Between number 2 and 3

18 Oct

From now until the final presidential debate, and maybe even after that, President Obama and Mitt Romney will continue their fight over…the four Ls.

Each is a symbol of a larger issue.

1. Libya

It’s about presidential leadership, accountability, the US approach to perils and possibilities of the so-called Arab Spring and the gathering threat of what appears to be a reconstituted Qaida-inspired terror cells in North Africa.

After the debate, Romney advisers and supporters admitted the governor was far from skillful when he confronted Obama.

“We’ll have to spend a couple of days unpacking Libya,” one admited.

But top Republicans say the continued scrutiny of what Obama said about the attacks – calling them “acts of terror” while for days also saying it as an act of mob violence touched off by a Web video – might actually help Romney.

The Libya thing could end up being a nightmare for Obama.

Romney is sure to revisit this as much as he can.

2. Ledbette

It’s about the first law Obama signed.

It actually dealt with the time available to litigate equal-pay disputes but has become a proxy for a bundle of issues like access to and subsides for contraception, abortion rights, fair treatment for women in the workplace, and education.

This has historically commanded the attention of suburban women in close, all-other-things-being-equal elections.

Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, voted against passage of the bill and Romney opposed it when it was before Congress but says he would not repeal it now.

Obama is sure to revisit this as much as he can.

3. Lying

Something that both campaigns are accusing the other of doing.

What made Democrats happy about Obama’s performance was his aggressive criticism of Romney’s current policies, his record as governor, and how he’s tried to waffle on issues like tax cuts, immigration, and Wall Street reform since the primaries.

Romney advisers say Obama fudged the facts on Libya, misstated the price tag of Romney’s tax plan, and was misleading about energy production on federal lands.

Moreover, they say the bigger problem for Obama was his tendency to duck direct questions on high gasoline prices, the lack of beefed up security for U.S. diplomatic personnel in Libya, and why he didn’t keep a promise to submit a comprehensive immigration reform bill in his first year in office.

Both sides are sure to revisit this as much as they can.

4. Lame

The Obama economic record and whether it is his fault or former President George W. Bush’s.

For Romney’s team, as it has been throughout the campaign, nothing matters more and no ground will be won or lost that doesn’t march over the mound of economic satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

The Romney campaign says it will continue to “prosecute the president on his economic record.”

Romney’s advisers know polling data from the first two debates show he won in both times on the question of who can better run the economy.

This may be the biggest battle of all for both sides.

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