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Democrats have demagogued TEA Party forever, characterizing them as far-outside-the-mainstream. Thanks to the TEA Party movement, a new generation of potential conservative superstars is rising up that will change the face of the GOP. One of those potential conservative superstars is Erika Harold. Reading Ms. Harold’s Issues Page is a breath of fresh air. On taxes and regulation:

In an effort to stem the rise of burdensome regulations, I will support efforts to narrow the scope of the powers delegated to administrative agencies. Additionally, I will support tax reform policies aimed at simplifying the tax code.

On the Constitution:

One of the hallmarks of our democratic system of governance is the respect for individual liberties and the understanding that these enshrined freedoms serve as proper limits on governmental power. Accordingly, I will oppose efforts to abridge the rights enumerated in our Constitution. Drawing upon my experience as a lawyer advising faith-based institutions, I will champion the First Amendment rights to the free exercise of religion and the freedom of association. I also will support the law-abiding citizen’s Second Amendment right to bear arms and will oppose efforts to encroach upon that right.

Sign me up. I’m a fan. In addition to being a Constitution-loving lawyer who loves low taxes and sensible levels of regulation, Ms. Harold once was crowned Miss America in the fall of 2002. In June, Ms. Harold announced that she’s “mounting a Republican primary challenge to Rep. Rodney Davis in Illinois.”

Another potential rising star for the GOP is Mia Love. Conservatives are sure to love Ms. Love’s education agenda:

As a mother with three children enrolled in public schools, education is extremely important to me. We need a strong educational system that will allow America to continue in its role as the world’s premier leader in scientific research and technological development. American families want better quality education, lower education costs, and more local control over decisions related to education. In recent years the U.S. Department of Education has expanded the federal role in education to unprecedented levels to the detriment of our children and college students. Utah – not the federal government – knows what is best for Utah’s student. I trust Utah teachers and Utah parents over Washington bureaucrats.

These are my proposals to address the problems surrounding education:

  • Return control of schools to local levels
  • Support Utah’s teachers by opposing one-size-fits-all federal programs that take flexibility away from innovative teachers
  • Eliminate the disparity between Department of Education bureaucrats’ salaries and local teachers’ salaries
  • Bring down the cost of college tuition by allowing schools to compete for students and not allowing a federal government takeover of higher education
  • Support the right of parents, local school districts, and the state of Utah to develop curriculum and set testing standards

Another potential rising conservative star is Katrina Pierson.

Ms. Pierson isn’t afraid to identify herself as a TEA Party conservative:

Katrina Pierson is a candidate for the United States Congress in the 32nd District in Texas.

She is best known across Texas and the nation as a passionate advocate for freedom. For five years, she has served as a Steering Committee member for the Dallas Tea Party. She is also the Founder of the Garland Tea Party and a member of the Texas Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee. Her primary goal as an activist has been to provide citizens with the knowledge and skills they need to protect and advance liberty.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that Ms. Pierson is a passionate, articulate opponent of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare:

There is perhaps no single government program that poses a greater threat to our life, liberty and prosperity than the “Affordable Care Act,” generally referred to as “ObamaCare.” The more the American people learn about ObamaCare, the less they like it—and with good reason. According to the Director of the Congressional Budget Office, ObamaCare is expected to cost our economy upwards of 800,000 jobs. A recent survey of business executives revealed that 71 percent said that ObamaCare is making it harder to hire workers. Every day brings new stories about companies laying off workers or cutting back hours. ObamaCare is the very last thing our struggling economy needs.

If you’re noticing a theme here, it’s that these ladies are a) unapologetic conservatives, b) TEA Party activists and c) minorities. The last I looked at Republicans in Washington, DC, they needed more people who fit these characteristics. Hopefully, that’ll change next November. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if all three of these ladies are sworn in in January, 2015.

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In the 1970’s, Democrats touted themselves as the greatest defenders of free speech. By contrast, the Democrats of today are the the greatest practitioners of censorship. This WSJ article is proof that Democrats are especially good at political free speech intimidation:

In recent weeks, special prosecutor Francis Schmitz has hit dozens of conservative groups with subpoenas demanding documents related to the 2011 and 2012 campaigns to recall Governor Walker and state legislative leaders.

