential candidates. Last weekend, Vice President Joe Biden told Obama campaign workers in Orlando, “[If] we win Florida, this is all history, man.” And history suggests both sides better keep their purple on.

79 comments
SandyRadcliffe
SandyRadcliffe

The nagging question is why, if Mr. Romney truly has the qualities that American voters want in their president, does he have to go to such great and questionable lengths to try to win the election.

During Romney's tenure as a Marriott director, the company repeatedly utilized complex tax-avoidance maneuvers, prompting at least two tangles with the Internal Revenue Service, records show. In 1994, while he headed the audit committee, Marriott used a tax shelter known to attorneys by its nickname: "Son of BOSS."http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-22/romney-as-auditing-chairman-saw-marriott-son-of-boss-tax-shelter-defy-irs.html

LET’S SEE: TAX CHEATRomney allegedly lied in a sworn testimony for his pal Tom to help reduce his net worth so that Maureen would not get a substantial amount in their divorce case.

LET’S SEE: PERJURERSources told TMZ that Romney stated in the divorce trial while sworn under oath that Tom's net worth was "overvalued," and referred to his friend Stemberg as an "overdreamer.

LET’S SEE: BULL SH@!!ERRomney's testimony affected Maureen's share in the divorce settlement and she ended up with less than she felt she deserved. Weeks after the divorce was finalized, Romney and Tom allegedly went to Goldman Sachs and cashed in their Staples stock and ended up with a fortune.

LET’S SEE: SWINDLERRomney's testimony speaks to his character.

LET’S SEE: CHARACTER - NONE

DK
DK

Basically Romney says whatever he thinks the crowd wants to hear and is getting away with it enough to stay in the race.  Sad comment on US voters and how too many would rather be coddled than told the truth or even go find it out for themselves.  If he wins, the country is going to be so sorry.

mydads1st
mydads1st

The nine states still in the mix and up for grabs includes Florida. Romney-Ryan are closely associated with Todd Akin, Roger Rivard, Rick Berg and Richard Mourdock when asked questions concerning women's reproductive rights. Women have been targeted and regulated to the bedroom by legislation across the land forcing them to undergo medical procedures without a doctors order. This is contrary to TEA party needs, wants or desires and outside of lesser government. It is not a governmental responsibility to regulate who, when, how, where or why a woman should cow down to a man's rules or regulation. Important! Yes, importance does matter when a woman is force-ably raped by man or men against her will. Rape is the deliberate force of domination on another person(female/male) using sex as the tool of domination, fear and intimidation! These men have sanctioned this thought processes of domination, fear and intimidation.

earldgrayjr
earldgrayjr

"Romney’s Edge: Moderate Mitt Takes Florida by Storm"

And a large number of people are to ignorant to see that his "change" happens every week, and they are being sold what they want to hear, by a man that is clearly willing to say whatever  he needs to to get elected...

Here IS PROOF...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZfXvFAeHVo

charleskaye
charleskaye

Everyone but the far left understands that we need a leader and one that can work with both sides to get things done in DC. That is why Romney is going to win. 

The ridonkulous claims made by BO and his mind-number followers are falling on deaf ears. The far left is like a broken record, constantly repeating the same pages form the dem playbook for the last 40 years.

We only have 11 more days to put up with BO and his socialist "dream" of turning the US into another Greece. Amateur hour will end on election day. The pretender-in-chief will lose by a landslide. It's another 1980 in the making.

ChasHolman
ChasHolman

The Governor said in his 'big speech' today 'I know what it takes to lead, I am a leader.How silly..The Governor has NOTHING to say to concerned women.The Governor has shown us time and time again what kind of leader he would be when the going get's tough.EVERY TIME there seems to be an issue that is 'hard', he avoids it like the plague.His mode of operation seems to be that if he just avoids anything 'tough' people just give up and move on to something else.That is not leadership, that is extremely weak and spineless.Mr Mourdock is a man Governor Romney ENDORSED this week for high office and will certainly oversee women's health legislation at some point and NOW Governor Romney has 'no comment'.'Gods Will' has NO place in the same sentiment as 'rape'. Not even in some abstract Lenny Bruce joke.My boy just returned in August from whatever it is they are still doing in Iraq, and we SEND kids overseas to combat extremism brought around by the 'Gods will' mentality. It has ZERO place here at home in the US Government.Governor Romney is a disaster, you can not like the President, but at least he takes stands and you know where he stands on stuff like this.The Governor is acting like a pathetically weak and spineless chicken. Expect for Governor Romney to continue him to exhibit ZERO leadership when it is needed.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Here is the real truth that needs to be discussed. 4 year ago the Republican party made a cynical and calculated decision that if they do everything possible to hamper the economic initiatives enacted by Obama, that the economy would still be weak enough to allow them to regain control. In other words they put their loyalty to their party ahead of the countries best interests. Why on earth would be want to reward any party for this type of behavior?

