According to the Washington Post, the Romney campaign has learned from focus groups in Ohio that voters, especially female voters, think that President Obama is hiding something when it comes to Libya. I don’t know how they could have gotten that idea.
The public’s realization that Obama isn’t leveling on Libya probably helps explain why the president has lost most, if not all, of the advanatage he once held with voters in the realm of foreign policy. Three weeks after the Benghazi attacks, as we entered October, polls showed the president with a 15 point advantage over Rommey on the question of who is more capable of handling foreign affairs. According to the Post, that gap has narrowed considerably. If the gap exists at all, it is probably in the low single digits (a Pew poll had it at 4 percent).
Moreover, the gap has narrowed despite the fact that Mitt Romney, thwarted in part by Candy Crowley, failed to argue Libya effectively in the second debate. If Romney does better tonight, whatever might be left of Obama’s poll lead in foreign policy could well evaporate, if not turn into a lead for Romney.
But even if Obama is able to double-talk his way around the Libya issue tonight, the electorate’s sense that he is hiding something probably will continue to haunt him. And ads like the one from American Crossroads that concludes by asking “What did the president know and when did he know it?” probably will continue to resonate.