By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A tightening Presidential race, a barrage of negative ads in key Congressional races — with the election just more than a week away the stakes continue to grow.

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For a different perspective on developments in these stores WCCO’s Esme Murphy turned to Star Tribune columnist, John Rash.

Rash: Nationally, where you now have several polls that are showing on a national basis that Governor Romney is ahead, as you and our viewers well know, that does not mean that he is necessarily going to win the race as we saw in 2000, where Vice President Gore won the popular vote and still managed to lose the election in the Electoral College. There are some scenarios were theoretically something like that could come into play as well.

Murphy: In terms of what we are going to be seeing in the next couple of weeks, it sounds like a lot of campaigning in these swing states but also a lot of unconventional moments like we saw this week with the President going on Jay Leno.

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Rash: Indeed he has taken significant advantage of the free media appearances one can get on the daytime and night time talk shows. He has been on The View, he has been on most of the night time talk shows, as well. Gov. Romney has done far fewer of these and has also said he is probably going to do far fewer of these for the remainder of the campaign.

Murphy: We aren’t getting the Presidential ads here but we are getting ads for some of these other races — a lot of negatives ads. About these, do these negative ads really work that we are seeing again and again?

Rash: Certainly some of these ads can work. They can backfire, as well, particularly if it is perceived that the ad is too hard hitting or if it’s perceived that it is simply not true. You have a lot of fact checks that are going on the Reality Checks that your colleague Pat Kessler does. The challenge with those is that the sheer volume literally and figuratively, the sheer volume of the ads even if it is an untrue or unfair claim verses the amount of times that a Reality Check might run, means that the Reality Check can get drowned out by the paid advertisement that the candidate might run. Voters say and every public opinion poll says, and this is truly bi-partisan, that they decry the tonality and the negativism of the ads and yet when they go into the voting booth, often it would appear that negative ads work because these candidates are elected.

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You can read John Rash’s column in the Star Tribune every Saturday and you can hear him every weekday on our sister station WCCO-AM at 7:55 a.m.

Esme Murphy