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

Oh, by the way, that storm is a big nothing here in Florida. Just like the so called Romney edge.

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

If my fellow Floridians err and vote for Romney and transform Florida from a blue state to a red state, it would be surprising. So glad that Ohio voters seem to understand that President Obama is the better candidate.

FOludele
FOludele

I also wonder why Time Magazine puts in coded pro-Romney titles on their articles. Looks harmless, but between the lines, it's clear.

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

"But Romney’s Florida director, Molly Donlin, has built an apparatus thatshrewdly emphasizes the independent-rich I-4 Corridor—she planted thestate campaign’s headquarters in Tampa, in fact, instead ofTallahassee—and has significantly beefed up the local volunteer army."

Do not underestimate the young voters. For example, be aware of the power of Jon Stewart Daily Show and the Colbert Report for the huge college populations in Florida.This smart smiling blonde in Florida has seen tons of young voters watching those shows and laughing, laughing, tweeting, texting, facebooking, talking... and now VOTING.. The stuff goes viral! Look at the size of the Colleges/Universities in Florida.Huge populations! Consider that many young female voters at these colleges are disgusted by the crazy comments about rape within the GOP party. This is far from decided.

TomKulaga
TomKulaga

Floridians are stoopid. They hate their Republican leadership yet they continue to vote for them. They don't want to lose social security and medicare as they know it today, yet no matter how many times Mitt and Ryan say they got to change it, Floridians will vote for R&R.  Ryan can't win Wisconsin, Mitt can't win Massachusetts, yet he will win Florida, go figure. Florida has a million or so retirees from Michigan and New York. Michigan and New York will go Obama, but those retirees will vote for R&R. As I said once people get in Florida they nget stoopid.

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

It is stunning to me to see how little the concept of personal integrity means to the Florida electorate.

candy
candy

I am not a voter in this country, and I am with no party either but as an outsider living in the US for a decade now, I feel it's plain dumb and stupid not to see Mitt Romney as a person with no character or personality. He is a mere politician who is opportunist, who does not care about real people, who has no empathy for a layman, who can not stick to what he says and is shamelessly changing his stand every now and then. How can people not see the genuineness of Obama, the guy just oozes honesty in his words and action. Just remember in what condition he got the country, even if he has not been able to completely turn around the economy, he has worked hard to achieve that and we are seeing results slowly. And I am saying this as a person who would be actually adversely affected by some of Obama's policies but still if I had voting powers I would choose an honest person any day over a person with no credibility. Genuine politicians are not only hard but impossible to find these days.

carl.guyer
carl.guyer

Has anyone if Florida done an article on the historic loss Mitt is going to suffer in Massachusetts?  This is the state that elected him Governor once.   He did not run for reelection for good reason.  His hand picked successor was beaten badly.  I am amazed nobody has picked up on this.

Bak1
Bak1

He is NOT moderate Mitt, he is etch-a-sketchy Mitt, the same one who would not release his tax records because he does not trust the American people to read and understand them.  The same Mitt who picked Ryan, who will work with Ryan and Tea Party to cut taxes on wealthy so that Medicaid and Medicare will be cut too.  The same Mitt who stands by Mourdock running for Senate in Indiana who says abortion is wrong, even in case of rape.

He is weather-vane Mitt, sticking his wet finger up in the air, and saying what he hopes will get him elected.  But he has no backbone, and changes as the wind blows.  

America should not trust such a tricky, shifty person to be President.  It would be like America re-electing Republican Nixon yet again.  I say, never again.

Flsenior
Flsenior

We Floridians were bedazzled once by Obama.....we learned our lesson.

jilli.brown
jilli.brown

@DK And sadly, the florida electorate has not shown even a moderate degree of intelligence when it comes to voting.  Heck, they elected a felon as their governor - a medicare fraud purveyor.  It kind of seems like shooting fish in a barrel, with a willing population of dupes.

Phillrr
Phillrr

@DK It seems so blindingly obvious to we observers from outside of your country...how is it possible that so many fine American citizens are so deluded that they can't see what we can? While it is your country, America's role in the world is so important that we Canadians and many other nationalities are all as concerned as you are with the outcome of the election...God Bless America and help it to avoid another experience such as the one with which George Bush inflicted upon you...and on the rest of we world citizens as well.

Danyz
Danyz

A Romney win would be a perfect storm in the making...

