8:15 a.m. E.T.
My “Morning Joe” Take on the Big 3, plus the Romney paths without the Old Dominion, and the Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 poll showing a six-point Romney lead along Florida’s I-4 corridor:
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: In Florida, Mitt Romney leads President Obama, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls. When you break it down, it’s Central Florida where the President needs a boost. Along the Interstate 4 corridor, where the state’s races are often decided, likely voters are siding with Mitt Romney, 51 to 45 percent.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: I’ve always said elections are won in the suburbs of Philadelphia and the I-4 corridor. Most Florida insiders now thinking that Florida is firmly in Mitt Romney’s camp. The I-4 corridor, a six point gap, and, Mark Halperin, that’s a fairly significant gap for an area that Bill Clinton carried in ’96 and that President Obama carried.
MARK HALPERIN: If that poll’s accurate, Romney will win Florida, for sure. If he’s going to carry I-4 by that big a margin and most indications are that he’s going to win the state. However, you have to point out, the Obama campaign says they’re competing in all the battleground states and they are. The President’s one event today is in Florida with Bill Clinton, 10 o’clock this morning, right in the middle of the I-4 corridor. So they’re competing there. They’re not giving up. They’re using their most precious asset today, one Obama visit with Bill Clinton, to go to Florida. So they’re not giving up but there’s no question Romney has an edge there right now.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, you usually have, Mika, North Florida against South Florida and Central Florida being what makes a difference.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: This Washington Post poll showing a four-point lead in Virginia, that’s just as bad news for Republicans as the Ohio poll was good news.
MARK HALPERIN: I thought for a while that people were overly assuming Virginia and thinking, well, Romney couldn’t win Ohio and, in some ways, Ohio is a better state for him. Virginia has all the groups, in big numbers, that are the President’s base: younger voters, Hispanics, African-Americans, suburban women. I think the Romney campaign might have to start thinking about a path with Ohio but without Virginia, which is doable but it does involve, therefore, winning another big state or two to make up for that loss.
WILLIE GEIST: That’s what I was going to ask you. As you look at that electoral map, we’ve always said, well, he’s got to win Ohio. Ohio is going to decide it. But if he does not get Virginia, where else does he look then?
MARK HALPERIN: Maybe in Iowa. Maybe Wisconsin. Certainly Colorado. Maybe Minnesota or Pennsylvania, both of which are enough in play that the Obama campaign is playing some defense there. But he can do it if he can win some combination of Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, and New Hampshire.
MARK HALPERIN: Willie asked, if he doesn’t get Virginia, is it still possible? The answer is yes. Give [Romney] North Carolina and Florida. Give him Colorado. And give him Ohio but don’t give him Virginia. That leaves it 262 Romney — 256 Obama.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: What if he wins Iowa?
MARK HALPERIN: Iowa is not quite enough. He would need either Wisconsin or both Iowa and New Hampshire. Either of those — any two of the three or just Wisconsin. So it’s doable without Virginia.
Watch the video above.