Romney's repeated reinvention

President Obama’s reelection campaign is busy spinning the latest job report, showing unemployment below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years, trying to move past his dismal debate performance and busily plotting an effective barrage for Mitt Romney when he next debates Obama on Oct. 16. Romney, having finally stopped the bleeding with a stellar debate Wednesday, tried flip-flopping on his infamous comments about not having to “worry” about 47 percent of Americans who are “entitled” moochers, stating suddenly on Thursday that those comments were “completely wrong.”
 
Mitt’s never been one for momentum. Finally a wave to ride and he jumps off the board, letting it veer off to nowhere. His calculation is that those comments — which endeared him to conservatives who urged him to double down on a smaller-government, free-market debate — aren’t polling well so it’s time to ditch them for good. So now they are completely wrong. He never believed that silly talk — truly. No matter that he and his campaign went on an offensive on this very message as a way to turns the lemons of his “inelegant comments” into lemonade just two weeks ago. Yes, an old video of Obama talking about favoring redistribution was used to back up the argument that the country needed less government and entitlement and more opportunity and work instead.
 

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So are those undecided voters who watched Romney’s effective and convincing performance Wednesday night still paying attention? Will they believe the turnaround to a sudden embrace of the 100 percent, as Romney puts it? What’s more important is whether those still persuadable voters are either low-information voters or highly skeptical, highly informed voters. Polls next week will tell whether Romney’s debate win moved the needle. If it didn’t, he needs yet another reinvention — and fast.

One flash poll following the debate showed uncommitted voters changed their minds about Romney during the debate on the issue with which he struggles the most: empathy. According to a CBS News poll when they were asked before the debate whether Romney “cares about your needs and problems,” they responded 30-63 agree/disagree. After the 90 minutes they were asked again and the results flipped to 68-36 agree/disagree.
 
That alone should keep the president up at night. He has not only woefully underestimated Romney, but he might be underestimating uncommitted voters as well. And with Romney’s decision to attempt to disavow his indelible, cannot-be-tweaked comments secretly videotaped at a fundraiser — he is likely underestimating them too.