Five weeks to Election Day, President Barack Obama is within reach of the 270 electoral votes needed to win a second term. Republican Mitt Romney’s path to victory is narrowing. To overtake Obama, Romney would need to quickly gain the upper hand in nearly all of the nine states where he and Obama are competing the hardest. – Mitt Romney’s path to victory narrows, AP analysis shows

IT BEGAN on the USS Wisconsin, but has turned into a sinking proposition.

But, but, but, the debates could change everything. That’s very unlikely, unless Obama sighs through the entire exchange. Gov. Chris Christie said on “Meet the Press” it all begins with “a restart” on Wednesday.

“Come Thursday morning the entire narrative is going to change.” – Gov. Chris Christie [Meet the Press]

Mitt Romney’s reportedly going to fact check the President. The man couldn’t find a coherent strategy even if Pat Riley and Phil Jackson were on board.

New York Magazine: So, basically, barring an October surprise, Romney’s chances are more like nil?

Nate Silver: Not nil, but slim. So the debates for example have proven to move the number by about 3 points in the past. So, for example, in 2000, Al Gore had about a 3-point lead against George W. Bush at this point in the election and was perceived to have lost the debates ““ I guess he sighed too often or something ““ and that was enough to reduce his lead and turn the election into what was almost literally a tie.

What Romney needs now is a miracle.

What Team Romney has to worry about is demoralization of the Republican base, as the evidence mounts that the race is already lost. It’s why efforts by Romney surrogates have become a kitchen sink strategy, which is likely to get louder, especially if Wednesday’s debate delivers a draw.