GOP Chairman Priebus: Romney has momentum, not Obama

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Monday insisted momentum is with the GOP and downplayed the idea that Mitt Romney didn’t get much of a bounce from his convention.

Priebus argued voters are worse off than they were four years ago and that armed with that fact, Republicans will win in November.

“The nice thing about where we’re at — and it’s unfortunate — but, you know, the facts going into closing argument are on our side,” Priebus said at an event in Charlotte designed to counter the Democratic National Convention.

“And there’s nothing better in a closing argument than having the facts on your side,” he said.

Priebus and Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanOn The Money: Senate confirms Gensler to lead SEC | Senate GOP to face off over earmarks next week | Top Republican on House tax panel to retire Trump faces test of power with early endorsements Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.) both said Monday that Obama would have a tough time making the case for a second term, given the current difficulties the country faces.

But polls taken since the Republican convention show the Obama-Romney race is still a nip-and-tuck affair, and Gallup said Monday that people in the United States gave Romney’s acceptance speech last week lower marks than any nominee’s address since 1996.

Priebus had suggested before the Tampa convention that Romney would get a “visible” bounce, though Romney’s own camp also tried to tamp down expectations.

For his part, Priebus said Monday that Romney had gotten “tiered” bumps, with both the convention last week and the mid-August announcement of Ryan as his running mate giving him small boosts.

The RNC chairman also said Monday that, if the election were held today, Romney would win in his home state of Wisconsin, as well as Florida, Iowa and Virginia. (Ohio, meanwhile, is a toss-up, Priebus said.)

He suggested undecided voters would break to the GOP.

“If you would’ve said two years ago that we’d be able to finish a selection with two and three times the cash on hand that the Democratic National Committee has, and we’d be sitting here today basically tied going into two months — most people would say, ‘Fantastic,’ ” Priebus said at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.