I am not one of those who obsessively add up electoral college numbers and calculate the implications of a shift in any given state–like, say, Wisconsin. But Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan held a rally tonight in Waukesha, Wisconsin, a Republican stronghold, that was attended by 10,000 or more screaming fans–a striking contrast to the Obama rally in Chicago today, where hardly anyone showed up. If Wisconsin goes Republican, can Obama win? Perhaps not. NBC reports.
Most interesting to me was Mitt Romney’s response to a Democratic Party heckler that infiltrated the rally:
The energy generated by Ryan seemed to inspire the man at the top of ticket, who took on a heckler midway through his own remarks, then turned the moment into an indictment of President Obama’s campaign, who’s [Sic: Do they have editors at NBC?] tactics have riled Romney in recent weeks.
“You see young man, this group here is respectful of other people’s rights to be heard,” Romney said as the heckler was removed. “And you ought to find yourself a different place to be disruptive, because here we believe in listening to people with dignity and respect.”
“There’s no question but if you follow the campaign of Barack Obama, he’s going to do everything in his power to make this the lowest, meanest negative campaign in history. We’re not going to let that happen,” Romney continued. “This is going to be a campaign about ideas about the future of America. This is a campaign about greatness, about America’s future for your children, for the world. Mr. President, take your campaign out of the gutter, let’s talk about the real issues that America faces.”
Barack Obama, of course, can’t take his campaign out of the gutter, because if he does so he will have to talk about his record, and then he will lose. But Romney has the right idea. This campaign will be all about substance vs. smear, and Romney and Ryan should constantly challenge the Democrats to talk about the issues.
UPDATE: Wow. Here it is; watch Romney in action, pushing back against hecklers and challenging Obama to get out of the gutter. He is really, really good: