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November 6th, 2012
09:36 PM ET

Letters to the President #1387: 'The one voter'

Reporter's Note: President Obama and Governor Romney are watching the election returns tonight. At least I assume they are. Perhaps they are playing Parcheesi, but I doubt it.

Dear Mr. President,

So this is it! The big night! All those months of campaigning, fundraising, focus grouping, hand shaking, speech making…it all comes down to one big hurrah tonight. Despite the fact that you’ve won before, it seems to me that you’ve got to be a bit nervous. I mean, seriously…if it does not go your way this evening, that won’t play particularly well on the old legacy chart, will it?

Of course I suppose that would be true for Mitt Romney as well. If he loses after all the money, time and effort he’s invested, he’ll be pretty unhappy too. And he would not even be able to say he was President for a term. Oh well, I can’t feel too concerned you since you each decided to get into this mess. Ha!

Here’s a funny thought: What if you could identify a single person who will decide the election tonight? I mean, theoretically there is such a soul. Somewhere out there is the state that will carry either you or Governor Romney up to the 270 electoral votes needed to win. And somewhere in that state is the county that will tip the balance one way or the other. And somewhere in that county is the person who will pull a lever, or fill in a ballot, or tap a touch screen to seal the deal.

Because of the way the Electoral College works there are plenty of places where that decisive voter simply cannot exist. He or she can’t be a resident of a hard core blue or red state. Can’t even be living in a hard core red or blue neighborhood. The deciding voter has to be a resident of tippy-town…a place where a handful of votes can really make a difference.

But that voter most assuredly exists. And tonight, he or she will arguably be the most powerful person in the country for a fraction of second…even if he or she never knows it.

Best of luck to you and the governor. Looking forward to both of your speeches, whenever they might come around. Call if you get a moment.

Regards,
Tom

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