Ronald Kessler reporting from Tampa, Fla. —
As the GOP convention begins here, Mitt Romney is well positioned to win the presidency and should pull it off by five to seven percentage points, Dave Keene, former chairman of the American Conservative Union, tells Newsmax.
“For all of the money that President Obama is spending — and he is burning it at a very rapid rate — he doesn’t seem to be making much progress,” Keene says. “It is still very, very close between the two of them, and I think with the GOP convention, Romney will probably get a four to five point jump, and people will take a new look at him after the convention.”
Keene is one of the country’s sharpest political observers. As far back as June 2011, Keene told me for a Newsmax story that Romney would be the likely GOP candidate. Just after Obama was elected president, Keene said that he “did not win for the reasons he thinks he did, and he can be counted on to overreach, helping to return Republicans to power.”
“What Romney has done with the selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate is make it clear that he wants this to be an election about big ideas and that he’s really going to make it a referendum on big versus limited government, on deficits versus spending restraints,” Keene says.
Democrats think choosing Ryan was a mistake because it opens up the issue of entitlement reform, but that thinking is more than a decade out of date, Keene says. As noted in my story "Norquist: Paul Ryan’s Budget Helps Romney Win
," most Americans are now aware of the need to address the looming government financial crisis, and the Republican wins in the last congressional election demonstrated that.
“Ryan understands the budget, and he understands the issues, and he is willing to articulate arguments in favor of the reforms that he believes are necessary and that Romney thinks are necessary,” Keene says. “That’s what I think sort of frightens the Democrats and makes them go on the attack immediately against Ryan.”
Keene says the Romney campaign operation is disciplined.
“They keep their eye on the ball, and they do not get diverted very easily by these other kinds of peripheral issues,” Keene says. “They just keep going on their game plan, and this year that’s exactly what they should be doing.”
Because of the sharp differences in the direction Romney or Obama would take, each candidate’s base is fired up.
“This election isn’t going to be a race just about whether this guy has a better smile or a better haircut or all of the things that the popular media likes to look at,” Keene says. “This is a race about the direction voters want the country to go in, and the difference is going to be clearer than it has been in any election in a long time, certainly since Ronald Reagan, and that gets people involved because it’s about big questions and it challenges them,” Keene says.
As a result of the intensity on both sides, Obama’s defeat will not be as lopsided as was Jimmy Carter’s, Keene predicts. Ronald Reagan triumphed over Carter by 10 percentage points in the popular vote and won a landslide in the Electoral College.
“I think that you are more likely to get a five to seven percentage-point difference,” Keene says. In addition, “We could pick up six to eight seats in the Senate.”
If Romney is president and Republicans win both houses of Congress, “Romney is going to be able to make the changes that he wants to make,” Keene says.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is the New York Times best-selling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. Read more reports from Ronald Kessler — Click Here Now.
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