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Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Early Word: The Swings


In Today's Times:

In three swing states, Medicare looms large behind the economy and health care as the most important issue of the campaign, according to the latest Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News polls. Michael Cooper and Dalia Sussman describe voter attitudes in Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin that favor Mr. Obama's approach to the health care program for older Americans over the proposal offered by Mitt Romney and his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan. Adding Mr. Ryan to the Republican ticket seems to have helped Mr. Romney in Wisconsin and Florida, where Mr. Obama's lead has narrowed to a statistical tie.

Campaigning in key states on Wednesday, Mitt Romney tried to rise above distractions and return to his economic message in Iowa, while President Obama focused on education in Nevada, Ashley Parker and Mark Landler write. Debates over abortion and Medicare have dominated the political conversa tion since Representative Todd Akin's controversial remarks on rape and Mr. Romney's selection of Mr. Ryan as his running mate.

Mr. Akin's rape remarks and the Republican Party's decision to endorse an anti-abortion plank at its convention may have knocked Mitt Romney off balance, but his advisers are betting that the Republican candidate's message on the economy will still resonate with women voters when the debate over rape and reproductive rights subsides. Michael D. Shear and Jonathan Weisman write that the bet is a risky one as Republicans seek to narrow the gender divide between Republicans and Democrats.

Ties to President Obama's surrogates appear to have helped an Illinois-based energy utility get access to top government officials at crucial moments in the shaping of the administration's energy policies and programs, Eric Lipton writes. While the White House and Exelon said the company received no favorable treatment, the seemingly easy access to offici als that Exelon enjoyed has angered its competitors at a time when the White House faces skepticism from conservatives over its energy policy.

Ann Romney's speech on Monday night at the Republican National Convention may not be seen by ABC, CBS, and NBC viewers since the broadcasters have cut coverage of the conventions to three hours a night. Jeremy W. Peters writes that the networks' decision to bank instead on original programming has left the Romney campaign furious, but the broadcasters believe viewers are tiring of political coverage.

Happening in Washington:
Economic data expected today include weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m., followed at 10 by new home sales for July and weekly mortgage rates.

At 10, Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, will discuss results of the Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times swing state poll at the National Press Club.

At 1:30 p.m., officials at the Natio nal Cathedral are expected to make an announcement about the effort to restore and preserve the structure, which was damaged last year in an earthquake.

At 7:30 p.m., Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. will deliver remarks at the Lavender Law Conference, the annual gathering of the LGBT Bar Association.