BOSTON, Mass. – Behind the façade of a nondescript building in Beantown’s north end, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign headquarters is buzzing with activity. Campaign placards, detailed maps of swing state media markets, and other flair adorn the walls. Recycling bins are loaded with telltale empty cans of diet soda. Caffeine might as well be oxygen here. Televisions in the rapid response bullpen are tuned to President Obama’s latest speech in Ohio. As the president thunders about “roads and bridges,” aides watch attentively, exchanging notes and coordinating the campaign’s reaction in real time. Columns of cubicles break up the expansive ground floor, their weary but relentless occupants tapping away on keyboards and juggling several electronic devices apiece. In a sign of the times, a sign hanging in the copy room reads: “Shred everything you wouldn’t want to see #trending” – a cautionary nod to the viral capacity of social media engines such as Twitter. The campaign is accelerating into a full sprint as the 2012 presidential race enters its final leg. Fewer than 50 days remain.
More than 400 Romney staffers are manning Boston battle stations during this electoral home stretch, more than double the manpower the campaign boasted as the primary season petered out in the spring. The third floor is home to the campaign’s brain trust, where high-ranking aides are hunkering down for seven weeks that will paradoxically feel interminable, yet will be over in a flash. Polls show the Democratic ticket received an outsized bounce from their party’s convention in Charlotte at the beginning of the month, juicing Obama’s numbers nationally and in swing states. But that bump is waning, and polling is settling back into a familiar pre-convention holding pattern. Is Obama ahead? Does Romney have the incumbent right where he wants him, or is the election starting to slip away? What is the Republican’s path to those elusive 270 electoral votes required to win the presidency? In an exclusive discussion with TOWNHALL, a cluster of top Romney campaign rainmakers offer frank assessments of the current state of play and attempt to address those very questions.