Copies of two subpoenas we’ve seen demand “all memoranda, email…correspondence, and communications” both internally and between the subpoena target and some 29 conservative groups, including Wisconsin and national nonprofits, political vendors and party committees. The groups include the League of American Voters, Wisconsin Family Action, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Americans for Prosperity—Wisconsin, American Crossroads, the Republican Governors Association, Friends of Scott Walker and the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

One subpoena also demands “all records of income received, including fundraising information and the identity of persons contributing to the corporation.” In other words, tell us who your donors are.

The term fishing expedition jumps to mind. So does the term censorship. Ditto with illegal searches. Here’s why those terms apply:

The subpoena demand for the names of donors to nonprofit groups that aren’t legally required to disclose them is especially troubling. Readers may recall that the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent the tax-exempt applications of several conservative groups to the ProPublica news website in 2012.

The censorship thugs weren’t gentle. They didn’t request anything. They demanded things that they didn’t have a legal basis to ask for. Asking for confidential tax filings is illegal because IRS filings are confidential under federal law.

Expect some IRS employees to to get convicted of federal crimes and doing some serious prison time for giving Pro Publica confidential IRS documents. As outrageous as that is, that’s just the tip of the iceberg:

The subpoenas don’t spell out a specific allegation, but the demands suggest the government may be pursuing a theory of illegal campaign coordination by independent groups during the recall elections. If prosecutors are pursuing a theory that independent conservative groups coordinated with candidate campaigns during the recall, their goal may be to transform the independent expenditures into candidate committees after the fact, requiring revision of campaign-finance disclosures and possible criminal charges.

That’s admitting that they’re doing this to intimidate people who want to participate in the political process. That isn’t just unacceptable. It’s unconstitutional because it violates the First and Fourth Amendments. That’s before talking about the US statutes these warrants violate.

It’s notable that the new batch of subpoenas began flying just days before Democrat Mary Burke announced her candidacy for Governor. District Attorneys are partisan elected officials in Wisconsin, and Mr. Landgraf works for Mr. Chisholm. Neither of them returned our call for comment.

This isn’t litigation. It’s attrition. It’s painfully obvious that Mr. Landgraf and Mr. Chisholm are unapologetic Democratic political hatchetmen. It’s apparent, too, that they’ve used their office to a) threaten citizens who want to participate in the political process, b) intimidate legitimate political organizations and c) chill political free speech to help Democratic candidates.

They should be prosecuted for using their official positions as a campaign outlet for Democratic gubernatorial candidates, which is a clear violation of using elected offices for campaign purposes. My hope is that the Wisconsin AG opens an investigation into these Democratic anti-free speech thugs’ censorship campaign. They’re disgusting, not to mention that they’re criminals who should be removed from office.

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Currently, all of the attention in DC is on the US Senate. That’s understandable because that’s where the action is. That isn’t where the bottleneck is, though. Republicans who put a higher priority on the public good rather than the ‘art of the possible’ aren’t likely to support the Senate compromise:

A flurry of phone calls and meetings last night and early this morning led to that consensus among the approximately 50 Republicans who form the House GOP’s right flank. They’re furious with Senate Republicans for working with Democrats to craft what one leading tea-party congressman calls a “mushy piece of s**t.”

It’s one thing to negotiate with Democrats in a divided government. It’s another to outright cave to President Obama’s demands.

Some important points must be made at this point. First, whether Republicans enthusiastically embrace the bill or whether they vehemently oppose the bill, Democrats will blame Republicans for the shutdown. They’ve already called Republicans anarchists (Sen. Reid), likened them to spousal abusers (Sen. Boxer) and called them legislative arsonists (Rep. Pelosi).

Why wouldn’t Republicans expect them to drop their gloves during next year’s campaign?

“What they’ll come up with in the Senate will not get the support of most House Republicans,” predicts a House conservative strategist. “And thus, after a lot of hand-wringing, it’ll be DOA. Just like with BCA in 2011, the most important question is, what can pass the House? Everything else is subordinate to that. So, while the Senate is taking the lead right now, I expect the focus will soon shift back to the House, and back to the idea of doing a six-week extension of the debt ceiling. While Obama and Reid won’t like it, they don’t want to go past October 17, either. The politics of the debt ceiling are different from the shutdown. And so, we feel they’ll reluctantly accept it as a stopgap measure.”

