2:21 p.m. E.T.
My latest take on the challenger’s most likely paths from “Andrea Mitchell Reports”:
ANDREA MITCHELL: Let’s take a look at the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist battleground polls today. Iowa, President up but Wisconsin and New Hampshire, we’re talking about a really closely fought race.
MARK HALPERIN: Based on the totality of the public and private polling, the onus is still on Governor Romney to demonstrate he can get to 270 electoral votes. The President still has more paths and clearer paths. I think Governor Romney starts with a challenge, which is Florida, North Carolina, and Colorado. If he can win those three, and I think he’s got a decent chance in all of them, although the President hasn’t given up, certainly, on Colorado and Florida at least, if he can win those three, then he needs to find a couple other options. One is to just win Ohio. If he can’t win Ohio — and Virginia also, he needs to win Virginia also. If he can’t win Ohio, then he needs to find another way. The states in those three polls you just showed, as well as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, he needs to find a way to offset a loss in Ohio. Ohio is still the simplest way and maybe the most competitive but I think the reason they are looking at these other options is they know they can’t count on Ohio. If they can put those other building blocks in place — the three Southern states and Colorado — they need to find one or two other states, may or may not include Ohio.
Watch the video above.