7:25 a.m. E.T.
From “Morning Joe”:
MARK HALPERIN: There were two fundamentals that were keeping the President as the heavy favorite, as far as I was concerned, to win re-election, for a long time. One was the Electoral College and the fact that he started with a larger Electoral College base. Governor Romney really needed to win almost all the toss-ups. And the second thing that he had a big advantage on was defining Mitt Romney as an unacceptable choice, that you couldn’t vote for Mitt Romney and that Romney was going to have a ceiling. The first debate had such a big impact on making Romney seem like an acceptable choice and it also, now, has changed the balance in the Electoral College. If Governor Romney is able to win the three Southern states of the nine toss-ups — Florida, Virginia, North Carolina — and Ohio; he’s not a favorite in Ohio but he’s now got in position to win Ohio. You look at that map, all of that red, that gets him to 266 if he can take Ohio. And, I talked to two Democrats yesterday who now think it’s possible that the President’s position in Ohio will erode to such an extent that he can lose it. 266 means all Governor Romney would need to do is win one of those five toss-ups in yellow and that’s a huge change. That map gives Governor Romney the Electoral College advantage that the President has long enjoyed.
WILLIE GEIST: Mark, we should be clear, if you look at that map, you’re not calling Ohio right now.
MARK HALPERIN: No, not at all. But I was struck yesterday at how some Democrats now believe that what had been a clear advantage in Ohio for a long time is now something that is eroded. Governor Romney, if he’s an acceptable choice, not just nationally but in Ohio, I think he’s a strong Ohio candidate in a state that, two years ago, elected a Republican governor, a Republican senator in contested races.
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