Obama campaign seeks to reassure nervous Democrats

2012-10-10T16:42:00Z Obama campaign seeks to reassure nervous DemocratsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
October 10, 2012 4:42 pm  • 

WASHINGTON D.C. — President Barack Obama sought Wednesday to reassure hand-wringing Democrats in the wake of his lackluster first debate, declaring, “I got this.’’

Party loyalists, in Washington and in battleground states, are fretting that Obama’s campaign has been slow to rebound after his debate last week against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. They’re worried that the Democratic ticket isn’t being aggressive enough in blocking Romney’s new pivot to the political center. And they fear Romney’s recent effort to show a softer side gives him an opening with female voters, who are crucial to the president’s re-election prospects.

“I’m not feeling very positive,’’ said Awilda Marquez, a prominent Democrat in Colorado. “I know that it’s only the first debate, but he can’t seem to change the relentless negative coverage. Romney has been able to take control.’’

Her nervousness was echoed by other Democrats in interviews across the country just before the next opportunity to get the Obama campaign back on track — Vice President Joe Biden’s debate Thursday against Republican Paul Ryan.

Obama’s campaign, seeking to address some of the concerns, launched a fresh critique of Romney Wednesday for saying he wouldn’t pursue abortion-related legislation as president. Obama aides accused the Republican of “hiding’’ his positions of earlier in the year in order to gain women’s votes.

The president’s team says no major changes are expected in his own re-election strategy. Nevertheless, the president and his aides are seeking to reassure anxious Democrats that key factors are still in their favor.

“By next week, I think a lot of the hand-wringing will be complete because we’re going to go ahead and win this thing,’’ Obama said in an interview with radio host Tom Joyner. Projecting confidence, Obama said, “I got this.’’

The president appears to maintain a narrow lead in polling in many battleground states and has more pathways than Romney to reach the 270 Electoral College votes required to win the White House. Also, more Democrats than Republicans are registered to vote in swing states like Florida and Nevada. And last Friday’s dip in the nation’s unemployment rate to 7.8 percent gave some credence to Obama’s core argument that the economy is slowly but surely recovering.

But there’s little doubt that the burst of momentum Obama enjoyed last month has come to a halt following the first debate. That’s given Romney ample opportunity to rebound from a dismal September with just four weeks until Election Day and millions of Americans already casting early votes. Polls taken after the debate show the race tightening nationally and in key states, though both parties say the president maintains an edge in such crucial states as Ohio and Virginia.

The rumblings in the Democratic ranks focus largely on whether the campaign has been aggressive enough coming out of the first debate, particularly in accusing Romney of lying about his positions and abandoning the conservative policies he embraced during the GOP primary.

Several strategists said they were perplexed that the campaign, nearing $1 billion in fundraising, wasn’t churning out television advertisements juxtaposing clips of Romney from earlier in the year with his comments during the debate. That’s allowing Romney, they say, to get away with shifting to the center.

“I don’t believe you ever let a charge go unanswered, so in that respect I wish they were more forceful,’’ said Chuck Ardo, a former spokesman for ex-Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.

Other Democrats fear the debate fallout is leading to softening support for the president among women, long one of his strengths.

Romney is making a clear play for female voters coming out of the debate, sprinkling personal anecdotes into his speeches in an attempt to appear more empathetic. The Republican also said this week that he would not pursue any abortion-related legislation if elected.

Obama aides dispute much of the criticism of their tactics, pointing to their rapid response to Romney’s apparent shift on abortion.

“We’re not saying he’s changed his mind on these issues,’’ said Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager. “We’re saying he’s trying to cover up his beliefs.’’

The president’s support among female registered voters dropped 5 percentage points following the debate, according to Gallup surveys. But he still leads Romney 51 percent to 43 percent among women. The Republican’s support among registered female voters is up 2 points since the debate.  

Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg raised alarms this week about the potential for softening in Obama’s support among women. He said his post-debate research found unmarried women in particular were not swayed by Obama’s economic arguments but were open to Romney’s approach.

“There was a positive response of these voters to Romney identifying with the middle class and their struggle and a very strong response to Romney’s five-point economic plan,’’ Greenberg said.

That marked a shift from last month, according to the pollster. Many unmarried women responded positively to Obama’s message during the Democratic convention and were particularly offended by Romney’s comments in a leaked fundraising video about 47 percent of voters who don’t pay federal income tax and feel they are victims.

Obama never raised Romney’s remarks during the debate, to the dismay of many Democrats.