Republicans have some leverage, at least if Senate Republicans don’t squander this opportunity. If Republicans insist that the individual mandate be postponed a year and that Congress and their staff don’t get subsidies that other Americans aren’t eligible for in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, they’ll win that fight.

That’s because President Obama can’t afford a default on his watch, especially when there’s a perfectly reasonable offer on the table. It isn’t difficult selling people on the notion that politicians shouldn’t get subsidies that aren’t available to the average Joe or Jane.

Similarly, it isn’t difficult convincing people that the health insurance exchanges aren’t operational. Connecting that with delaying the individual mandate isn’t that difficult either.

That’s how Republicans win this fight and resurrect their standing with the American people. It’s a win-win situation for the GOP — if they don’t let Senate squishies blow it for them.

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According to Newt’s article, it’s apparent that conventional wisdom was wrong…again. Based on the latest CNN poll, it’s apparent that the American people blame Republicans, Democrats and President Obama equally for the shutdown:

When asked in the CNN poll whom they are angry at, 63% said Republicans, 58% said Democrats and 53% said Obama. That is a 10-point margin for the president and only a 5-point margin for Democrats, compared with a 23-point margin in November 1995. Independents said they blamed all three equally (60% GOP, 59% Democrats, 58% Obama). This is so clearly within the margin of error that it is for all practical purposes a tie.

After weeks of the media focusing blame on House Speaker John Boehner, Sen. Ted Cruz and the House Republicans, it is clear the American people are not buying it.

Earlier in the article, Newt talked about polling during 1995 shutdown:

A CNN poll at the time showed Americans blamed Republicans over President Bill Clinton for the first shutdown by almost 2-to-1, 49% to 26%. Republicans fared only a little better in the second shutdown of the mid-’90s. A CNN poll after it began showed the American people preferred Clinton’s approach to that of the Republicans by 52% to 38%.

Sixty-two percent said they had negative feelings about the Republican leaders during that conflict, compared with only 49% about Clinton.

It’s pretty apparent that the American people are perfectly capable of understanding the different dynamics at play in this shutdown vs. the 1995-96 shutdown. In 1995, Gingrich’s troops didn’t hide the fact that they a) took seriously the fact that they controlled the purse strings and b) that they wanted to change the direction of the country. They didn’t hide the fact that they were will willing to shut government down if that’s what it took to win the longterm fight.

President Clinton understood that. He didn’t hesitate in negotiating with Republicans. By doing that, he looked reasonable. Fast forward to today. This time, it’s Boehner’s Republicans who look reasonable compared with President Obama’s mean-spirited character.

After weeks of the media focusing blame on House Speaker John Boehner, Sen. Ted Cruz and the House Republicans, it is clear the American people are not buying it.

There have been too many days of the president saying, “I will not negotiate.” The country believes him. They can see he’s a big part of the reason the government is shut down.

That’s why it’s impossible for me to believe the Gallup and Rasmussen polling that shows President Obama with a job approval rating near 50%. There’s no way to square up the CNN and AP polling with Rasmussen’s and Gallup’s polling.

If House Republicans continue to pass targeted, clean continuing resolutions to fund parts of the government and Senate Republicans demand day after day for the right to vote on these popular measures, the margin of blame may begin shifting from virtual parity to a solidly Democratic problem.

If the Republicans repeat every day their willingness to negotiate and Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid repeat every day their refusal to negotiate, this may become catastrophic for the Democrats.

I don’t expect President Obama to take that hardline approach much longer. He’s got to be seeing polling that shows his popularity tanking. That’s why it’s impossible to believe President Obama will stick to his guns.

That said, House Republicans have done their Senate colleagues a ton of good during this fight. They’ve forced Mark Begich, Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu and Mark Pryor to take votes they’ll regret next November. Voting against funding of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and voting to keep the national parks closed just isn’t popular. It’s too early to predict that the entire group of Democratic senators will lose in November, 2014. Still, they might want to start drafting an outline for their concession speeches.

