The Campaign Spot

Mitt’s a Cowboy, Baby, With the Top Let Down & the Sunshine Shinin’

Tuesday’s edition of the Morning Jolt looks at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s latest effort to silence dissent, our newly aggressive neighbors to the north, and then this most unlikely of Michigan team-ups…

Mitt Rock!

I’ll admit, I did not see this team-up coming:

There’s still a day left to campaign, but Michigan native Mitt Romney put an exclamation point on his campaign tonight with an appearance by Detroit rock legend Kid Rock at a rally in Royal Oak.

Romney said the Detroit music legend agreed after getting an promise that Romney would help Michigan and Detroit.

“He loves Michigan and Detroit and so do I,” Romney said before Kid Rock came out and sang what has become one of Romney’s main campaign songs, “Born Free.”

The final rally of the campaign attracted nearly a thousand people, almost all of them Romney supporters, who responded enthusiastically to Romney’s message of lower taxes, less regulation and more jobs.

When Romney jumped on the Harley with the bikers and reenacted the entire “American Bad [Tush]” video with the keg-throwing, fireworks and the women mud-wrestling, I knew we were seeing an entirely different side of the former Massachusetts Governor.

Okay, not really. The entire not-really-that-safe for work video can be found here.

I shouldn’t give Romney too much grief for appearing with Kid Rock, as it seems… er, “Mr. Rock” has matured a lot from his bikinis and “who knew I’d blow up like Oklahoma” days of 2000. While the Veterans of Foreign Wars criticized him for wearing the American flag as a poncho at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, it seemed pretty clear that his sartorial choice was driven by patriotism, not a desire to mock or desecrate the flag. He’s performed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Kosovo, and his preferred charity is Operation Homefront. And one of his most recent big hits, “All Summer Long” has a nostalgic tone that seems kind of sweet in today’s culture. It’s a reminder that Kid Rock is 40. His next gig? Performing with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He contains multitudes.

Then again, maybe Romney needs a Kid Rock effect. Nate Silver wrote Monday afternoon:

Since we ran the Michigan numbers early Monday morning, three new polls are out that make the state look more like a true toss-up and less like one that favors Mr. Romney.

Two of the surveys, from Mitchell Research and American Research Group, in fact give Rick Santorum a nominal lead in Michigan, by 2 and 1 percentage points respectively. The third, from Rasmussen Reports, gives Mr. Romney a 2-point advantage.

We also added a hard-to-track down survey from Baydoun Consulting, which gave Mr. Romney an 8-point advantage. However, it is less recent than the others, having been conducted on Thursday night rather than over the weekend.

Among the five polls that were conducted over the weekend — including those that had been included with the previous update — three give Mr. Romney a small lead while two show an edge for Mr. Santorum.

And of course, there’s the crossover vote:

Michigan Democratic strategist Joe DiSano has taken it upon himself to become a leading mischief maker.

DiSano says he targeted nearly 50,000 Democratic voters in Michigan through email and a robo call to their homes, asking them to go to the polls Tuesday to vote for Rick Santorum in attempt to hurt Romney.

“Democrats can get in there and cause havoc for Romney all the way to the Republican convention,” DiSano told CNN.

“If we can help set that fire in Michigan, we have a responsibility to do so,” he said.

I suppose after Operation Chaos, Republicans can’t complain. Although I don’t recall Rush approvingly using arson metaphors for his actions. (Let me guess, he’s one of those guys who really enjoys Devil’s Night in Detroit, huh?) This is, of course, just one more argument for closed primaries.

But hey, at least it’s only Democratic strategists who are doing this sort of thing, and that the Santorum campaign is discouraging these shenanigans. Right? Right?

Santorum’s campaign, meanwhile, confirmed it was also using a robo call urging Michigan Democrats to cross over and vote for Santorum on Tuesday.

As they say on ESPN, “Oh, come on, man!”

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