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Romney: MO'HIO?

The New York Times’ Zeleny and Rutenberg go to Ohio: “If one place is emerging as a test of Mitt Romney’s ability to capitalize on a new dynamic in the presidential race, it is Ohio, where he is intensifying his advertising, deploying more troops and spending four of the next five days.”

Romney also will be in Iowa today. The Des Moines Register: “Mitt Romney in Iowa today will tell farmers that he favors policies that allow them to farm without overregulation, have access to world markets, pass down a farm to children without losing over half its value to taxes, and keep their energy costs as affordable as possible.”

Politico’s Gerstein: “Mitt Romney’s foreign policy speech Monday was filled with tough talk and slams of President Barack Obama’s leadership — but little of the clarity Romney has vowed to bring to the Oval Office. What the Republican nominee’s campaign billed as a major foreign policy address didn’t have much new in it and left some analysts unimpressed. The speech, they said, was much like Romney’s previous swings at laying out a foreign policy: couched in broad ideology and big ambitions and lacking the specifics for how he’d bring any of them about.”

The New York Times: “Mitt Romney launched a broad attack on Monday against what he termed President Obama’s failure ‘to shape history’ in the Middle East, but he found himself walking a fine line between criticizing the president he is running against and avoiding any endorsement of the type of international interventions undertaken by the most recent president from his own party, George W. Bush, whom he rarely mentions. Mr. Romney urged arming the rebels trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad of Syria so that they can ‘defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters and fighter jets’ — a step that would go well beyond the president’s decision to provide only nonlethal aid. But speaking at the Virginia Military Institute, Mr. Romney stopped short of saying that the United States itself should provide the arms to the rebels directly, or get involved on the ground. Nor did he explain how he would handle what in the White House is termed ‘the Afghanistan problem’: that arms provided to the rebels could, in the wrong hands, be used against Americans in the future.”

“From the day in June 2011 when he announced his White House bid to the night last week when he delivered a commanding debate performance, Mitt Romney has slammed President Obama for a national unemployment rate that remained above 8 percent for 43 straight months,” the Boston Globe notes. “But with Friday’s news that unemployment has dipped to 7.8 percent, the Republican nominee has been forced to modify an attack he has levied countless times. ‘If not for all the people who have simply dropped out of the labor force, the real unemployment rate would be closer to 11 percent,’ Romney said.” More: “The evaporation of one oft-repeated number does not invalidate Romney’s overall message -- that the recovery has been inadequate and that he could accelerate growth, if elected -- but it does highlight some potential problems for the home stretch of the campaign. As the economy shows slow but steady signs of improvement, Romney’s argument that Obama’s policies are failing could become less convincing, particularly in those swing states where the unemployment rate is lower than the national average.”

“Even with his strong debate performance, Mitt Romney needs every possible advantage to overtake President Barack Obama in the next four weeks. Not helping him much is the Republican Party he leads,” AP writes. “Thanks in part to congressional Republicans’ no-compromise stands on key issues, and an unpopular past president in George W. Bush, the GOP’s image is at one of its lowest points in modern times. Romney is now distancing himself a bit from some party policies, most notably by emphasizing that he doesn’t want to cut taxes for high earners.”

Except that he would continue the Bush tax cuts and his tax plan would cut taxes for the wealthy as well as other income groups.

Allen and VandeHei: “For months, Ann Romney and her eldest son, Tagg, were dutifully supportive of the political professionals running Mitt Romney’s campaign. All the while, their private frustration was mounting. Shortly before the final debate, it finally boiled over. What followed was a family intervention. The candidate’s family prevailed on Mitt Romney, and the campaign operation, to shake things up dramatically, according to campaign insiders. The family pushed for a new message, putting an emphasis on a softer and more moderate image for the GOP nominee — a ‘let Mitt be Mitt’ approach they believed more accurately reflected the looser, generous and more approachable man they knew. Chief strategist Stuart Stevens — whom the family held responsible for allowing Romney’s personal side to be obscured by an anti-Obama economic message — has seen his once wide-ranging portfolio ‘fenced in’ to mainly the debates, and the television advertising that is his primary expertise, according to campaign officials. Tagg Romney, channeling his mother’s wishes, is taking a much more active role in how the campaign is run.”

“Mitt Romney may want to reconsider his campaign strategy involving the pint-size voters of tomorrow,” the AP writes. “The Republican presidential candidate skipped the chance to take part in Nickelodeon’s ‘‘Kids Pick the President’’ special that includes President Barack Obama, said Linda Ellerbee, the show’s host and executive producer. The decision ‘disses’ children, she said. During last week’s presidential debate, Romney vowed to cut federal funding for PBS while acknowledging it’s the home of popular ‘Sesame Street’ character Big Bird.”

Politico notes that in Britain Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband mocked Romney at an event last week: "Doing this job, you get called some names. Some of them nice, some of them not so nice. Let me tell you my favorite – it was when Mitt Romney came to Britain and called me ‘Mr. Leader,’" Miliband said. "I don’t know about you, but I think it has a certain ring to it myself. It’s sort of halfway to North Korea. Mitt – thanks a lot for that.”

Politico: “The ‘Mr. Leader’ gaffe didn't break through in the U.S. as much as the bigger kerfuffle over the Olympics, but from the reaction of Miliband's audience, it's evidently well remembered in some corners.”