The election is still a day away, but the political pundits who might be on the losing side of the vote are already preparing their excuses for what went wrong. The early line coming from some Republicans is that Hurricane Sandy really put the brakes on Mitt Romney's campaign, just at the moment he was staging a powerful comeback. Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour gave that idea its own forward push on the Sunday morning talk shows, explicitly saying that “The hurricane is what broke Romney's momentum."
He's not the only one who thinks that either. None other than super-strategist Karl Rove admitted that the storm was a distraction from Romney's economic message and it also gave President Obama a chance to play the roll of "comforter-in-chief." Despite the "stutter" in the campaign, as Rove called it, he told The Washington Post that he still thinks Romney wins Ohio and the election, but there's no doubt in his mind that the hurricane and its aftermath made his job a lot harder.
Then there's the private "insiders" behind the Romney curtain who are also complaining about the storm's impact on their fortunes. They claim their internal polls showed Romney picking up support for eight straight days before Sandy arrived, but the break in the campaign robbed him of the Big Mo.
Should Mitt Romney lose a close fight on Tuesday, there's no question that Sandy will become a dominant theme for the Wednesday morning quarterbacks and may even become a fixture of the story as it is retold by future historians. We'll never know whether the Romney Surge was a real thing or if he'd be ahead right now had Sandy never showed up, but for at least one Twitter user this current reading of the situation wasn't the least bit surprising. He called it last week:
Prediction: polls don't change much and Obama wins. Republicans remember this for decades as Mitt having momentum and a hurricane ending it.— Eric Nelson (@ericatwiley) October 31, 2012