Obama campaign: Setting expectations for a brawl
June 20th, 2012
06:50 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama campaign: Setting expectations for a brawl

Washington (CNN) - Top aides to President Barack Obama's re-election campaign say they don't buy a new Bloomberg poll that indicates Obama leading Republican challenger Mitt Romney by 13 points.

"We got the race we expected," one top aide said, describing "a close race" that will remain that way up until Election Day.

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The adviser also said the Romney campaign and Republicans in Congress are "rooting" for the economy to get worse so voters will turn on the president and Democrats and "throw them out."

The remarks came during a background briefing for reporters held just before new fund-raising numbers were made public. The briefing seemed designed to re-set expectations on both message and fund-raising at a time when the media is portraying the president's campaign as suffering a tough couple of weeks.

Prolific fund-raisers themselves, the Obama campaign aides warned that the Romney campaign is nonetheless going to out-spend them, significantly. One aide predicted Romney's haul will reach $100 million this month and, all told, the GOP side – including outside spending groups – will blitz voters with more than one billion dollars in campaign cash.

On the message front, the team indirectly acknowledged they've taken heat from Democratic surrogates for parts of their anti-Romney message – especially their attacks on Bain Capitol, the private equity firm co-founded by Romney – but they're sticking to it. Don't expect something new.

To explain their logic this aide cited Republican pollster and Fox News regular Frank Luntz saying if the campaign "is couched as a battle over the middle class, Democrats will win."

So they will keep with a theme that Romney supports policies that benefit him or "people like him at the expense of the middle class," and they'll have a debate over "growing the economy from the top down or from the middle class out."

But that message is being narrowcast. Unlike 2008 when team Obama enthused about their success expanding the map, this time the president's strategists are focused narrowly on a handful of battleground states where they're targeting swing voters and supporters in key demographic groups. They insist for the last six weeks the race has remained nearly tied in the states such as Colorado, Virginia, and Nevada. And they say their internal polling shows they are winning women in those states; they will match their 2008 percentage among Latinos nationwide, only this time they expect more to turn out; and believe African American voters remain their "bedrock of support" despite grumbling within the community that the administration hasn't done enough to address their concerns.

After months of insisting voters aren't paying attention and they'll have plenty of time to define their opponent, the campaign aides did say voters "are getting tuned in now."

In other words, game on.

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

Also see:

Major GOP donor eyes $100 million in donations

Rubio to shelve GOP immigration plan

Romney credits governors with states' success

Sunny Romney predicts Wisconsin win

Filed under: 2012 • Fundraising • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    I dunno. Every time Willard opens his mouth, more people get alienated by him.

    June 20, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  2. Bill from GA

    Maybe Barry should have 'put on the gloves' about 3 years ago.

    Kick some repug butt, Barry!

    June 20, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  3. jamison

    No matter what Romney spends, the American people see through all his (and his power brokers) lies and will re-elect Obama.

    June 20, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  4. Steve- Illinois

    It's going to be a one issue race, the economy! If it doesn't start making some serious improvement, Obama will lose.
    Job numbers down, unemployment up, economic forecast down, that's all people care about!

    Recession: When your neighbor loses his job.

    Depression: When you lose your job.

    Recovery: When Barack Obama loses his job!

    June 20, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  5. judy

    go team Obama

    June 20, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    Of course the Repubs are rooting for the economy to fail; they decided on President Obama's first inauguration day to do everything they could to make all his policies fail – even if to do so would harm our country.

    So the question really is this: Why should an enemy of the U.S. bother with bombing us when the Republicans are destroying us from within?

    June 20, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  7. Bindy

    Let me get this straight – thousands of people are unemployed and the Republicans are trying to slash benefits left and right for the other 99% of us and they (the Republicans) think it is a good idea to brag that they have 1 billion dollars that they are wasting a large part of it on repetitive advertising. With the law of diminishing returns , just how much advertising can you buy that will actually have an impact on Mitt Romney's bid for the White House. How stupid the 1% must think we are, why don't we the 99% show them with our votes that we can't be bought and that they certainly miscalculated how unimpressed we are with their money handling skills by not putting them to in the White House this fall!

    June 20, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  8. mk1

    Oh, it will be a dirty campaign alright. All you have to do is look at those who back Romney, the obscene amount of money they will literally throw at this election to win it, and the venom they spew. Really disgusting.

