Cracks in the “Blue Wall.”

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Prilosec OTC has been ordered in bulk quantities at the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago. That’s because the “Blue Wall,” states that formed a protective barrier surrounding safe Obama campaign Electoral College votes, has begun to crumble. And the second presidential debate on October 16 at Hofstra University has thus assumed ultimate importance.

According to Real Clear Politics and as can be seen by comparing the two maps on this page, among states that could be characterized as either “likely Obama” or “lean Obama,” the president has lost 64 electoral votes since October 7. With respect to Electoral College votes that candidates can count on, the difference between Obama and Romney stands at only ten electors with 146 votes now classified as toss-ups.

This is a dramatic shift in a very short time and at a very late stage in the campaign.

As recently as September 30 and as depicted on the map below, the president had 265 Electoral Votes in the solid, likely or lean categories, just five shy of the 270 needed to win re-election. Only 82 Electoral College votes were characterized as toss-ups, a number that was mathematically sufficient for a Romney win but practically requiring too perfect a confluence of events and circumstances as to be a viable path to victory.

According to the Real Clear Politics averages of recent polls, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio have all moved in the past week from “lean Obama” to toss-up. Since the first of the month, only New Mexico, with its five electoral votes, has moved in Obama’s direction, and that only from leans to likely, making no difference in Obama’s electoral math. Obama has, in the past week, lost 68 Electoral College votes in just five states.

As a result, Romney’s hitherto impossibly narrow path to electoral victory has become wider and straighter. If, for example, Pennsylvania were to break for Romney, a loss of Ohio becomes bearable for Romney. Ten electoral votes from Wisconsin could offset a loss in Iowa or Colorado. Romney, instead of having one twisting, narrow and impossibly difficult path to Electoral College victory, suddenly can see multiple paths to the magic number of 270 votes.

All of this is occurring for the Obama campaign just as uncomfortable revelations regarding last month’s attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya are coming to light. With respect to the tragic deaths of four American diplomatic personnel, increasingly, even the mainstream press is starting to detect the unmistakable whiff of scandal.

Tomorrow will mark the beginning of the 21-day countdown to election day. Tomorrow evening will provide us with the second presidential debate featuring what will no doubt be a much chastened and energized President Obama.

Much can change.

Still, one can’t help but believe that heartburn is epidemic this morning in Chicago at the Obama campaign headquarters.

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