Etch-A-Sketch Update

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After the new populist, middle-class dude who opposes tax cuts for the wealthy was unveiled in the debate, we now have a series of weepy anecdotes to add a personal touch:

His most impactful story, though, was of a sick 14-year-old boy, David Oparowski, in his Mormon ward who asked "Brother Romney" to help him write a "will" before he died. "I went to David’s bedside and got a piece of legal paper, made it look very official," Romney told the audience. "And then David proceeded to tell me what he wanted to give his friends. Talked about his fishing rod, and who would get that. He talked about his skateboard, who’d get that. And his rifle, that went to his brother."

By the time he was finished, Romney had done something he'd never achieved before from the stump: He had gotten people to cry.

Do not under-estimate the power of Romney's ambition. He'll do or say anything for 51 percent market share, after which it's Etch-A-Sketch again. But also take a deep breath – it usually takes me a while. The national line above is the most sensitive available to see for sudden shifts. But you can see Obama throwing away his Electoral Vote meta-margin, Gore-style, here:

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Does Obama want to be Al Gore? My worry is that his phlegmatic, even temperament may blind him to what we just saw: a president incapable of defending his own record clearly, of rebutting the mis-statements and arguments of his opponent, and of telling us what he'll do for the next few years. Do that again, and you're sinking.

(Graph via Pollster)