The president’s campaign did on Tuesday release its first ad since the debate incorporating Romney’s comments on the 47 percent. The 30-second spot focused on seniors, arguing that some of the “victims’’ Romney referred to were seniors receiving Medicare.

Despite the Democratic worries, officials at Obama’s Chicago campaign headquarters say their approach to the final weeks of the campaign has always hinged on a tight race.

“We never anticipated winning battleground states by 10 points and can’t imagine winning a ton of them by 5 points,’’ said Ben LaBolt, Obama’s campaign spokesman. “Our task is to lay out the economic choice every day for undecideds and to turn out our supporters.’’

For some Democrats, who sensed some in the party getting overconfident before the debate, a case of the nerves may not be such a bad thing.

“I’d rather get a jolt four weeks out than a week out when there’s still time to do something about this,’’ said Karen Finney, a Democratic strategist.


Associated Press writer Ken Thomas and AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(23) Comments

  1. Pantareader
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    Pantareader - October 13, 2012 8:03 pm
    OMG - October 10, 2012 9:02 pm
    "Romney and Ryan are going to lead America back to prosperity." You've got to be kidding me. Hahahahahahahhahhhahahahaha

    Pantareader said:

    Well..... the last four years hasn't been anywhere near prosperity... As all news outlets also say without argument: its the worse downturn since the Great Depression. So, its pretty difficult to even support the current administration when there's been no upturn.
  2. yosemite sam
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    yosemite sam - October 11, 2012 7:42 pm
    I know it might be tough robbin but take the tinfoil hat off and think!
  3. NormalNews
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    NormalNews - October 11, 2012 1:33 pm
    Another AP article whining about how the liberal media's chosen "leader" is losing to the candidate with real ideas. Gimme a break.
  4. robbin
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    robbin - October 11, 2012 12:44 pm
    Sam you say alot of stupid. But this sentence about retirees and falling unemployment is an oxymoran at best. You should really reread and rethink. You sound like a lib.
  5. robbin
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    robbin - October 11, 2012 12:36 pm
    It most definetly is not a falsehood the TRUE unemployment rate is about 14%. The media is in the tank for barry you know that. When they and he report their numbers they are pumping you the kool aid drinker up with % that reflect unemployment benefits that have run out. Numbers that reflect people who are underemployed or have just given up. They report numbers that come from state unemployment agencies.Those are not factual numbers about how many people truly have adequate employment. There you have just had "the true rate" and how the true false numbers are arrived at explained to you. Just because someone has stopped receiving a check, doesn't mean they have become gainfully employed!
  6. miniman
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    miniman - October 11, 2012 9:25 am
    Not that they have asked for my advice, but I think President Obama's message should be; 1 ] 7.8%, 2 ] 47%, and 3 ] videos of Romney's flip-flops [ they are very plentiful ].
  7. MRK
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    MRK - October 11, 2012 9:08 am
    Romney wants to run America like a business. I'm sure Romney is a great business guy. But you cannot run a government like a business, government takes the heart and soul to make decisions for the betterment of it's people, not necessarily what represents the best profit margin or return on investment. I don't buy Romney's sincerity at all, he's a cold hearted businessman, plain and simple. This has nothing to do with having my head in the sand. Dismissive and condescending statements like that are what is dragging down political discourse. There's no kool-aid, heads in the sand, or lies - it's all simply political perspective as it's always been. Also, do you truly believe that the President of the United States wields a magical wages wand to lower or raise your wages as he pleases in your life?
  8. MRK
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    MRK - October 11, 2012 9:01 am
    When you say "the true unemployment rate is closer to 14%" what do you mean by "the true rate?" Are you the head of some research group that maintains accurate numbers? How is it that you can know "the true" rate when the rest of us see 7.8%? You say 7.8% is NOT true at all - how can you defend that this is some absolute falsehood?
  9. annieoakley
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    annieoakley - October 11, 2012 8:13 am
    And the wealthy have thrived very nicely under obama/biden.
  10. annieoakley
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    annieoakley - October 11, 2012 8:12 am
    BC I am 100% disabled. I do not file income taxes. Therefore, I DO NOT GET THE TAXES I PAY IN BACK. But my adult children do pay into it. You say the democrats are for the poor? Give me proof! The first 2 years of obamas presidency he froze my income but raised my taxes. Then i see gas prices sky rocket, the cost of goods and services closely behind. Insurance rates go up because of some law the legislators passed. Minimum wage going up which at the same time so do goods and services and those living on the current minimum wage don't stand a chance of making it.oh yes, and recently, quinn takes away more than half of my medications i need to function somewhat normal all the while tripling the paperwork for pharmacies and the doctors offices. but illegal immigrants still get medicaid and the democrats refuse to take them off of it. so, who is really on the side of the poor? it sure isn't the democrats.
