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Aides Fight Over Who Is More Confident in Ohio

Campaign aides used their appearances on the Sunday talk shows to fight over who is more confident they're going to win in Ohio next week, while Republicans come to the defense of Richard Mourdock. 

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Reince Priebus knows why the Republicans are going to win on election day. Elections, just like football, are decided by a campaign's ground game. Democrats "are a fraction of where they were in 2008, and we’re far ahead of where we were in 2008. And our ground game is better than their ground game," Priebus said on State of the Union. "We’re going to do more voter contacts this year compared to all of 2008 and all of 2004 combined," he said. "We have an army on the ground." Priebus was so excited about their ground game that he actually sounded like a football coach while endorsing the campaign's grassroots efforts. "We’ve built our campaign and organization for this very close race," he said. "And we are very confident where we are now and where we’re going to be on Nov 6." Maybe he can take over the Jets after Rex Ryan gets fired in two weeks.

Karl Rove said things are moving, slowly but surely, for Mitt Romney in the big swing states during his appearance on Fox News Sunday. Rove sees "movement toward Romney, but slow and [that's] simply because we're getting down to a very thin group of people left undecided." Rove said he's confident of the campaign's chances in Ohio because of their vaunted ground game. He said Romney had "busted the metrics for the 2004 campaign," by knocking on over 2 million doors, and the decline in absentee ballots is hurting the Obama campaign.

Meanwhile, Obama surrogate Stephanie Cutter isn't sweating the Republicans ramped up effort in Ohio, or a new poll showing the two candidates are tied in the state. "We feel pretty good about where we are on the ground there," Cutter said during her appearance on ABC's This Week. "In many cases, we are beating Mitt Romney three-to-one in the early vote," she said. "Our people are turning out, and they are turning out very in very high numbers. We feel very good about Ohio and we think we’re gonna win it." She also wasn't sweating the Des-Moines Register's Romney endorsement, their first Republican endorsement in forty years. "It was a little surprising to read that editorial because it didn’t seem to be based at all in reality, not just in the president’s record but in Mitt Romney’s record," Cutter said. "It says he’d reach across the aisle when he’d do the exact opposite... He’s never once stood up to the far extreme right wing."

If Ohio Gov. John Kasich was a betting man, he'd be calling his bookie right now and placing a bet for a Romney victory. He says he finally believes Romney is going to win his state. "I believe right now we are currently ahead, internals show us currently ahead," Kasich said on NBC's Meet the Press. "I honestly think that Romney is going to carry Ohio, and you know I haven't been saying this. I now believe it is going to happen." Kasich pointed to Romney's first debate performance as a turning point for undecided voters in Ohio. "It's going to be really close," Kasich said. "I do think we will know before the end of the night. I'm not sure it's going to be as close as everybody is saying."

Sen. Ron. Johnson thinks people in Wisconsin don't care enough about Mourdock's rape comments  that it will have an effect on his chances next week. "It's not even an issue here in Wisconsin," Johnson said on Fox News Sunday. "It doesn't even move the radar at all." He said only one person has asked him about Mourdock's rape comments. One! Voters care more about the White House's handling of the Benghazi attacks, according to Johnson. Confirming this is the new Republican party talking point on embarrassing rape comment discussions, Priebus echoed that sentiment during his State of the Union appearance. "I don’t think any party has a monopoly on gaffes. Clearly people running for office misspeak and they make mistakes," Priebus said. "The reality is overwhelmingly the people out there are not talking about what Richard Mourdock said. They are talking about the economy and what happened in Benghazi." But, when Crowley brought up John Sununu's race remarks, he did admit the gaffes can be a distraction to the campaign. "I mean you want people to be disciplined," he said. "And if people misspeak, and for no apparent reason cause small brush fires on their own that’s a distraction."

Another person defending Richard Mourdock: Newt Gingrich. The former GOP Presidential hopeful used his appearance on This Week to try and clarify what Mourdock really meant when he said pregnancy caused by rape is "God's will." "If you listen to what Mourdock actually said, he said what every Catholic and every fundamentalist in the country believes: Life begins at conception,” Gingrich said. "But the radical on abortion is Obama who as a state senator voted three times in favor of allowing doctors to kills babies in the eight or ninth month that they were born, having survived late night abortion," he added, "and the Democratic Party platform, which says that you should pay with your tax money for late-term abortions."

John McCain used his appearance on CBS's Face the Nation to continue deriding the President for his handling of the Benghazi consulate attacks. "This tragedy turned into a debacle and massive cover-up or massive incompetence in Libya is having an impact on the voters because of their view of the commander in chief," McCain said. "It is now the worst cover-up or incompetence I have ever observed in my life. ..." said McCain. "Somebody the other day said to me, 'Well, this is as bad as Watergate.' Nobody died in Watergate."

If you're looking for someone to try and guess how hurricane Sandy is going to affect the election, do not ask David Axelrod. He has no idea. CNN's State of the Union host Candy Crowley tried to get it out of him, but he wouldn't bite. "Were most concerned about people. This storm could affect 50 million people," David Axelrod said. Axelrod did acknowledge that damage from the storm, if it ends up being as serious as they're predicting, could make it difficult for some people to get to the polls.  "The best thing we can do is to focus on how we can help people, and hope it all clears out by next weekend," he said.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.