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One thing that’s been bothering me in the debt ceiling discussion is the total absence of consideration of what’s the best path forward for the nation. Altogether too often, the discussion has focused on President Obama’s re-election, not the fact that he didn’t win a mandate from the American people.

The message the nation sent wasn’t that they approved of President Obama’s mishandling of the economy. Rather, the nation sent the message that they elected the lesser of two evils. (That isn’t my perspective but it’s the message the voters apparently sent.)

They definitely blamed President Bush for the economy without giving President Obama high marks on the economy.

The reality is that the nation re-elected Republicans to run the House of Representatives despite President Obama’s victory. The point is that neither Democrats or Republicans have a mandate. That means doing what’s right on the federal budget and what’s right for creating jobs.

Despite his victory, President Obama hasn’t proposed policies that create enough jobs. Month after month, job creation lags farther behind population growth. Month after month, family incomes drop. Despite the Democrats’ insistence that the economy has turned the corner, the reality is that the Democrats’ policies haven’t created the robust job growth that’s needed.

There isn’t an economist out there that’ll argue that President Obama’s policies will start creating jobs in the numbers we need to lift ourselves from this recession.

Speaker Boehner shouldn’t buy into the media’s myths about the Democrats winning the fiscal cliff debate. If we go over the cliff, historians won’t call this Speaker Boehner’s recession. That’s because presidents, not speakers, get the fault for the recessions just like they get the credit for when the economy soars.

President Obama’s legacy won’t be filled with stories of how the stimulus revived the US economy. The ACA won’t be recorded as a success, either. It’s a failure. President Obama’s strict adherence to his failed ideology will be his legacy.

There’s never been a time when this many taxes have been raised and this much money spent this recklessly and the economy recovered. That’s before talking about President Obama’s exponential growth in regulations, which are exploding while ruining the US economy.

It’s time for Republicans to start promoting their plan as the only plan from either party that addresses the problems confronting the nation. That isn’t because it’s the greatest plan ever devised. It’s partly because Democrats haven’t offered a serious economic plan.

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7:00 CT — Starting in about an hour, I’ll be liveblogging tonight’s debate. I’m sure I’ll be the only person liveblogging/tweeting. LOL
7:05 — I’ll be following the Heritage Foundation’s live feed but I’m also DVR’ing the debate. I’m LFRGary on Twitter for those who will be following the debate that way. At the end of each segment, I’ll probably post something to Twitter using the #Debate2012 hashtag.
7:25 — The key to Mitt doing well tonight, I think, will be whether he starts with a criticism of Obama’s economy, then finishes with his solution. If he does that, he’ll win the debate. Whether that happens is the question.
7:40 — T-20 minutes and counting. Will Mitt come out unflappable? Will President Obama. Only 20 minutes until we find out.
7:45 — This isn’t liveblogging stuff but it’s good information going forward:

A Non-Recovery Recovery
The August report shows that the labor market is continuing its non-recovery. Average job growth for 2012 is worse than average job growth in 2011. Fiscal policies from Washington have made the situation worse. While President Obama has promised to reduce regulations, which would help job creation, his largest initiative, Obamacare, will harm employment. The Obamacare tax hikes coincide with the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts in January 2013.