    June 20, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |

    Obama on a Dem landslide in Nov . Nobrainer !!!!!!!

    June 20, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  10. jerry

    the good old obama wishful thinking. Fact is I'm seeing all the obama supporters I know leaving his camp and moving to Romney...the experiment of electing a community organizer with promise of transparency and unification went up in smoke in obamas first 18 months and has even continued to get worse in terms of partisanship and failed economic policy to speak nothing of constitutional over reach and just plain ineptness. We need a president who IS transparent and actually has a resume that presents a qualified candidate for the most powerful office on this earth.

    June 20, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  11. Myviewis

    Of course things are different this time around for Obama. Everyone has had 4 years to find out that his life story is not that of a poor little boy who can identify with the lower income or even middle class. His story is that of a mother who had a PHD, Dr. Ann Obama who worked for such companies as Ford Foundation, Asian Development Bank in Pakistan, Bank Rakyat Indonesia, Mobil, grandma was the Vice President of The Bank of Hawaii, grandpa was a successful salesman and Obama went to rich kid's schools and never had to worry about money. He's never worked in the real world, only worked as a Community Organizer, a professor and attorney for a short time before becoming a Senator. This guy lived in Manhattan and didn't work. It is hard for the everyday American to identify with the real Obama based on his real life story.

    June 20, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  12. Liz the First

    I'd sure like to believe the 13-point lead. it would give me hope that the American people, or at least most of them, are not stupid enough to buy the rethugs' tactic of doing everything they could over the past 3 1/2 years to keep this country in bad shape just to make Obama look like a failure. it's the rethugs who are the failures they claim Obama is. they failed to do what's right for the country and instead perpetrated a vendetta against the president we elected to rescue us from their disastrous policies. this makes them enemies of this country. I hope a lot more folks realize this before we reach November. no rethug deserves to be elected, or re-elected, to any office in the country.

    June 20, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  13. Ronb

    Willard is way out of his league. He cannot compete with the president. The campaign he ran as govenor will not work for the presidency.

    June 20, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  14. anthony78

    Smart man, this President Obama is. Republicans will start shaking in their boots when they realize he's actually putting the gloves on for this fight.

    June 20, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  15. halo

    it is what it is meaning you have not the power GOD HAS

    June 20, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  16. Are you kidding me?

    My money is on our current President. Made another donation today for the cause.

    June 20, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  17. AKsteve

    The GOP leader himself stated very clearly – four years ago, what they wanted to happen. "I hope he fails", Rush Limbaugh.

    And the elected Repubs have done their best to make this country fail – by doing nothing – and blaming the president for it all.

    June 20, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  18. CRAIG

    Republicans are dangerous for the economy. The aftermaths of Reagan's & Bush's terms were disasterous. Clinton turned things around after Reagan & Obama is trying to clean up after Bush but this is a difficult task with the obstructionists who don't care about the country and only want another Republican puppet who will help them line their greedy pockets. It's disgusting.

    June 20, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  19. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It shouldn't be a huge surprise that Romney would be outspending Obama. Look what he did tin Iowa in 2008; spent a lot of money only to lose to Huckabee.

    June 20, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  20. Larry L

    Americans are smart enough to see what happened. When the Republicans left the mess – then worked to obstruct all progress in fixing the job situation, the voters smelled a rat. A big rat.

    June 20, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  21. Expat American

    This should be interesting. The President will keep trying to move the country forward, while the Republicans want a return to their failed policies; and war with Iran.

    June 20, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  22. Name willardbullock

    No thank vote for presdient obama 2012

    June 20, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  23. n

    Well lets get it done. Strong message trumps big money every time. Divid and conquer. Obama is for every one and Romney is for the fat cats who will be pimping him, God forbid, if he should win.

    June 21, 2012 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  24. Marie MD

    Is that top aide the talking head that they chose because she is a woman. She's still too dumb to count.

    June 21, 2012 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  25. Out Of Touch with reality

    another day, another can of chicken noodle soup, another day listening to the lies of the king obama, another day that sees my dreams go down the toilet, another day that my kids suffer under the lies. someone needs to stop the madness, to many people suffer, it is time that those who are responsible feel the pain that we all suffer, but then again its just another day....of lies.

    June 21, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |