Republicans Call Out Hurricane Sandy for Stealing Romney’s Momentum

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Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Ever since Mitt Romney revived his campaign by steamrolling a catatonic President Obama in the first presidential debate, his crew has been on optimism overdrive, trumpeting their candidate's supposed new momentum and gains in the polls. Then Hurricane Sandy came along and swept the election out of the news. The only real political image to emerge from the week was that of President Obama touring New Jersey's disaster zones and giving press conferences with his new best friend, Romney surrogate Chris Christie. Now, with the election 36 hours away, the Republicans are preparing to blame Sandy for a Romney loss, should it occur. 

Today, on CNN's State of the Union, former GOP Mississippi governor and RNC chairman Haley Barbour, who last week told Politico that Sandy was the "Obama campaign's dream" confirmed that "the hurricane is what broke Romney’s momentum."

Any day that the news media is not talking about jobs and the economy, taxes and spending, deficit and debt, Obamacare and energy, is a good day for Barack Obama.

Republican strategist-in-chief Karl Rove — whose several super PACs have spent at least $170 million according to the Center for Responsive Politics — made much the same point to the Washington Post yesterday.

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.

Even some Romney insiders are getting behind the argument, telling CBS News that Hurricane Sandy did in fact stall their (over-hyped) momentum, leaving the race a lot closer than they would've liked.

So, do the polls bear this out? Though not a perfect measure, the RealClearPolitics poll average on October 28th — the day before Hurricane Sandy made landfall — showed Romney with a 0.8 point lead. A week later, Obama now enjoys a razor-thin and totally insignificant 0.2 point lead. This one point swing notwithstanding, Obama's lead in all-important key battleground states has held pretty steady throughout.