Report from the RNC Convention: Karl Rove on swing states

— Legendary GOP strategist Karl Rove told reporters at a POLITICO breakfast that he was heartened by a neck-and-neck presidential race, with seemingly solid-blue states (think Wisconsin and Michigan) moving into undecided territory and former Obama conquests including North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida appearing to be on the cusp of tipping for Romney. And with the convention bringing Romney’s message front-and-center, Rove said, the typically less-informed undecided voters will get a much better sense of who he is and what he stands for.

“People are going to find out things about Mitt Romney from a personal perspective,” Rove said. “That matters to the people who are up for grabs.”

While the polls show Obama with a slight edge in many of the swing states, Rove said many don’t also note that he was up by ten points in the 2004 election.

“Context matters,” he said.

— According to Romney strategist and convention organizer Russ Schriefer, the convention, when it finally does get underway Tuesday, will feature two debt clocks, one showing the actual national debt, and one showing how much debt has accumulated since the convention’s official start Monday evening.

“At the end of convention, the clock will stop and we’ll see how much national debt has accumulated over the last four days,” Schriefer said, declining to give estimates so that conference attendees could see the figures for themselves.

Well, we did the math: four days of accumulated national debt will total some $14 billion by the end of the convention. That will be one fast-moving clock.

Schriefer also said that organizers were confident that a new, slightly rearranged three-day convention schedule could proceed without any additional postponements or delays, but maintained a “wait and see” attitude with safety concerns at the forefront. Some have noticed that a Donald Trump speaking slot is absent from the updated convention schedule, but Schriefer said that was due to Trump’s scheduling challenges and added that “The Donald” may return to Tampa later this week.

Top Talkers

“Until the weekend, Vice President Joe “Joe” Biden had also been planning to come; apparently he was unaware that this is the Republican convention. He changed his mind after a meeting with his top aides that may or may not have involved tranquilizer darts.” –Humorist Dave Barry (the rest of Barry’s column on the convention is here)

“Crowd answers no when Barry Goldwater, Jr. asks them if America is better off now than in 1964.”
–Daily Caller Editor Jim Antle, Tweeting from Sunday’s Ron Paul Rally. Antle’s more detailed analysis of the rally is here.

“The 1000 people at the Trump dinner left at the same time. All valet parked. Five parkers at the hotel. Hurricane winds. I’m about to cry.” –Washington Times Editor Emily Miller, tweeting about some of the early challenges in carrying on a convention in the midst of a storm. Miller talks about Donald Trump’s continued pursuit of the birther question here.