ByÂ Luke Rosiak-The Washington Times
Both presidential campaigns and their super PAC allies are now running television ads in Pennsylvania, with Republicans making a late push to try to swing the state their way, and Democrats moving to block them.
Itâ€™s a familiar scenario thatâ€™s played out in every election since 1992, where the Keystone State has been theÂ GOPâ€™s Sisyphus â€” tantalizing its presidential candidates each time, but always slipping out of reach.
â€œDoable, but a pretty steep climb,â€ G. TerryÂ Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin andÂ Marshall College, said in evaluating Republicansâ€™ chances to push the rock to the top of the hill this year.
â€œThey are not close in Pennsylvania. We are going to win Pennsylvania,â€ campaign managerÂ Jim MessinaÂ told reporters on Monday. â€œBut we arenâ€™t taking anything for granted, and thatâ€™s what good campaigns do.â€
Republicans have spotted big opportunities late in campaigns before. In 2004, they deployed Vice PresidentÂ Dick CheneyÂ to Hawaii after a poll showed then-PresidentÂ George W. BushÂ might be competitive. And in 2008Â Sen. John McCainÂ tried to put Pennsylvania in play.
But Republicans said there is a real opportunityÂ this year to win in Pennsylvania and some other statesÂ Mr. Obama claimed in 2008.
â€œI think what youâ€™re seeing in Pennsylvania is a reflection of a growing national trend of momentum strongly flowing toÂ Mitt RomneyÂ and the Romney-Ryan ticket,â€ saidÂ Charlie Gerow, a Republican consultant in the state and CEO ofÂ Quantum Communications. â€œThatâ€™s it in a nutshell.â€
With 20 electoral votes, itâ€™s the second-biggest prize on the up-for-grabs board, behind Floridaâ€™s 29 and ahead of Ohioâ€™s 18.
Mr. GerowÂ also said while many states have big early-voting and absentee programs, in Pennsylvania 96 or 97 percent of voters will go to the polls on Election Day, meaning money can be spent late and still have an impact.
Republicans say itâ€™s a telling sign thatÂ Mr. RomneyÂ has put Mr. Obama on the defensive in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan â€” all states the incumbent won handily in 2008.
By contrast, Mr. Obama has not made a major play for any of the states he lost in 2008. Then again, his huge margin in the Electoral College last time left him with plenty of margin for error.
And with a week to go, the president retains advantages in the polls in each of those states, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls: 2.3 percentage points in Wisconsin, 4 points in Michigan, 4.7 points in Pennsylvania and 5.3 points in Minnesota.
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