WASHINGTON — "I will shave off my mustache of 40 years if we lose any of those three states," Axelrod said in an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
Republican strategists differ on the Romney campaign's thinking. Some think Romney's aides fear losing all-important Ohio, and they hope for a stunning last-minute breakthrough elsewhere to compensate. Others say the GOP camp has so much money — and so few chances to buy useful airtime in saturated states — that it can spend millions of dollars on a long-shot without scrimping in a battleground.
"If they didn't have so much money, they wouldn't be able to do something with so little chance of success," said Democratic strategist Tad Devine.
Democratic groups bitterly complained about a TV ad the Romney camp is running in the Toledo and Youngstown areas of Ohio. The ad suggests that Jeep will move its Toledo car-making facility to China, a claim Jeep executives deny.
Democrats called the ad a brazen lie and a sign of desperation. Even some Republicans worried that Romney has gone too far in a state where voters follow the auto industry closely.
The carmakers also objected to the ads, but Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul on Wednesday said the manufacturers don't refute any facts in the ad.