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Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney takes the stage at a campaign rally at the airport in Sanford, Florida November 5, 2012. (BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS)
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney takes the stage at a campaign rally at the airport in Sanford, Florida November 5, 2012. (BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS)

Winning the Week: what Obama and Romney got right and wrong over the campaign Add to ...

Each Monday, The Globe invites two strategists – a Democrat and a Republican – to share their take on what each campaign needs to do this week in order to win the White House.

There is little room for the presidential campaigns to strategize now – only the sprint to the finish line and getting supporters to the polling stations.

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Since Oct. 1st, the Globe has invited two strategists – a Republican and a Democrat – to share their insights on a Monday about the campaign moves and must-win moments in the week ahead.

In this final installment of Winning the Week, we asked two strategists to look back at the presidential campaign as a whole and what their candidate’s campaign got right, what it got wrong, and who will prevail in Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election.

GOP strategist Ron Bonjean served as lead spokesman for Republican leaders on Capitol Hill and as head of public affairs to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce in the George W. Bush administration.

What the Romney campaign did right: first presidential debate

“The last 24 hours of the campaign brings a photo finish between President Barack Obama and former governor Mitt Romney. What really mattered in creating such a tight race between the two candidates was Romney’s incredible debate performance.

“He introduced himself to millions of voters as a capable, energetic and visionary candidate who had the right stuff to be President of the United States. “

What the Romney campaign did wrong: failing to tell voters the Romney story

“One would imagine where the poll numbers would be right now if Romney would have been introduced to voters in battleground states over the summer months. The biographical video of Romney shown at the Republican convention would have made for a positive portrayal for the candidate. Instead, the Obama campaign hammered Romney on Bain Capital and worked hard to define him as being out-of-touch. The old cliché is that hindsight is always 20/20 and would have, could have or should have really doesn’t do much for the campaign at this point.”

Prediction: Romney wins electoral college and gets 55 per cent of popular vote

“My prediction is that the enthusiasm generated in the battleground states will likely throw the electoral college math out the window and produce a victory for Romney. My guess is at he will be at over 280 electoral votes and 55 percent of the popular vote. Obama does not have the momentum or enthusiasm that Romney voters are showing at the rallies across the battleground states. His hope is his coalition will turn out the vote.

“While Obama has Hurricane Sandy media coverage to thank for slowing Romney’s momentum, the images of storm victims struggling in the cold could come back to haunt the him in the next 24 hours."

Linda Moore Forbes served in the Clinton White House and worked on Capitol Hill. She is a Democratic Party insider, political consultant and has worked on several presidential campaigns.

What the Obama campaign did right: the early ground game

“They started the ground game early. In the spring of 2011, they began registering new voters – 1.8 million total, twice as many as they registered in 2008 – to expand their base and make up for lack of intensity among some key segments of their 2008 coalition. And, they developed the capacity to engage and turn these and other Obama voters out to vote.

“They defined their opponent early, attacking Mitt Romney’s own basis for running – his supposed success as a businessman good at turning around companies. The Obama campaign ran ads this spring showing blue-collar workers describing Romney as the person who drove their companies into the ground and caused them to lose their jobs, while Romney and Bain [Capital] made huge profits. Those ads have resurfaced in the closing days of the campaign and have really connected, particularly in the industrial Midwest.”

What the Obama campaign did wrong: lack of a second-term agenda

“Explaining and engaging the country in the difficult struggle to bring our economy back from the brink of a depression. Even President Obama has said this is something he would do differently if he could do it over again.

“Convey a clear second-term agenda earlier in the campaign. Discrediting Romney as a viable alternative was very important, but voters needed to know that a second Obama term would be better and different than the first.”

Prediction: Obama wins re-relection with 303 electoral college votes but may lose popular vote

“President Obama will win 303 electoral votes, but the popular vote will be incredibly close, and it is possible that Romney could still win it, especially given the toll Hurricane Sandy has taken on heavily Democratic and vote-rich New York and New Jersey.”

Follow on Twitter: @affanchowdhry

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