Fascinating read from Politico’s Playbook newsletter

MORNING MINDMELD: One of the most riveting national and political events of the year happens this afternoon, when President Obama spends three hours on the ground in Atlantic City, N.J., with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who helped set the tone for the national conversation in Sandy’s aftermath by heartily praising the president and his administration for their response, and brusquely swatting away political questions. POTUS lands in Atlantic City at 12:25 p.m., views storm damage with Christie at 1 p.m., and takes off at 3:15 p.m.

Many of the top Republicans who called and wrote us yesterday fear Mitt Romney’s momentum has stalled. They hope a victory is “baked in” — that some tectonic shift in the country hasn’t been fully detected by pollsters or explained by the press. But no one’s sure. And today’s Quinnipiac/NYT/CBS polls could be the death knell of Mittmentum stories — Ohio: Obama +5 (50-45; unchanged from Oct. 22) … Virginia: Obama +2 (49-47; Obama was up 5 on Oct. 11) … Florida: Obama +1 (48-47; Obama was +9 on Sept. 26).

–JOE SCARBOROUGH, blogging on POLITICO: “With President Obama maintaining his five-point lead in Ohio in today’s poll, Romney must run the table on the six remaining swing states or expand the electoral map. Considering how rough the internals look in this morning’s Ohio survey, Boston must know that winning the White House now depends on their candidate stealing Michigan, Minnesota or Pennsylvania out of the Obama column next Tuesday. Their play in those three Midwest states now appear to be more out of weakness than strength.”

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