"In a national contest like this year's where Obama holds slight leads or is running virtually even with Romney in key battleground states," noted the Associated Press, "even a sliver of the vote in a crucial state could determine the outcome. Obama's team has scenarios whereby Obama can win in Virginia and Colorado with less than 50 percent vote with an assist from Goode and Johnson.

"That third-party candidates have become a consideration in Obama's camp illustrates one of the president's persistent challenges and his potential weakness: his inability to get above 50 percent in states he carried with some comfort in 2008."

Hence the Obama dream: That the dissatisfied will switch to third party candidates.

It worked for George W. Bush and Woodrow Wilson.

And twice for Bill Clinton.

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