Today's TCT is Full of Question Marks

When is closing time?

Is it too soon to begin a countdown clock on Herman Cain dropping out of the race? Or will he defy the critics and continue his push for the White House? My colleague on the POLITICO side, Jonathan Martin writes, regardless:

His campaign will go down as one of the most hapless and bumbling operations in modern presidential politics, setting a new standard for how to turn damaging press coverage into something far worse.

Making matters worse, the woman who claims she had a 13 year affair with Cain went on GMA Wednesday morning and offered an endorsement - for him to quit:

Ok, so if the former pizza king does decide to bow out, here’s the easiest way to do so and exude some sense of dignity. FAMILY. It’s all about family. He should simply state that while he denies any wrongdoing (I’m just guessing he’ll stick to his guns since he has now for a 5th accusation) these baseless, fabricated allegations (once again, his words) are proving to be damaging to his family and not even the prospect of the White House is worth damaging the Cain House.

What’s the voting age again?

That depends on who you ask. I would hardly call Gov. Rick Perry’s latest verbal slip another “oops” disaster. I would however say it’s more unfortunate fodder for those who insist he’s still not ready for the big time. The Texan has said before that we all have “human” moments. Is this what he meant?
Perry’s spokesman said he just made a brief, verbal slip when he cited the wrong age for voting (actually 18) and incorrect election date (really 11/06/12).

Where have all the independents gone?

That’s probably a question creating enough concern that if a movie were shot about Obama’s re-election campaign it could likely be named “Sleepless in Chicago.” President Obama’s Windy City gurus have got to be wondering how to recapture the magic of 2008 with the biggest of swing vote groups: Independents.

New Gallup polls show Mr. Obama not only suffering with a miserable 43% overall approval rating - decreasing among all six ideological groups - but among those who place an ‘I’ next to their party affiliation, the number is significantly lower. Support among independents has dropped 10 percentage points, from 40% to 30%. That’s a scary figure for the incumbent who has independents to thank for getting him all those sweet flights on Air Force One.

Will that be a non-smoking room, sir?

Air Force One

Speaking of frequent flier miles, the President is certainly piling them up. Those who tally up travel say he’s getting far more hotel room mints than any of his recent predecessors have at this point in their first terms. Today, he’s in Scranton, Pennsylvania to ask voters to apply more pressure to Congress. He wants an extension and expansion of this year’s payroll tax cut to help boost the economy. Which if not extended, according to the associated press, would restore the full payroll tax of 6.2 percent and thereby increase taxes on 160 million Americans.

But few road trips by the POTUS these days are just for work although the White House would contest that.

"It’s part of his responsibility, serving the American people, to get out and be among them and to speak with them about his agenda or her agenda," said Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Not only is he making the stop in a major swing state of PA, but then he’s off to NYC to collect a little cash.

According to the AP, Mr. Obama will attend 3 fundraisers tonight where the green will be flowing.

-1st event: Private resident; tickets $10,000 and up
-2nd event: Gotham Bar & Grill; tickets $38,500
-3rd event: Sheraton Hotel; tickets begin $1,000

He’s also scheduled to attend a reception celebrating progress on gay rights and the six-month commemoration of New York's approval of gay marriage, though he technically has yet to declare his support for gay marriage. That’s one more voting bloc on that long list of the less-enthused that’ll require plenty of TLC before Election Day.