As President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney scramble to come out ahead in the Nov. 6 election, two other men are preparing for a legal showdown that could begin the next day.
They are the lawyers who have been tapped by the Obama and Romney teams to navigate any legal challenges to voting procedures or results in a tight contest that could dredge up memories of the disputed 2000 election that was settled by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Leading Romney’s team is Benjamin Ginsberg, chief legal counsel for George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2004.
Obama has turned to Robert Bauer, a past White House counsel who has spoken out against Republican-led efforts to alter voting laws in states including Ohio, a politically divided state that could determine who wins the Nov. 6 election.
Already, Ginsberg and Bauer have been quiet players in the 2012 campaign.
This fall, the duo negotiated the terms of the three presidential debates and the one between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. The agreement dealt with the details of the debates, such as the format of each event.
Before the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida, in late August, Ginsberg led the Romney campaign’s efforts to wrest greater control over the party’s rules, angering some Republican activists who saw the move as a power grab by Romney’s team.
Ginsberg and Bauer, who did not respond to requests for comment, have been engaged in the same type of election legal adventures so frequently that Joe Allbaugh, Republican George W. Bush’s campaign manager in 2000, teasingly calls them the “Bobbsey Twins,” after the children’s book characters.