The New York Times leaned "Forward!" for Barack Obama's reelection in its campaign coverage over the weekend. The front of the paper's Saturday Election 2012 section featured a large photo from an Obama rally of a volunteer handing out flags at a fairground rally in Hilliard, Ohio on Friday. The caption noted "A crowd of 2,800 showed up to see Mr. Obama."
Meanwhile, campaign reporter Ashley Parker estimated on Twitter Friday night that 25,000 people attended a Romney rally in West Chester Township in Ohio. But those strong turnout figures for Romney, which suggested high levels of enthusiasm in a crucial state, were buried in the very back of Parker and Michael Barbaro's Sunday story from the campaign trail.
Friday night in Cincinnati, Mr. Romney drew more than 20,000 cheering voters. On Saturday, his crowds were more modest: 2,000 in Portsmouth, 2,100 in Dubuque and 4,500 in the conservative stronghold of Colorado Springs. But at his last rally of the evening, in Englewood, Colo., Mr. Romney drew a roaring crowd of 17,000 that filled a stadium and banged inflatable noise sticks as the candidate and Mrs. Romney took the stage.
In a Saturday dispatch from the trail, Romney reporters Michael Barbaro and Ashley Parker claimed the economic "recovery" was hurting the candidate: "Romney Changes Tack, Emphasizing Readiness and Giving Specifics."
Mr. Romney seems to have farmed out his most withering attacks to his campaign advertising team, which is under fire for a commercial that makes the misleading claim that Mr. Obama is seeking to export American auto jobs to China.
After surging in polls after the first presidential debate and turning the race into a virtual tie, Mr. Romney is grappling with a shifting political landscape. The economy is experiencing a recovery, however halting, and his opponent is enjoying a very public bipartisan embrace, most recently from a prominent Romney supporter, Gov.Chris Christie of New Jersey, a Republican, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City, a high-profile independent.
By contrast, reporter Mark Landler focused on optimism in the Obama camp in "Back to Campaign, Blustery Obama Hits Romney on Auto Bailout Ad." Landler also mentioned Christine, who is suddenly very popular with the Times.
But Mr. Obama seemed energized, fortified by a better than expected jobs report and his experience in the storm, when he won an endorsement from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York and made a political bedfellow of the Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie.
Tim Graham detailed the Times's providing happy talk on the mediocre job numbers, despite the unemployment rate actually rising from 7.8% to 7.9%.
Obama also came out first in the photo finish, with two flattering color photos from his campaign dominating the front of the Election 2012 section on Saturday (the flags) and Monday (Bill Clinton greeting Obama at a podium). The Romney campaign made the slot on Sunday, but had to settle for a stark night photo of vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan and family getting out of a campaign bus.