2012 campaign

It’s the Democrats’ Turn to Freak Out


President Barack Obama and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrive on stage for the first presidential debate in Denver, Colorado

Photograph by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrive on stage for the first presidential debate in Denver, Colorado

Throughout most of the past year, Democrats were so serenely confident of President Obama’s reelection that many couldn’t trouble themselves to get involved or donate money. David Axelrod, the president’s chief strategist, was so alarmed about this—or pretended to be, anyway—that he routinely implored anyone who would listen not to be complacent, warning darkly that Obama was sure to be outspent by Mitt Romney and his allied super PACs.

Flash forward to today. Axelrod’s noisy worrying about money has turned out to be utterly unfounded. Obama and the Democratic National Committee just announced that they raised a record $181 million in September; meanwhile, Romney and the Republican super PACs are the ones looking somewhat hard-pressed for cash.

And that liberal overconfidence? It’s also a thing of the past, thanks to the shellacking Obama took in last week’s debate. Romney has pulled ahead in the latest Gallup poll of likely voters, 49 percent to 47 percent, and surged ahead of Obama by the same margin in the latest numbers from Public Policy Polling (not to mention the Pew poll released yesterday, which had Romney up by 4 percentage points)—causing paroxysms in Obama partisans. The motto for the Obama brain trust: Be careful what you wish for.

Green_190
Green is senior national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek in Washington. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaGreen.

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