Obama up in battlegrounds

Obama up big in key states; Romney backs down; and other top Friday stories

Published September 14, 2012 12:52PM (EDT)

Obama up: A new round of polls brings a new round of good news for the Obama campaign. Over the last seven days, the president has gained 3.4 percent in the Real Clear Politics average of all credible polls. A new NBC/WSJ poll of likely voters out today finds good numbers in battleground states: In Florida, Obama leads 49 to 44; Ohio is at Obama 50, Romney 43; and Virginia comes in at Obama 49, Romney 44. The poll also found that most voters in the swing states have already made up their minds, with just 5 to 6 percent saying they remain undecided. Meanwhile, a new New York Times/CBS poll finds Obama leading by 3 points nationally.

Romney backs down: Mitt Romney softened his attacks on Obama’s foreign policy in an interview with ABC News last night, saying that he wanted to move on. “What I said was exactly the same conclusion the White House reached, which was that the statement was inappropriate. That’s why they backed away from it as well,” Romney said. He also refused to take the bait on Obama’s charge that Romney tends to “shoot first, aim later.” “Well, this is politics. I’m not going to worry about the campaign,” Romney said.

But not his advisers: Romney also made available his senior foreign policy advisers to the Washington Post, who were much more eager to slam the president. The advisers literally promised that the “deadly protests sweeping the Middle East would not have happened if the Republican nominee were president.” How could be promise that? What would be different? Romney would ensure there’s “a sense of American resolve,” the advisers explained.

High alert: U.S. embassies and consulates across the Middle East are on high alert after the attacks on the diplomatic outposts in Egypt and Libya. Friday is the typical day of protests in Muslim countries. "We are in a full-court press at every single one of the posts in the Middle East and anywhere else there is any chance of demonstrations after Friday services to make sure nothing bad happens -- and to have the security in place in case bad things do happen," one senior administration official said Thursday.

Obama gaffe: Obama had his own foreign policy blunder yesterday when he told Telemundo that Egypt is not an ally of the United States. The State Department quickly followed up saying the country is, indeed, a “Major non-NATO ally.” The question put Obama in an awkward spot because he would have surely been slammed by Republicans if he had answered in the affirmative, given the new Muslim Brotherhood leadership in the country. The U.S. Egyptian alliance had been solidified during the authoritarian Mubarak regime days.

By Alex Seitz-Wald

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