THE MIRACLE of the first debate allowed Mitt Romney to stay in the race. President Obama helped in making this happen, otherwise there would have been a growing gap between the candidates that likely would have ended in a rout. But the next two debates slowly brought President Obama back, performing like an athlete who has to get down and almost be counted out before the resurrection and rise begins. By the time nor’easter Sandy made landfall Obama was back in the driver’s seat, where he’d been for months.

Just because Republicans and their friends in the media started talking about a Romney surge doesn’t make it so.

Dick Morris’s proclamation of a Romney “landslide” was always pure fantasy, the method of pumping up the GOTV efforts that Republicans had to do at the end. It was joined by others saying Romney will win, including Michael Barone. Now Dick Morris warns of “sudden danger signs” in the polls, as he tries to turn his ship away from the epic crash to reality.

All of these changes are, no doubt, related to hurricane Sandy. – Dick Morris

If only this right wing crank would follow this ludicrous theory to its obvious conclusion. God wanted to help Obama to prove he wasn’t really a Muslim. Where’s Pat Robertson when you need backup?

The Joe Scarborough team began weaving the Sandy narrative today as a preemptive reason for Romney’s possible loss, based on President Obama being able to look “presidential,” which indeed he did.

Next we’re going to hear that Gov. Chris Christie helped elect him, though I’d like to be around when some Republican explains this logic to Christie.

President Obama’s approval skyrocketed in the aftermath of Sandy, the best since the killing of Osama bin Laden, but he had already begun to slowly and steadily regain what he’d lost after the first debate.

But, while the storm and the response to it may account for some of Mr. Obama’s gains, it assuredly does not reflect the whole of the story. Mr. Obama had already been rebounding in the polls, slowly but steadily, from his lows in early October ““ in contrast to a common narrative in the news media that contended, without much evidence, that Mr. Romney still had the momentum in the race. – Nate Silver

Look at the polls on how people are now feeling about the economy. President Obama remains in the danger zone of approval, below 50% most places, but Romney has never, at any time, been able to overtake him.

If you’re going to go out on a cracked limb to cite Sandy, you could just as easily cite Mitt Romney’s offensively false Jeep ad in Ohio as the dealbreaker for him in a state he simply must win, because Obama long ago locked up other battleground states. The local press was brutal on Romney’s Jeep ad, complete with car executives refuting Romney’s lies. The re-emergence of Romney’s “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” was a fresh reminder of the jobs Ohioans wouldn’t have had if Romney would have been in the White House.

You could also cite Richard Mourdock and the reminder of the Todd Akin crazies who believe women should be forced to give birth if raped or a victim of incest. Suburban women may be skeptical of Obama on the economy, but at the final moment when they decide to vote most women will simply not pull the lever for anyone who has been quoted on air that he’d sign a “personhood” amendment that puts a fertilized egg above the woman herself.

Republicans and other religious conservatives need to understand that a woman’s body is not a “social issue.”

And then there’s President Obama’s number one surrogate, President Bill Clinton, who has done the lion’s share of work in getting the working class vote back on Obama’s side, but also driving the economy message home, which began in the mother of all convention speeches that will be remembered and cited whenever the 2012 election is remembered.

Toss in Obama’s demographic advantage, which Republicans don’t like to talk about, and Mitt Romney has serious challenges that no poll can wipe away.

Throughout this race Mitt Romney has performed below what was required to beat an incumbent president. He has been able to get close or even tie Obama according to local polls, as well as meaningless national polls, but Romney has never, not once, at any time been able to overtake President Obama, except in the deep red south.

Political losers always have to find a reason for why they did not prevail, so Team Romney and Republicans in 2012 will be no different.

The next thing you’ll hear is how badly they need Paul Ryan in 2016, because Mitt Romney isn’t a real conservative, so he was bound to lose in the end.

Democrats should be so lucky.

This piece has been updated.