DENVER –During two rallies in Colorado, Mitt Romney’s first here in 52 days, the GOP presidential nominee projected strength on the stump, even as polls continued to show him losing ground.
On Monday morning, as he stepped off his campaign plane into a sea of flag-waving supporters gathered on Pueblo tarmac, Romney again went immediately on the attack, reacting to President Obama’s statement on Sunday night’s “60 Minutes” report in which he referred to recent violence in the Islamic world as “bumps in the world”.
“These aren’t bumps in the road,” Romney said. “These are human lives.”
Romney was every bit the confident candidate in his remarks before some 7,000 supporters beneath the floodlights in Jefferson County Sunday night.
And in a spate of network TV interviews that were conducted over the weekend, Romney continues to be bullish about his chances of winning the White House, even as polls show him losing ground.
“I’m going to win this thing,” Romney reportedly told Peter Alexander of NBC News in an interview that will air Monday night.
In a lengthy piece on Sunday’s “60 Minutes”, Romney was asked by CBS News anchor Scott Pelley if his campaign needs a turnaround, especially after last week when Romney’s videotaped comments about the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay taxes surfaced on the Mother Jones website and dominated campaign news coverage all week.
“It doesn’t need a turnaround,” Romney told Pelley. “We’ve got a campaign which is tied with an incumbent president to the United States.”
Here’s the problem: the latest polls don’t bear that out.
While national tracking polls remain close, President Obama is beginning to open up a lead, and several polls show his approval rating inching above the 50 percent mark.
Of the 13 national polls conducted so far this month, nine show Obama’s approval rating above 50 percent.
In August, only one poll had Obama above that mid-way mark.
Swing state polls show even wider margins for President Obama.
In a survey from Public Policy Polling that was released Sunday night just as Romney was taking the stage at D’Evelyn High School, Obama now leads 51-45 in Colorado, a state that has been slower to move in his direction.
PPP is a polling outfit that’s known to skew to the left, but the polling data released with its latest report indicates that they increased the sample size of unaffiliated Colorado voters, a group where Obama out-polled Romney 51-41.
On Sunday night, Romney told the crowd that Colorado could be the state that puts him over the top on Nov. 6. and asked everyone there to find a person who voted for Obama in 2008 and convince them to vote for him.
He did it again on the Pueblo tarmac Monday morning.
“This is our time, we’ve got to take this country back,” Romney exhorted. “With your help, we’re going to take this country back. We’re going to take Pueblo big-time and take Colorado.”
On Wednesday, his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, returns to Colorado for rallies in Fort Collins and Colorado Springs.
And next Tuesday, the first of three presidential debates, perhaps the biggest opportunity Romney has left to change the trajectory of the race, will play out inside Magness Arena on the University of Denver campus.
“That first debate is a huge opportunity and the subject matter, domestic policy, should be Romney’s comfort zone,” political analyst Eric Sondermann told FOX31 Denver last week. “But he still has to connect in a way that he hasn’t been able to do yet and he has to do it then and there because time is running short.”