“The former Massachusetts governor must show respect for the superstorm’s casualties all along the Eastern Seaboard,” AP writes. “But Romney can ill afford to waste a minute of campaign time, with the contest virtually deadlocked in several key states and the election six days away. … Romney has three stops scheduled across [Florida] with former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio, while the Obama campaign dispatched Vice President Joe Biden for two stops in the state Wednesday. … After tamping down his partisan tone Tuesday at an Ohio event that chiefly emphasized victims’ relief, Romney planned a full-blown return to the trail Wednesday. Sandy largely spared Florida, so Romney calculates he can campaign there without appearing callous.”
If Romney doesn’t win Florida, there’s virtually no path for him to get elected.
USA Today: “Romney held an event at an arena here Tuesday that was initially scheduled as a rally, but the campaign insisted it was now a ‘storm relief’ event. Still, it bore a very strong resemblance to the rallies he has conducted across the country — complete with a biopic of the Romneys that has been a campaign staple.” With Romney’s return to the trail today, Asked about the risk of attacking a president who is touring the destruction, Romney adviser Kevin Madden said: ‘The plan is to strike a positive tone. Focus on the governor's vision for the country and what he hopes to achieve as president.’”
More: “Tuesday's event outside Dayton demonstrated how fine a line Romney is trying to walk in running an aggressive challenge to a sitting president and being respectful of the tragedy brought the storm.”
“Mitt Romney’s campaign is seeking to expand the political battleground with an advertising blitz in Pennsylvania, a move hailed by his staffers as a symbol of his broadening support and dismissed by President Obama’s advisers as a desperation ploy,” the Boston Globe writes, adding, “Unlike some of the other swing states, Pennsylvania does not offer early in-person voting, which makes a late play an easier feat. Still, no Republican presidential candidate has carried Pennsylvania since 1988, when George H.W. Bush beat Michael Dukakis. Recent polls have suggested that the race is tightening, but most political analysts still have the state leaning in Obama’s direction.”
The Boston Globe’s Lehigh: “Morphing Mitt goes into overdrive.” He wonders if Hurricane Sandy “scattered the last of Mitt Romney’s right-wing positions to the winds, leaving him completely free to finish his moderate makeover? And will Romney shortly be proposing a massive new Marshall Plan to rebuild the infrastructure in Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Colorado? Just joking. Still, the political metamorphosis Romney has undertaken this month is almost as remarkable as the lightning-fast renovations that certain home-improvement TV shows accomplish while unsuspecting homeowners are out lunching at Applebee’s. … Actually, it turns out he did. Lesson: Never underestimate Mitt’s amazing morphability.”
More: “Why, Team Romney appears to be basing its strategy on an adage often attributed to H.L. Mencken: ‘No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.’” He goes down the list of Romney’s shifts, from foreign policy to abortion and also criticized his use of the misleading Jeep ad in Ohio. And: “Now, no one who has watched Romney’s past campaigns will be shocked by his willingness to trim the truth. Yet I am surprised that Romney thinks voters can be so easily misled. … This is cynicism squared. The Romney camp is keenly aware that in the final days of the campaign, truth has a hard time keeping pace with falsehoods — and they seem determined to take full advantage of that dynamic. After all, if he stays honest and loses, Romney’s presidential hopes are over. And if it takes mendacity to win? Well, Mitt knows he’ll have ample opportunity to reshape his image as needed. Indeed, a Romney victory would stand as a testament to his skill at doing just that.”
GM is blasting Romney for the Jeep ad now, calling it “'politics at its cynical worst,’” per the Detroit Free Press.
GM spokesman Greg Martin: “We've clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days. No amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country.”