They Can’t Both Be Right

From “Obama vs. Romney:  How they plan to win,” Glenn Thrush and Jonathan Martin, Politico:

It’s momentum vs. the map.

With a little more than two weeks left until judgment day, Barack Obama’s campaign is embracing a fundamentally defensive strategy centered on winning Ohio at all costs — while unleashing a new barrage of blistering attacks against Mitt Romney aimed at mobilizing a less-than-fired-up Democratic base.

A surging Romney is suddenly playing offense all over the map, and the upward movement since the Denver debate gives him the luxury of striking what his advisers — and more than a few Democrats — think is a more positive, presidential, “Morning in America” tone.

In contrast to the grind-it-out Obama strategy, Romneyland’s working theory is that the momentum shift since Denver is a late-breaking, decisive wave that gives them the chance to not just win but win big.

But if Obama is currently on the ugly end of Big Mo, Romney finds himself hobbled by previous mistakes, namely a failure to develop competitive ground operations — or even a baseline of competitive advertising — in potential battlegrounds such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, which are becoming more competitive.

Both campaigns are confident they can win. But their theory-of-the-case victory strategies couldn’t be more different. A buoyant Team Romney sees itself driving into Obama territory on a tailwind of enthusiasm. Team Obama is relying on a three-state solution — winning Ohio, Wisconsin and Nevada puts him over the top — and more “Hit Mitt” messaging geared at driving Democrats to the polls, a hybrid of hope and the hammer.

Obama’s people think he will pull it out. Romney’s aides see the possibility of a romp.

“We’re going to win,” said one of the former Massachusetts governor’s closest advisers. “Seriously, 305 electoral votes.”

A top Obama strategist counters: “We’ve regained our footing since Denver. … We’ve always been focused on a pretty narrow band of territory. We’ve always had the map on our side. So, ultimately, this comes down to Ohio plus two or three states. We’re going to win.”  Emphasis added.