A pair of veteran political strategists were in Hershey Monday offering their insights into this year's presidential race before a group of business leaders from across Pennsylvania.
Karl Rove, known as the architect of former President George W. Bush's campaign, and James Carville, who was a central part of the team that worked to get Bill Clinton elected, debated for about an hour about where the race stands in the Keystone State and nationally.
Carville said, "I don't believe that Pennsylvania's a swing state. When's the last time a Democrat lost Pennsylvania?"
That was in 1988 when George H. W. Bush captured the White House. Rove pointed to recent polling in Pennsylvania. According to CNN's "Poll of Polls," Obama leads Romney in the Keystone State by about 10 points. However, state Republicans released the results of an internal poll last week, giving President Barack Obama a 1-point edge over Gov. Mitt Romney.
Rove said Monday he now classifies the state as "leans Obama" as opposed to solidly Obama. "But, we've got limited time, limited money and a pretty wide battlefield as it is. So, it'll be interesting to see if anybody bites on it," said Rove.
The pair spoke before about 1,700 people in Hershey for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry's annual dinner. Political ads have disappeared from Pennsylvania's televisions, and neither presidential candidate has any immediate plans to campaign in the commonwealth.
Rove and Carville also weighed in on the state's voter ID law.
"It doesn't seem to me to be that difficult to think that we should also require that one of the most precious things we have, the right to vote, is protected by requiring people to show a voter ID," said Rove.
Carville countered by pointing to House Majority Leader Mike Turzai's statement this summer that the law would help Romney win Pennsylvania. "What did the Majority Leader of the state House say? Please tell me what he said. I don't think Karl heard. He said it was put in there to help Republicans win the race. Now, if they win, it'll be worth it," said Carville.
Nationally, the race remains close, with neither candidate having taken a significant lead in polls since the general election phase began.
"And it'll remain so until the end. It's unclear if it'll break one way or another, but it's in all likelihood going to remain close as possible until after the third debate," said Rove.
Carville responded, "If everybody thinks it's close that's fine with me too. But, I'll be honest with you, I think I'd rather be a Democrat now."