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All polls included, less smoothing, from Huffington Post's

Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt.  Sad and pathetic.
@Reince via Twitter for iPhone

Gail Collins:

Mitt’s Major Meltdown

It didn’t seem to be a lot to ask, but when the crisis in the Middle East flared up, Romney turned out to have no restraining inner core. All the uneasy feelings you got when he went to London and dissed the Olympic organizers can now come into full bloom. Feel free to worry about anything. That he’d declare war on Malta. Lock himself in a nuclear missile silo and refuse to come out until there’s a tax cut. Hand the country over to space aliens.

Ross Douthat makes an obvious point:
Like Kurtz and Hinderaker, I think there are very interesting conversations to be had about conservatism’s inherent disadvantages in a welfare-state society with a liberal-tilting cultural establishment. But before we lose ourselves in sociology and poli-sci, it’s worth looking yet again at the most obvious explanation for Republican underperformance: the recent presidency of George W. Bush.
But before he makes that point, he feels obligated to start the discussion with insisting
So no, President Obama’s convention bounce has not – repeat, has not — sealed the election for the Democrats.
He's right. OTOH, Romney's mishandling of the Libyan violence and exposure of his foreign policy incompetence has.


The gunfire at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, had barely ceased when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney seriously mischaracterized what had happened in a statement accusing President Barack Obama of “disgraceful” handling of violence there and at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

Can't believe how the media made a foreign policy veteran like Mitt Romney look like a bumbling neophyte.  Diabolical, really.
@SimonMaloy via TweetCaster for Android

Noam Scheiber:
The adviser has no direct, inside knowledge of the campaign’s thinking on this matter. But he does have a good read on Romney--a man with a healthy sense of pride, and who's already invested in the idea of Obama as an appeaser. It was the only plausible explanation the adviser could think of for how “they stepped in it,” in his words. “I always thought it was a one-two punch [by the Obama campaign],” the adviser continued. “Punch one was Thursday night. Punch two would be in the foreign policy debate. To cast Romney as naïf, an empty suit on foreign policy, and tie him to Bush—as a puppet of the bow-tied hawks of the Bush administration. … This intervening event was gravy.”
Bill Clinton's endorsement of Bill Nelson: "He is smart and he is sane, which is saying something these days."
@reidepstein via TweetDeck

Rick Ungar (Forbes):
Is this really how leadership works?

A leader waits until all the facts are available and the impact of one’s words can be more fully assessed. In speaking out before he was fully aware of the situation on the ground, Governor Romney chose the path of the impulsive politician rather that the road taken by a measured leader—and all in the quest of political gain.

Are you better off than you were ONE year ago? Yes 44% / No 39% (Fox News Poll, LV, 9/9-11)
@pollreport via web

I asked a nationally representative sample of adults if they had heard about Obama's "announcement" about welfare: 1 out of 3 respondents (31%) said they had heard and, of these, almost half (47%) had said that they thought it was a true story. So, if we believe that voters are against "gutting" the work requirement (which the Romney campaign clearly believes), then Romney has effectively conveyed this message about Obama gutting welfare to about 15% of voters.

However, once we look a little closer at these survey responses, we can see that if these ads are effective, it is most likely not because the ads are changing opinion, but rather because they are tapping into opinions that voters already hold - in this case opinions that are squarely rooted in attitudes about race.

If I was Mitt Romney, I would release more tax returns today. I mean, why not?
@TheFix via Echofon

Mark Salter (RCP):
I understand the Romney campaign is under pressure from some Republicans to toughen its attacks on the president. Four years ago, the McCain campaign was regularly urged to do the same, while at the same time we were unfairly accused by more than a few Democrats and many in the press of inflaming race-based opposition to our opponent. I’m sympathetic to Romney’s predicament.

But this is hardly the issue or the moment to demonstrate a greater resolve to take the fight to the president. Four good Americans, brave and true, have just died in service to their country. They were killed because some of the Libyans who fought a civil war for freedom, or cynically pretended freedom was their cause, do not really approve or understand freedom’s values. Nothing said or done by the president or anyone in the U.S. government is responsible for the violence that led to their deaths.

Mitt Romney’s response to the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Cairo and a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya has gotten a negative reception from numerous Republicans — some anonymous, some not.
WaPo editorial board:
His statements on the embassy attacks are a discredit to his campaign.
The Romney campaign drew fire on Wednesday morning for issuing a blistering statement condemning the American embassy in Egypt for speaking against an incendiary anti-Muslim film, even though the embassy made the statement before any attacks had taken place. NBC's Chuck Todd, for instance, called the statement "irresponsible" and a "bad mistake." ABC's Jake Tapper said that Romney's attack "does not stand up to simple chronology."
Steve Schmidt, senior campaign strategist to Sen. John McCain in McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, told CBS News Wednesday that Romney's "comments were a big mistake, and the decision to double down on them was an even bigger mistake."  

"There are legitimate criticisms to be made but you foreclose on your ability to make them when you try to score easy political points," he said. "And the American people, when the country is attacked, whether they're a Republican or Democrat or independent, want to see leaders who have measured responses, not leaders whose first instinct is to try to score political points."

Jennifer Rubin:
If Romney wanted to sound more presidential than the president, he succeeded.
You can't make it up. You don't need to. We have Jennifer.

The fact that anyone pays Dan Senor for his foreign policy advice is a testament to failing up and a strong indictment of meritocracy.
@SimonMaloy via web

If you supported the Iraq War, your foreign policy chops don't exist, and your defense of Mitt Romney is irrelevant.

Charles Blow:

The Romney camp should learn a lesson from journalists: wait until you have the facts. It’s better to be second and right than first and wrong. Knee-jerk reactions can make you look like a jerk.

But after offending the British on his Olympics trip and labeling Russia our “No. 1 geopolitical foe,” Mitt was already well on his way to proving that he is a diplomatic disaster.  This week the Russian president,  Vladimir Putin thanked Romney for the label, saying that it had helped Russia because it had “proven the correctness of our approach to missile defense problems.”

Yeah, thanks Mitt.

Dana Milbank:
NBC News reported on Tuesday morning that Mitt Romney’s campaign was “throwing the kitchen sink” at President Obama: With prospects fading, the Republican challenger was trying any and all lines of attack to see what might stick.

But the problem with throwing the kitchen sink is you might break a pipe — and then you’ve got a real mess.

The Romney campaign has the look and tone of a desperate loser. The damage control he attempted yesterday just made it worse. Your move, Mitt.

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