7:55 — Jim Lehrer just finished giving instructions. Crowd applauds the finish of the instructions.
8:00 — The debate starts in 2 minutes. GRRRR. I hate when politicians are late.
8:04 — 3 segments on the economy, 1 each on health care, role of gov’t & differences.
8:06 — Obama Gov. Romney wants to get the economy going by giving tax cuts for the rich.
8:08 — Romney outlines his 5 points. The President has a view that’s similar to 4 years ago.
8:10 — Obama talking about hiring 100,000 new teachers. Subconciously cedes fact that his approach now is the same as 4 years ago. Now talking about $5,000,000,000,000 tax cuts plus spending.
8:12 — Romney on the offensive. Incomes are down by $4,300 per year. Gas has doubled since Obama was inaugurated. Mitt: Energy production is up but not due to President Obama’s policies. BTW, I like coal.
8:15 — President Obama regurgitating the $5,000,000,000,000 in tax cuts & $2,000,000,000,000 military spending line.
8:18 — Romney: Virtually everything he said about my tax plan is inaccurate. Romnney is really on fire.
8:22 — Romney: Takes Obama to task about the $5,000,000,000,000 tax cut. Says that his plan isn’t like anything like other plans tried before.
8:28 — Romney: I will grow economy while cutting spending. Includes cutting PBS, repealing Obamacare.
8:30 — Obama is talking about Bowles-Simpson like it’s his plan. Talk about chutzpah.
8:34 — Romney: I believe in raising revenues not taxes.
8:35 — Obama is clearly on defensive. Talking balanced approach = tax increases.
NOTE: Mitt nailed President Obama with his statement that President Obama complains about “$2.8 Trillion in tax breaks for Exxon” but giving “about 50 years worth of tax breaks to Solyndra.”
8:52 — Mitt on regulations: As a businessman, I needed to know the regulations. Dodd-Frank “designates 5 banks as too big to fail” as permanent. Too many community banks went bankrupt after Dodd-Frank.
9:00 — Obama: Gov. Romney did a good thing in Massachussetts.
9:03 — Mitt: In Massachussetts, we all came together. Mr. President, You didn’t bring people together. You pushed it through. When Scott Brown won, you still pushed it through without a single Republican vote.
9:07 — The folks at NRO are impressed with Mitt, unimpressed with President Obama. Says that President Obama is meandering, unfocused, Mitt is focused, with “no uhs, no ums.” I agree.
9:14 — Role of gov’t: President Obama – Cites Lincoln as creating transcontinental railroad.
9:17 — Romney: I believe that our Constitution means that we care for those who can’t provide for themselves but that we provide the opportunity for people to pursue their own dreams.

If this report is accurate, which I’m confident it is, then it’s time to distill all of the Democrats’ happy talk into a simple message: “People, if this continues, we’re in trouble.” Here’s what I’m referring to:

Paul —

I just got this disturbing report: Yesterday’s Romney-Ryan rally in North Carolina pulled in an overflow crowd of 15,000 people.

There’s no spinning that number. It’s a LOT of people, and the Republican base in energized.

And that’s not all. Since the VP announcement, Romney’s campaign has brought in over 70,000 donations from his Tea Party base.

We’ve got to step up our game and mobilize our supporters, starting right now.

TRANSLATION: Holy shit Batman, we’re in trouble.

Seriously, I’m certain that the Democrats didn’t anticipate this spike in attendance. They couldn’t have seen it coming. They might’ve anticipated it for Paul Ryan. There’s no way they could’ve anticipated it for Mitt Romney.

While the polling hasn’t shown a shift in the enthusiasm gap, these crowds indicate one thing: that the size of the GOP base is growing. It’s one thing to close the enthusiasm gap. It’s quite another for the gap to widen in the size of a party’s base.

President Obama, talking in Iowa like Paul Ryan was, drew a significantly smaller crowd than Chairman Ryan. The headline on Drudge hinted that President Obama had lost the magic from 2008. That’s hardly a surprise.

That’s why the Democrats’ last option is to go disgustingly negative all the time. That’s certainly what’s happening. That might’ve worked pre-Ryan. It would’ve worked pre-Ryan if Mitt hadn’t outraised President Obama.

In 2008, President Obama buried Sen. McCain’s message, if he had one, with a tsunami of advertising. This time, especially with Paul Ryan on the ticket, Mitt has a message. This time, Mitt’s able to go toe-to-toe with President Obama in the ad wars.

Most importantly, Paul Ryan’s time-tested appeal to thoughtful Democrats and independents, combined with Mitt’s fundraising abilities, will grow the GOP base the right way.

That’s why Democrats should be worried.

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Minutes ago, I published this post titled Scariest headline this am. Had I seen this headline, I would’ve ranked them 1 and 1A.

ROMNEY CASH HAUL TOPS OBAMA

The contents of the article aren’t a joy to the Obama campaign either:

(Reuters) – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Republican groups raised more than $76.8 million in May, his campaign said on Thursday, topping the $60 million President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies hauled in.

The campaign and Republican National Committee have $107 million cash on hand, the campaign said.

