In response, Obama’s campaign has thrown ads on television in all three states but advisers said the decision was made out of prudence, not concern. They insisted that the fact that Romney appears to be probing those states is a sign of weakness, not strength, because he is roadblocked in the true battlegrounds in his bid for 270 electoral votes.
Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, went so far as to promise on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he would shave off his mustache if Obama lost any of the three states. He later told reporters, “I’m very confident that I’ll still have this mustache on November 8th. We’re going to win those states. So, the bottom line on all this is that this professed momentum of the Romney campaign is really ‘faux-mentum.’ “
Another Obama adviser, speaking on the condition of anonymity to be candid about strategy, said that at an earlier point in the campaign, Obama might have waited to see whether GOP ad buys in these states were having an effect. But, he said, with just days remaining in the election, the campaign will take nothing for granted.
Polls have tightened in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Republicans cite that as evidence that the momentum in the race has shifted toward Romney and that the challenger is in a position to overtake the incumbent in states that once appeared off the boards. But with national polls showing a dead heat, as most do right now, it’s expected that states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and even Minnesota will be relatively close contests.
In Pennsylvania, pollsters and political strategists not affiliated with either presidential campaign suggested that the race was close but that Obama had a clear lead. There’s bipartisan agreement that the race has narrowed because the president has grown more unpopular in the southwestern portion of the state, in part because he has been attacked as being anti-coal.