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Is the Election Over?

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What a week for the campaigns! Tragic developments in the Muslim world gave Obama an opportunity to exercise the incumbent’s prerogative to look presidential – but also opened him up to criticisms of the effectiveness of his Administration in addressing America’s relationships there. In the meantime, Romney seemed to go from one gaffe to the next, culminating in Mother Jones’ release of the fundraiser video. Pundits are talking about everything from a public mea culpa from Romney to a possible Rubio-Ryan ticket. But those who follow politics know that no campaign is without its surprises, and the greatest mistake a candidate can make is to count on his ‘lead’ and discount his opponent. In the second episode of our ongoing “Election 2012” commentary, Edelman strategists Bob Shrum and Steve Lombardo exchange some frank comments on this week’s developments – and the make-or-break opportunity offered by next week’s lead-off Presidential debate.

This graph, based on Bush vs. Gore in 2000, shows how slight missteps in a debate performance turned a campaigner’s lead into a game of catch-up.

Rob Rehg is global chair, Public Affairs and regional president, Washington, D.C.

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