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PD Editorial: A two-month sprint to the finish

In his remarks on the final day of the Democratic National Convention, Vice President Joe Biden proclaimed that "America has turned the corner."

Whether that's true is debatable. About the only thing that's clear at this point is the presidential race has reached a turning point — finally — with the conclusion of the conventions.

There was a time when the national conventions provided a degree of suspense. But drama has long since given way to orchestration. There was no question about who would emerge as the nominees from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. There was no question about who would be the running mates or what the Republican and Democratic platforms would be.

Democratic National Convention 9.06.12

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But there remains many questions about what the outcome of this sprint to the finish, the Nov. 6 election, will be.

Conventional wisdom has long held that given the nation's still-struggling economy, this has been Mitt Romney's race to lose. In fact, probably the biggest bump he received following the balloon drop in Tampa came Friday, with the release of the latest jobs report showing American employers were scaling back on hiring.

According to the Labor Department, employers added just 96,000 jobs in August, down from a meager 141,000 in July. That's too few to even keep up with the nation's population growth. The unemployment rate dropped two points to 8.1 percent, but that's only because more people have given up on looking for work.

It's reports like this that give credence to Romney contentions that President Barack Obama has not done enough to fulfill his promise of change.

Certainly the state of the economy — and what happens to it over the next 60 days — remains the single biggest deciding factor in this election. But for all the talk about the future, there's no mistaking that this race, first and foremost, is a referendum on Obama, about his past performance and whether voters are willing to give him four more years.

In underscoring that point, both Romney and Obama used their acceptance speeches to address directly those who voted for Obama in 2008.

"You know there's something wrong with the kind of job he's done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him," Romney said.


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