Curious_Quiche
Curious_Quiche

@charleskaye Are you having some sort of contest to see how many moronic Republican election memes you can fit into a comment? If you had thrown in a Kenya reference, you might have gotten double points. Seriously though, you can't be this thick. The Romney campaign has crapped the bed on this one and it's obvious to everyone but the teadiots that the President is going to stay the President.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@charleskaye  When one party honors a pledge to an outside party in this case Grover Nordquist, more than they do their pledge to the country that elected them they must be made to pay for it. If we allow the Republicans who deliberately sabotaged the recovery efforts to skate away unpunished it sets a dangerous precedent for both parties moving forward.

dunedweller
dunedweller

@mantisdragon91 that cannot be said enough. behavior breeds behavior and if their actions are rewarded they will most certainly be repeated

TeaSucks
TeaSucks

@FOludele, That's exactly what I felt.  Time magazine is stumping for Romney.  Many of hte folks in the mainstream media as well.  Realclearpolitics is posting all Romney news and even NBCNEWS.COM.   It looks like the media is feeling that Romney is winning and wants to coddle the flip-flopper and man who would do and say anything to assume the throne.

TeaSucks
TeaSucks

@TomKulaga , you are right. That's exactly how I felt. These old people (white and Jewish) overtly hate Obama because of race or they were told that he is going to redistribute the wealth (which is totally wrong), he is not too supportive of Israel (wrong again). For all these reasons they haven't seen the good honest decent President that Obama has been and a one who will make our country shine as the beacon of innovation, growth (industrial and high tech growth), and above all make rich play by the same rules as the Common man. These Floridians are pouring oil on themselves and lighting with fire, for they will soon realize that Romney is a wolf in sheep's clothing and he is beholden to the rich billionaires.  Floridians, a vote for Obama is a vote for better future for all of us.

filmnoia
filmnoia

I don't know that it's being stupid so much as just being old and gullible. The typical Florida geezeris the type who gets hoodwinked by home contractors  and finacial advisors. Someone in their families has to look out for them, because they are dragging the whole state down.

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

@AveryHaqq Mitt Romney is a surprise package. You never know what he will say next. 

Right now he is a Trojan Horse. He is acting as a Moderate, when in fact, he has been saying things that are severely conservative for some time. Shameful!

JeffBurdick
JeffBurdick

@carl.guyer Great point. It's shades of Al Gore who didn't win his home state of Tennessee which would have given him the presidency as well.

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

@Bak1 . Would Mitt Romney start a War in Iran since his financial backers are war profiteering companies? What he says about war with Iran shifts and bends and stretches and changes and morphs etc etc etc

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

@Flsenior 

Flsenior- did you learn anything during those Bush years? The unaffordable war in Iraq was promoted by the same foreign policy advisers who are now dispensing advice to Mitt Romney. Does that sound like a good thing? Vote for Romney if you liked Bush.Romney's rhetoric about Iran has been so inconsistent that it should make voters tremble in fear.

Big pockets of Obama Supporters are here in Florida. Lots of retired female voters who were the original Women's Libbers and all they talk about is how important it is to make sure Obama is elected so that the Supreme Court selection will be just.There is a pretty darn big  population of people whomight be classified by Romney as "the 47%" and they are deeply offended by Romney's comments insinuating we are a nation of moochers. Latinos here are aware of Romney's always shifting policies and know he is not to be trusted.  Side note: Many people in Florida were disappointed when Ron Paul didn't get picked to be the nominee and they defected to the much more reasonable Obama camp. Floridians are not bedazzled by Romney.

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

@filmnoia You are correct. The misleading political ads that Romney and Ryan have paid for here in Florida could EASILY trick the seniors. Are they aware what the Ryan plan  will do to Medicare? Do they realize? Do they understand that some of the stuff in the ads is simply and unambiguously FALSE? Additionally -It would be interesting to analyze the "Snowbird" vote. People stay here in Florida in Florida when it snows elsewhere. I don't know if they vote here or get absentee ballots. It shows Romney's character when he deliberately misleads the most vulnerable of citizens. (Is it okay in the Mormon religion to do this? google "Lying for the Lord Mormons" )

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

@bobbintb @CerebralSmartie @filmnoia You are correct. I've known some very noble and sincere Mormons. I worked for a company whose leaders were in the Mormon church and I saw no evidence of that "lying for the lord" stuff. 

bobbintb
bobbintb

@CerebralSmartie @filmnoia I've been a Mormon all my life (not always a good one, I'll admit) and been to Mormon churches all over the world. This is the first I've heard about "Lying for the Lord". It's not a thing. If it is, it's an individual thing. You will find deceitful and dishonest people in any religion. Please don't lump all of us in the same category as Romney. That man makes us all look bad.