Strategists say the race is tightening, which was largely expected even before Obama’s flat appearance on the debate stage Wednesday night, when his Republican opponent had arguably the best 90 minutes of his candidacy thus far.
Republican volunteers and strategists in the nine most competitive states are encouraged as never before, saying Romney is squarely back in a contest that was threatening to slip away.
Thirty-six hours after the candidates’ first face-to-face meeting, however, Obama crossed a huge psychological barrier. The government reported Friday that unemployment fell to 7.8 percent in September, down from 8.1 percent. It was the first time since the opening days of Obama’s presidency in 2009 that the rate dipped below 8 percent.