Obama team bullish with eight days to goby Dara Kam | October 29th, 2012
President Obama’s campaign team held a bullish conference call with reporters shortly after President Clinton addressed an Orlando crowd Monday morning.
“We’re winning this race. And I say that not on the basis of some mystical faith in a wave that’s going to come or some hidden vote,” said Obama campaign senior strategist David Axelrod.
Axelrod said the Obama team’s confidence was based on “cold, hard, data-based” facts on early voting and swing state polls.
“You’re going to get spun and spun and spun in the next week,” he said. “In just eight days we’ll know who’s bluffing and who was not.”
In Florida, Axelrod and campaign manager Jim Messina said record-breaking early voting in some areas, including Jacksonville, overcame a GOP advantage in absentee ballots.
“That is a really strong, incredible sign of strength,” Messina said.
Some voters waited as long as six hours before casting their ballots, he said. “That’s what enthusiasm looks like.”
The Obama camp’s enthusiasm comes a day after Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker declared Romney the winner of Florida. Coker said Mitt Romney has nailed down the I-4 corridor crucial to a statewide sweep. In a poll of the region from Tampa Bay to Daytona Beach conducted for The Tampa Bay Times and its media partners, Romney held a 51-45 percent edge over Obama with 4 percent undecided.
“Romney has pretty much nailed down Florida,” said Coker told the Times. “Unless something dramatically changes — an October surprise, a major gaffe — Romney’s going to win Florida.”
Obama dropped by an Orlando campaign office Sunday night before bailing on the Central Florida event with President Bill Clinton (who showed up with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson) and instead returning to the White House to monitor Hurricane Sandy threaten much of the Northeast.
“The president…has real responsibilities. Those responsibilities come first,” Axelrod said. “We’re obviously going to lose a bunch of campaign time but that’s as it has to be. We’ll try to make it up on the back end. It’s not a matter of optics. It’s a matter of responsibility.”
Obama’s aides pointed to polls showing the president leading in key swing states, including Iowa, Nevada and Virginia.
“As is befitting the Halloween season, Gov. Romney is running around the nation posing as an agent of change,” Axelrod said, adding that Romney’s economic plan would cost “middle class” $5 trillion in tax cuts “skewed to the wealthy” and a $2 trillion boost in defense spending the Pentagon is not seeking.
Romney’s plan is “an echo of the failed policies of the past,” he said.
“We’re going to be pounding that message everywhere in the final days of this campaign,” Axelrod said.
The Obama camp’s swagger drew sneers from the other side. Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski sent out the following e-mail shortly after the call.
“All – a couple things stuck out to us while we were listening to Axelrod and Messina on their call – they are extremely defensive about Pennsylvania acknowledging OFA and Restore Our Future are going up with ads, Bill Clinton will be headed to at least four states that were not on Messina’s map as of April 2012 and they are spending time reaffirming their confidence about Wisconsin – a state they won by 14 points in 2008. Oh, and Axelrod made it two days in a row that the campaign has attacked the Des Moines Register. You’re right Axe, 8 days and we’ll see who is bluffing.”
An exclusive Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 poll of likely voters along the Interstate 4 corridor finds Romney leading Obama 51 percent to 45 percent, with 4 percent undecided.
“Romney has pretty much nailed down Florida,” said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, which conducted the poll for the Times and its media partners. “Unless something dramatically changes — an October surprise, a major gaffe — Romney’s going to win Florida.”