Romney and Obama battle for Hispanic vote
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Stuffed with sugary snacks and energized by a rising favourability rating among Republicans, Mitt Romney has declared he'll win Ohio and Wisconsin in November's presidential election.
And maybe it's the rubber chicken, ice cream, pancakes and meatball subs talking again -- he scarfed them all down on his five-day, six-state retail politics road trip -- but Romney thinks he can win his home state of Michigan, too, where his bus tour wrapped up Tuesday.
(The wolverine state has voted Democrat in every presidential election since 1992.)
"Who knows at this early stage, but I think Michigan's a state I can win," Romney told reporters travelling with him on the marathon bus ride, although they were actually flying at the time.
When asked what a win in the state of his birth would mean for him personally, he joked, "if I win in Michigan, then I become the president, and that would mean a lot to me personally."
And buoyed by anti-union Governor Scott Walker's recall win earlier this month, Republicans are also looking to steal Wisconsin away from President Barack Obama in November, even though the badger state hasn't gone to the GOP since 1980.
Between snacks, kissing babies and slapping backs, Romney also predicted a win in Ohio, perhaps the most crucial swing state in the election.
"I'm going to win Ohio," he said Sunday at a Father's Day pancake breakfast. "It's important for me. It may well be the deciding state in determining who the next president is. So, we're going to work hard in Ohio. And we want to win in Ohio and I think we will."
Aside from the bold predictions -- Obama won all six states on Romney's itinerary: New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan in 2008 -- the real success of Romney's bus ride through 2,500 km of small towns and suburbs is likely that his approval rating among Republicans has jumped 20% since mid-March when only 58% of the party faithful liked him. According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, 78% of Republicans now have a positive view of their presidential candidate.
That trend even continues among the party's most conservative base of evangelicals, who so far have been cool to Romney's candidacy in part because of his Mormon faith and the moderate positions on social issues he's held in the past.
The sextet of states on Romney's road trip collectively offer 72 electoral college votes in November, which is more than 25% of the 270 votes either Romney or Obama will need in November to win the White House.
Many predict that if Romney can win just three of them, he'll likely win the election.