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Mitt’s Momentum

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NEW YORK _ Charles K. Black is feeling pretty good about his candidate right about now. That’s because he believes that former Gov. Mitt Romney is moving in the right direction going into the presidential election on Nov. 6.

Black, an informal advisor to the Romney campaign and chairman of the Prime Policy Group, made his comments at SIFMA’s annual meeting on Tuesday, the morning after the televised debate on foreign policy in which Republican challenger faced off against President Barack Obama.

It’s still a “very close race,” Black said during the session entitled “Political Panel: Elections and the Economy.” However, Romney “has the momentum and nothing last night happened to change that,” Black emphasized.

On the other hand, MSNBC political analyst Karen Finney, who has worked on campaigns for many Democrats including former President Bill Clinton, said “the sheer volatility [of this year’s race] has defied the conventional wisdom.” While Finney agreed that Romney performed well in the first debate-- one that was largely proclaimed a win for Romney -- she said that the president still has the demographics of the U.S. voting population in his favor.

But do debates really make a difference?  Kenneth E.  Bentsen, Jr., SIFMA’s executive vice president of public policy and advocacy asked the panelists. 

“The debates are more important than ever,” Mark McKinnon responded. The co-founder of No Labels, a non-profit group devoted to bipartisanship, McKinnon said that voters are becoming more cynical about the campaign ads they see so they turn to the debates to get insights into the characters and policies of each candidate. And “most people liked what they saw” of Mitt Romney during the first debate, he said. It “got Romney back in play as a credible” leader, he said. Meanwhile, despite Obama’s strong performances in the second and third debates, McKinnon didn’t believe that will make as much as a difference for the president.

And if Romney were to win what would be the fate of the Dodd-Frank reform law, Black was asked by one conference attendee. Black said he believed that Romney would like to repeal and replace the controversial legislation or at least rewrite parts of it.  In a previous session, SIFMA’s president and chief executive Timothy Ryan said that the trade organization does not support repeal of Dodd-Frank but that the “reform process is not working effectively.”


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