Bob's Blog: Way too early to bet on 2012
(CBS News) There have been a lot of polls this week showing lots of things, but really I think the bottom line in all of them is that this race is just too close to call. Most of the poll numbers putting Barack Obama ahead of Mitt Romney - or vice versa - fall within the margin of error, which means you can't put too much weight in what the number is there--just that it is very close. This race is still to be decided.
I don't think it's going to be decided soon, either. It will be decided by events between now and election day, and ultimately it will be decided when voters look at unemployment, gas prices and the economy a week or two before the election.
But of course there are all these other things that could happen that might affect it, too - things nobody can control or predict. What's going to happen with Iran, what happens if Israel attacks Iran? What if North Korea gets cute and fires a nuclear missile test?
But really, I think it all comes down to what the economy is doing a week or two before the election.
There's been a lot of talk about these ads the Obama campaign's been running against Romney and his record at Bain Capital. What they're trying to do is exactly what George W. Bush's team did in 2004 when they decided to go after John Kerry on his war record with the Swift Boat campaign. Kerry was running as a war hero, and they tried to destroy that. Romney is running as someone who knows a whole lot about business and that's why he can fix the economy and people should vote for him. The Obama team thinks if they can blunt that argument, it will help the president a lot.
My bet is they'll keep up this line or reasoning, but only if they think it's working. I think we'll see some polling soon that shows if is or not, and I think we'll know what the Obama team feels if they keep running these ads or if they start to phase them out.
I'll tell you what I won't bet on though - what's going to happen in November.
Two people who might will be on the show this Sunday. I'll talk to Robert Gibbs, a senior adviser to the Obama campaign and I'll talk to Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign.
And one of the most interesting things this Sunday might be my talk with Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind. In my view, Lugar's compiled more legislative accomplishments, and really, he's accomplished more of significance than anyone else in the Senate right now. But he got beat in his primary by a candidate who says what Congress needs now is less compromise. I want to get the Senator's take on where he thinks the Senate is going. And, will he vote for the man who beat him in the primary this November?
We've also got a great panel of authors this weekend who take a look at the role of the presidency. Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy wrote The President's Club, a fascinating read that looks at the relationships between former presidents. Robert Merry wrote Where They Stand: The American Presidents in The Eyes of Voters and Historians. Merry's book is neat because it looks at the rating game people play trying to rank presidents, and he tries to explain whether those rankings are fair and compares them with their electoral records - why is it that some of the presidents praised as great didn't do so well with voters? Finally, Douglas Brinkley joins the panel. His new book, Cronkite, takes a remarkably in-depth look at the man who covered so many presidents in his time as the face of CBS News. How has the White House's relationship with the media changed since Walter Cronkite's first interview with Harry Truman? Brinkley's also got some really neat tidbits about Cronkite, who I must admit is one of my favorite people. Cronkite was who I wanted to be when I got into journalism, and in fact he's still who I want to be.
I hope you'll join me this Sunday. It's going to be a great show. Check your local listings so you don't miss a minute.
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