(Reporting By Patricia Zengerle)

This is the worst news President Obama could get from the campaign operation. First, news that President Obama’s major ad blitz didn’t barely move the needle of public opinion. Next, the news that he’ll actually be outfundraised (and probably by a pretty wide margin) won’t cheer him up, either.

This is shaping up to be another miserable morning for the Obama campaign. It’s time for Mssrs. Axelrod and Plouffe to order more cases of Maalox.

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Chip Cravaack laid the wood to the DFL in this fiery speech at the 2012 MNGOP Convention:

Here’s a transcript of the hardest-hitting part of the speech:

I have to be blunt. Our opponents don’t have the guts to do what’s right or what needs to be done. If they have any courage, they’re not showing it right now. Go ahead and ask them “Show us the tough decisions you’ve made. Show us where you’ve been at odds with the President. Show us where you have been an independent voice in the decisions in the best interests of this country.”

They can’t. The fact is that they haven’t made the tough decisions that the country needs now. They talk about leadership but that’s all it is. It’s all talk.

Under Harry Reid’s ‘leadership’, the Senate hasn’t passed a budget in over 3 years. They’ve sabotaged House legislation that would’ve jumpstarted the economy. Reid’s Senate filibustered the Keystone XL Pipeline to death, preventing job creation and energy independence.

On the House side, the Democrats haven’t proposed anything constructive since the 2006 disaster. We’re still paying the price for their ill-advised legislative ‘accomplishments’.

The Democrats in DC were clearly the target of Chip’s speech. Chip exposed Sen. Klobuchar’s less-than-moderate voting record. Chip fed the faithful one hunk of red meat after another. The impressive part was watching him do it while making a strong case for conservatism and without sounding mean-spirited.

If the NRSC and NRCC were wise, they’d mimic Chip’s speech, especially in terms of hitting the Democrats over the head with accusations that they’re the do-nothings in DC. The NRSC and NRCC should highlight how Democrats are devoid of leadership. Similarly, the NRSC and NRCC should highlight the fact that Democrats are the party that won’t fight against Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi when they have the opportunity to do what’s right for America.

If the NRSC and NRCC follow Chip’s lead, this will be a great year for Republicans.

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Dick Morris is getting famous for making bold election predictions, then seeing those predictions turning into reality. This prediction faces an uphill fight if it’s to become reality:

If the election were held today, Mitt Romney would win by a landslide.

Anyone who’s read this blog knows that I was the first blogger to support Newt. I’ll believe that to my dying breath. That said, it isn’t difficult to picture Mitt defeating President Obama this November.

I’ve said that the GOP has a good chance of tipping a few Midwest blue states into the red column from the beginning. This polling is the first substantiation of that opinion:

Over the period of May 4-6, I completed a poll of 400 likely voters in Michigan and found Romney leading by 45-43! And Michigan is one of the most pro-Democrat of the swing states.

I also found that Obama’s personal favorability, which has usually run about 10 to 20 points higher than his job approval, is now equal to his job rating. In Michigan, his personal favorability among likely voters is 47-47, while his job rating is 50-48. Romney’s favorability is 49-42.

After the Indiana GOP primary, I’m picking that as the most likely of the Midwest states to go from blue in 2008 to red in 2012, followed by Wisconsin, then Michigan.

Throughout the last 5 years of Jennifer Granholm’s administration, Michigan led the nation in unemployment rates. Couple that with Kwame Fitzpatrick’s corruption in Detroit and you’ve got a perfect anti-Democrat storm brewing there.

At this point, I’m rating Michigan as a toss-up for the presidential election, with Indiana going strong GOP and with Wisconsin being somewhere between leans GOP and a toss-up.

Mssrs. Axelrod and Plouffe worst nightmare is President Obama fighting to win Michigan.

In 2008, North Carolina went Obama. This past Tuesday, African-American voters in North Carolina sent President Obama a clear message by voting for North Carolina’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

North Carolina, Virginia and Florida all flipped from red to blue in 2008. President Obama won’t repeat that feat this time. In fact, there’s a decent possibility that this trio of states flips those states back into the red column this time.

While I don’t agree with all of Morris’ predictions, I agree with him to the extent that there’s a decent possibility of an electoral romp by Mitt.

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