We are now less than 100 Days away from Election Day.
Obama and Romney are locked in an exceptionally tight race - a virtual tie.
Here is what will make the difference...
President Obama has a little more than three months to show he has made some real progress on the US economy.
However, he really has no meaningful tools to do anything to change the numbers at this point.
There will be no significant legislation passed in Congress in next few months - things are simply too political.
From now until Election Day, 6 November all attempts at legislation are really just political theatre aimed at the Republican or Democratic base voter.
The across the board sequestration cuts to all federal spending that were a part of the last Debt Limit increase deal, the expiring Bush Tax Cuts and all other items that really will affect average Americans lives and incomes, will simply have to wait until after the Election.
The Federal Reserve could engage in quantitative easing ("QE") which might have an effect on the economy - But No Guarantees!
In the meantime, there are more four chances for good news or bad news.
There are four more jobs reports that will be released before Election Day - Aug 3, Sept 7, Oct 5 and Nov 2 - 4 days before Election Day Nov 6!!!
MONEY TO SPEND - Campaigns versus Super PACs -
The Romney Campaign has out-raised The Obama Campaign for the last few months. It seems likely they may be on target to do this again this month.
In addition to these money problems, the Republican Super PACs are totally outraising the Democratic Super PACs.
The Obama Campaign's "class warfare argument" has offended many of the donors that Obama counted on the last time - and they simply are not giving as much this time.
Obama is bundling people who make more than $250,000 with the Mega Billionaires - like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates etc.-in the same tax bracket.
Obama is also tailoring his message exclusively to the middle class - who frankly are hurting economically and ironically simply don't have the extra money to give to a campaign.
The last time around Obama had a much broader and more inclusive message "There are no red states, there no blue states, we are all Americans..." That Message Is Gone!
Wall Street who gave a lot of money to Obama in 2008 is now giving far more money to Mitt Romney.
Wall Street is unhappy with both the regulations passed by the Obama Administration and the message and tone of the campaign.
What does more money mean?
It means more ads, bigger ground staff in the key battleground states, more trips to each battleground state by the candidates and their surrogates, etc.
Which candidate has the enthusiasm and can turn out their voters?
Both the candidates themselves and the issues will control this to a large part.
Interestingly, neither the Republican base nor the Democratic base is exceptionally excited about their candidates for different reasons.
The Republicans are enthusiastic about defeating President Obama however, they are not terribly excited by Mitt Romney.
Romney has yet to win over the far right of his party, many Christian Conservatives - the Mormon issue. plays here as well.
Additionally this week's foreign trip with its many miss steps may cause some Republican leaning Independent voters to have second thoughts as to whether Romney is ready for this very demanding job on the international stage.
Romney could add some excitement to his ticket with a VP pick. However all indications are he will not do this with a 'Sarah Palin' choice.
All sources are still indicating that he is still likely to pick Rob Portman, Tim Pawlenty, Paul Ryan or Bobby Jindal.
Of that group Jindal might add a little more excitement or a female choice including Kelley Ayotte, Mary Fallin or Nikki Haley could do this as well.
Romney has very high negatives at the moment - higher than usual for any other challenger at this time in the election cycle.
The Democratic base are not as excited about Obama this time as they were the last time. The fact is Obama has not turned around the economy- although some could argue that he prevented it from falling off the cliff.
There is no denying it is improving, but very slowly. And that is really hard to run on.
Obama will have a tough time running on the success of his economic record alone - So he is not!
Unlike the last successful two term Democratic President, Bill Clinton - who touted the laundry list of his economic accomplishments at the drop of a hat.
Most voters believe the country is on the wrong track and are not optimistic about the economy.
No president has ever been re-elected with an unemployment rate over 8% - since WWII.
However the Obama team is experienced in getting out the vote!
WHO CAN CAST THEIR VOTE?
There are approximately 33 States - many are 'Battleground States' - that have independently changed their laws on voting requirements - including requiring specific IDs, limiting early voting, etc.
This voting issue - called by some on the progressive side "Voter Suppression" - is metastasizing and has the potential to Influence The Outcome Of This Election!!!
It is a key factor to watch and could make Election Night a very long and chaotic one as well - like 2000.
This time the Republican Candidate will announce the choice of his VP running mate before their Convention in Tampa, Florida.
As a result the RNC is likely to be an opportunity for Romney and his running mate to "reintroduce themselves" to the American people- A Huge Infomercial.
There will also be a cast of high powered Republican speakers like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie playing a major roles.
This is also likely to be a huge Democratic Infomercial for Barack Obama and Joe Biden in Charlotte North Carolina. This DNC is already having problems since some of the Democrats in conservative states are not even attending (they think being seen with Obama could hurt their re-election chances).
However and a Big However - former President Bill Clinton is now scheduled to play a central role at he DNC and formally place Obama's name in nomination, making a forceful 'prime time' economic argument of why Obama deserves another term.
This time the Debates may make a difference. These are truly high stake events for both candidates.
As is always the case neither can afford to make any major mistakes.
Obama will have created high expectations - he is known as an excellent speaker.
Romney has had a lot of practice during the Republican primaries - so don't sell him short.
The American voters will be listening very carefully to see what these two candidates plan to do on the issues of Jobs, the Budget, the Deficit, Gas Prices, Syria, Iran, etc.
They will also be analysing both of these men on a very personal level to see who they trust and basically who they want to see in their living rooms for the next four years.
EVENTS, EVENTS, EVENTS
Economic Problems in Europe
Iran, Syria, Israel, China, North Korea, Russia
Terrorism at Home and Abroad
Take Your Pick... The List Goes On!!!!!
This article can also be read on the Sky News Website
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