Both White House campaigns: we’re winning

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Somebody in the White House race is being economical with the truth — because both sides say they are winning. A devious game of bluff and spin is unfolding as campaign aides shape the political endgame over voters scattered across suburbs and prairies, mountains and deserts who will decide on November 6 who is the next president. With the race down to an unlucky for someone last 13 days, after the most compelling set of presidential debates in history, President Barack Obama’s high command insists he is poised for victory. But confidence is blooming on Republican Mitt Romney’s plane that after months lagging behind, their man is building a wave that could crest at the White House. Ahead lie long days of snap decisions on resources and where to fight, frenzied get-out-the-vote efforts and tears of joy and defeat, as Romney and Obama burn through jet fuel and roar themselves hoarse before huge crowds. Democrats are cheered by the president’s strong comeback in the final two debates, after his shockingly disengaged showing in the first eroded a moderate lead he had spent months building. Obama aides quickly tried to squelch a growing media narrative of a rising Romney Tuesday, after Obama’s failure to knock him out in the debates, and the Republican’s clear erosion of the president’s cushion in opinion polls. Since winning 270 electoral votes needed to capture the White House may depend on who turns out core voters in the biggest numbers, Obama can ill afford to risk voter enthusiasm with storylines predicting defeat. Romney’s crew meanwhile seems to be having trouble keeping a lid on their excitement. “We’re going to win … seriously, 305 electoral votes,” a Romney advisor was quoted as saying Monday in Politico’s Playbook, a daily tipsheet and conventional wisdom setter. That kind of bullishness would have been unthinkable before the first debate, when talk was more about when Republican money men would peel away from the ticket topper. Romney operatives have for months posited the idea that undecided voters, down on the president in a tough economy, would tip their way in the final weeks. Romney’s team feels good about the biggest battle ground Florida and trends in North Carolina and in tied-up Virginia, all Obama states in 2008. “Florida’s one of those states, it’s like a freight liner, and once it turns – and I think it’s turned – it’s hard to turn back,” Madden said on a state where Romney leads the RealClearPolitics polling average by nearly two points. But the Obama team has an opposite, and equally credible view of the election, and says Republicans have bought into an electoral mirage.