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Political Strategy Notes

This latest New New York Times poll showing President Obama's "vulnerability with swing voters" also inadvertently underscores the need to clarify distinctions between "swing voters," self-identified "Independents" and GOP or Dem-leaning "independents." It might also be helpful to know what percent of these categories qualify as "low-information" voters and who they are. Perhaps the most relevant sentence in the NYT report by Jeff Zeleny and Dalia Sussman: "The poll found that 28 percent of the public says the economy is getting better, which is the biggest sense of optimism found in a Times/CBS News poll since last February."

Check out "Welcome to Low Country: A Compendium of South Carolina Political Ads" at Times Swampland and be glad, very glad that Dems don't have to worry about our nominee's participation in butt-ugly presidential primaries.

Ron Paul isn't laughing at the Colbert thing.

Michael Tomasky's Daily Beast post "Newt's Racist Surge May Sink Romney in South Carolina" hits it straight. Looks to me like Newt's "food stamp president" comment was likely a lazer-targeted ploy to take a big bite out of the bigoted segment of Paul's constituency.

As damaging as Mitt's 15% effective tax rate may be, Dems ought to think about a creative ad targeting high turnout seniors, addressing "Romney's Unorthodox IRA" as reported in the Wall St. Journal by Mark Maremont. Maybe quote from Maremont's "Mr. Romney reported his IRA produced income between $1.5 million and $8.5 million from the beginning of 2010 until Aug. 12 of last year...Mr. Romney's IRA includes holdings in Bain entities based in offshore locations, including one Cayman Islands entity that Mr. Romney listed as having a value between $5 million and $25 million." Punch line: "So, how's your retirement plan doing?"

Will Perry's fold help Newt? Will Santorum get a sympathy bump in SC?

Romney is working the potentially-powerful military services-veteran-military industries vote in SC, but it's fragmented nonetheless, according to "Influential military vote in South Carolina split" by Reuters correspondent Colleen Jenkins.

Gary Weiss explains "Why Romney is Obama's dream opponent " at Salon.com. Says Weiss: "This isn't the invention of the liberal media. It's Romney's chickens coming home to roost. It's going to stick. So when you see the Newt Gingrich super-PAC's half-hour video describing what happened when "Mitt Romney came to town," that is just an appetizer. The banquet follows in the fall, if and when Mitt gets the nomination God willing, and the Democrats start running against him."

The GOP prez field takes some brutal hits in this collection of David Horsey's political cartoons.