Politico: “It isn’t the chair or the ho-hum convention. Or the leaked video. Or Stuart Stevens. Or the improving economy. Or media bias. Or distorted polls. Or the message. Or Mormonism. It’s Mitt.
“With Republicans everywhere wondering what has happened to the Mitt Romney campaign, people who know the candidate personally and professionally offer a simple explanation: It’s the candidate himself. Slowly and reluctantly, Republicans who love and work for Romney are concluding that for all his gifts as a leader, businessman and role model, he’s just not a good political candidate in this era.”
Hotline’s Reid Wilson: “If Romney does lose this year, blame will quickly shift to the Republican presidential nominee himself, his shortcomings, and his ability to articulate a conservative vision for the country. And the fallout from a Romney loss has the potential to reverberate through the Republican Party for a decade… One can imagine the thought process: Romney, the moderate Massachusetts flip-flopper, was insufficiently clear in articulating the views of the conservative movement and allowed his own shortcomings to distract from the cause, both of beating Obama and of advancing the agenda.”
More: “If Republicans do lurch to the right, history suggests they will be vindicated in the near-term. The mid-term election under a second-term president is typically disastrous for the incumbent party as the six-year itch takes effect. Even if Republicans can't win back the Senate this year, their chances against the Democrats swept in by the Obama wave in 2008 will be strong. By 2016, Republicans searching for a presidential nominee may incorporate two lessons from the previous two election cycles into their decision: 2012 will hint that moderates unable to articulate the most conservative vision can't win nationally, and 2014 will show conservatives can win.”
“His path to victory narrowing, Mitt Romney is looking to Pennsylvania to help slow President Barack Obama’s momentum ahead of a high-stakes meeting on the debate stage next week,” AP writes. “The Republican presidential nominee was to campaign Friday in the Philadelphia area, first courting donors at a high-dollar fundraiser and then meeting voters at a midday rally. Fresh off a promise to spend more time in the swing states that matter most, Romney will pass much of the day in a state that has not supported a Republican presidential candidate in nearly a quarter-century. His campaign is not running any television ads in Pennsylvania, and aides privately concede that Obama has a significant advantage just 40 days before Election Day. They suggest that Romney’s visit — his first to the state in more than two months — is largely designed to raise the money needed to narrow Obama’s edge in more competitive states.”