3:10 pm ET
My Take with Andrea Mitchell on her eponymous MSNBC program on Mitt’s calibration:
ANDREA MITCHELL: This move to the center, there’s no complaint from conservatives. Is it that they are so eager to defeat President Obama that they, right now, say, anything that works is okay with them?
MARK HALPERIN: Well, Romney has had, as you know, a troubled relationship with certain elements of the right. Even after he picked Paul Ryan, there was a brief honeymoon period there, people held their tongue for a while but then the criticism started again. I think, certainly, the conventional wisdom amongst the chattering class now is the debate performance will quiet critics on the right and he can get away with saying things, moving more to the center. I think two things about that. One, I think it’s being overstated how much he’s actually changing positions or even rhetoric from some of the things he’s previously said, for good or for ill. But, I just don’t see the cosmic switch to the center as much as some others do. And the other thing is, I think, if he has a bad debate in two weeks, I’m not sure the right will be silenced all the way through election day. He’s got a tentative hold there, just as he does on the “new Romney” meme that is helping him right now.
MARK HALPERIN: I agree there’s some tonal shift. I’m saying the issue positons I don’t think are changed as starkly. And keep in mind, what did he do yesterday besides a rally in Virginia? He went to a CPAC meeting in Colorado, got the NRA endorsement, which they rolled out, and did an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox. So, if there’s a pivot to the center, it’s not unidirectional.