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Romney Hits Ground Running After Final Debate


Governor Romney went straight to Nevada this morning and is now in Henderson for a campaign event. NPR's Ari Shapiro is there and joins us now. Hi there, Ari.


CORNISH: So, what does Mitt Romney have to say out there on the campaign today?

SHAPIRO: Well, he's trying to project a sense of momentum and imminent victory. In fact, I've heard several of his campaign staffers use that very word, momentum, many times today. Mitt Romney, at this stop, described the Obama campaign as a status quo candidacy. He said, that's why his camp is slipping and ours is gaining so much steam.

Polls, Audie, are effectively tied right now. And so both campaigns are arguing that they truly will win in two weeks. It's possible that both firmly believe they will win in a couple weeks, but part of making that happen is mobilizing voters to believe that they're supporting a winning candidate. So, there was a lot of emphasis on early voting, a lot of emphasis on getting people to the polls, all about ginning up enthusiasm and getting people to do what they need to do in these next couple weeks.

CORNISH: Now, there's no question the first debate reshaped the race in favor of Mitt Romney. What does the campaign say about last night and the state of the race?

SHAPIRO: You know, it's interesting, despite his having effectively lost two out of the three debates, the Romney campaign believes that the candidate passed an important threshold test of whether voters can see Romney as a potential president. On the flight here to Nevada, campaign advisor Kevin Madden told us that the campaign was not thinking of each debate as a win/lose proposition on its own. They viewed it as a goal of an over-arching three-debate project that's given people a sense of Romney as a potential president. On that front, they feel very good about how they've done.

And, frankly, when you look back at some of Mitt Romney's lowest moments of the last year, it is kind of incredible to his campaign that, as you said, the race would be a dead heat at this point. The campaign has plenty of cash on hand for an advertising blitz. Just today, the campaign released three new ads that came from last night's debate. They truly believe the presidency is in their grasp.

CORNISH: Now, Ari, can you give us a sense of what these final two weeks have in store for Governor Romney?

SHAPIRO: Yeah, one odd quirk of the campaign until now is that Romney has not had the all-out, kind of blitzkrieg, marathon public campaign schedule that most people would expect to see from a presidential candidate in the final month of a campaign. For example, in the week between the second and third debate, he had only three total public rallies. And stretching back a long ways, he has taken days to do debate prep, to do fundraisers. That strategy served him pretty well. But at this point, he has held his last fundraisers, obviously debate prep is over. So in the next two weeks, you're going to see the kind of intense, all-out, marathon campaign schedule that many people expected to see for the last month but that we haven't seen until now. It's Nevada to Colorado, back to Reno, Nevada, to Iowa, to Ohio, to Florida. Those same eight or nine swing states that everybody's been talking about, he's going to be just hitting them furiously over the next couple weeks.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Ari Shapiro, traveling with the Romney campaign. Ari, thank you.

SHAPIRO: You're welcome, Audie. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.
Audie Cornish
Over two decades of journalism, Audie Cornish has become a recognized and trusted voice on the airwaves as co-host of NPR's flagship news program, All Things Considered.

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