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2012: Laughing it up

The latest polls: NBC/WSJ/Marist: IA: Obama 51-43%, WI: Obama 51-45%. MI: EPIC/MRA has Obama back up 52-46%.

Pew shows Romney making gains on foreign policy.

A Gallup Daily Tracking poll (with a seven-day rolling average) has Romney up 7 – 52-45%.

Nate Silver: Gallup’s “results are deeply inconsistent with the results that other polling firms are showing in the presidential race, and the Gallup poll has a history of performing very poorly when that is the case. Other national polls show a race that is roughly tied on average, while state polls continue to indicate a narrow advantage of about two points for President Obama in tipping-point states like Ohio… With so much data to sort through, it will usually be a counterproductive use of one's time to get overly attached to the results of any one particular poll. … Apart from Gallup's final poll not having been especially accurate in recent years, it has often been a wild ride to get there. Their polls, for whatever reason, have often found implausibly large swings in the race. In 2000, for example, Gallup had George W. Bush 16 points ahead among likely voters in polling it conducted in early August. By Sept. 20, about six weeks later, they had Al Gore up by 10 points instead: a 26-point swing toward Mr. Gore over the course of a month and a half. No other polling firm showed a swing remotely that large.”

Some one-liners from Obama and Romney’s appearance at the white-tie and tails Al Smith Dinner/roast of each other:

- “It’s nice to finally relax and to wear what Ann and I wear around the house. I was actually hoping the president would bring Joe Biden along this evening, because he’ll laugh at anything.”
- Key to his first debate performance: “Refrain from alcohol for 65 years before the debate.”
- “Some in the media have a certain way of looking at things. When suddenly I pulled ahead in some of the major polls, what was the headline? Polls show Obama leading from behind. And I’ve already seen early reports from tonight’s dinner. Headline: Obama embraced by Catholics, Romney dines with rich people.”

- “Everyone please take your seats. Otherwise Clint Eastwood will yell at them.”
- “Earlier today I went shopping at some stores in Midtown. I understand Governor Romney went shopping for some stores in Midtown.”
- “Actually, Mitt is his middle name.  I wish I could use my middle name.”
- “I had a lot more energy in our second debate. I felt really well rested after the nice long nap I had in the first debate.”
Of being called a celebrity abroad in 2008: “Good to see Governor Romney has avoided that problem.”
- Of the upcoming foreign-policy debate: “Spoiler alert: We got bin Laden.”

Even the emcee got in on the act – Al Smith IV, great grandson of the former NY governor: “I want to say a special welcome to all the accomplished women here tonight. It’s good to see you made it out of those binders.”

Summing up the corniness, the New York Daily News: “President Obama and Mitt Romney 'zing' for their supper at annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner.”

Gay marriage is on the ballot in Maryland. A new poll out from the Washington Post yesterday showed a narrow majority supporting its passage – just 52-43. The key to its passage -- black voters are key to this. They make up 29% of registered voters in the state. And running on air in Maryland this week is this powerful ad featuring Julian Bond speaking directly to camera: “My name is Julian Bond. I know a little something about fighting for what’s right and just. Maryland’s gay and lesbian families share the same values. And they should share in the right to marry. I believe people of faith believe this isn’t about any one religious belief. It’s about protecting the civil right to make a lifelong commitment to the person you love. Join me in supporting Question 6. It’s the right thing to do.”

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is giving the keynote at the Iowa J-J Dinner this weekend. Some excerpts: Being here reminds me of those things that make Iowa and LA so special. You have somehting called the wind chill factor. We have smog alerts. You raise corn and soybeans. We raise celebrities. You enjoy four beautiful seasons: Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall. We have two: Summer and Oscar Season.”