  11. annieoakley
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    annieoakley - October 11, 2012 8:04 am
    BC your first comment about romney leading china to prosperity. that is hilarious since it was your president obama who used part of the stimulus package to hire 3 chinese contractors to build 3 major bridges in the united states. SO WHO IS HELPING OUT CHINA?
  12. annieoakley
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    annieoakley - October 11, 2012 8:03 am
    sam, do you have a cell phone? july 2009 a federal surcharge of 10.00 went into effect. a year later, verizon hid the surcharge but it is still there. and when it comes to unemployment that doesn't answer a thing when it comes to young black men in the inner cities being unemployed at close to 45%. And those leaving the workforce are NOT collecting unemployment, they are NOT counted because they RETIRED. You never addressed the good jobs part either. The only jobs being created here in central illinois are fast food jobs. MINIMUM WAGE.
  13. annieoakley
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    annieoakley - October 11, 2012 7:58 am
    Oh yes, and obama fired the ceo of chevrolet. so who is really firing them for their voting position. another one for you. obama went after gibson guitar because they aren't union.
  14. annieoakley
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    annieoakley - October 11, 2012 7:57 am
    As far as the banks go and what you mentioned is not true. You are either right out lying or you are misinformed. during Bushes first term, McCain and other republicans tried to regulate the banks and the democrats balked at the idea. It was on C-SPAN. Former president bill clinton and current president obama were involved with fannie mae and freddie mac back in the 90s. Obama was Acorns attorney who sued the banks to force them into giving loans to people who could not afford them. As a result, obama won that case and Bill Clinton signed it into law. Obama got an award from the NAACP for his involvement. So, tell me something. Was it a benefit to take someone off of section 8 and HUD housing so they can purchase a home which they could not possibly afford? Not long after the banks raised their interest rates on these people and of course they lost their homes. I currently see the democrats taking from the middle class and the poor. My taxes since obama came into office have more than doubled. Because of rules set forth from the democrat government here in illinois all the way to the top. Now i am being denied medications that i need to function as normal as possible.
  15. NowhereNearNormal
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    NowhereNearNormal - October 11, 2012 7:27 am
    When are all of you going to get your heads out of the sand. If you like higher prices and lower wages, vote for 4 more years without a leader, if not vote for the ticket that has had a real job and has experience in creating them.
  16. Smartone
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    Smartone - October 11, 2012 7:00 am
    Recently talked to several voters in Florida who have always been Republican. They do not trust Romney/Ryan and will not be voting for Obama/Biden in the election. I never thought I would live to see that day happen with some of these voters. The Romney/Ryan duo will take us backwards to 2008/2009 all over again with de-regulation on lending again for homes. Do you really want to do the housing bubble all over again? They will also take away all security for anyone under 55 years old in Medicare by providing a voucher which will NOT even come close to paying the monthly premiums on a private policy. They are just trying to make it so complex that people won't even use their vouchers, then get sick and just die. This is also their plan on saving Social Security too without telling you. The CEO's are even telling people they have to vote Republican or they will be out of a job and he may just close his doors. What b.s. is that now? If you work for any company with that attitude, you better find another job anyway or you are no better than him. Obama will win hands down because he is not flip flopping on what his agenda is going to be when elected. Romney is not to be trusted, knows nothing about foreign policy, and will put the country into even a worse rating for healthcare than we already are at which is pathetic for costs. Healthcare should not be about profits and lining CEO pockets. It should be about taking care of the sick and injured for breakeven which is non for profit for those that do not understand. Anything related to profits other than putting it back into research and development and new equipment is just morally wrong. As another poster put it, Bishop Romney and Ryan is for the wealthy, they are not for the middle class and definitely do not represent the poor class.
  17. BC
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    BC - October 11, 2012 6:04 am
    You mean Romney is going to continue to lead China to prosperity. The companies he headed had a hand in creating the new middle class in China. The president does not create jobs. Jobs have left this country because Americans refuse to live like citizens of third world and developing countries. American corporations take their tax breaks and move where they can pay pennies on the dollar wages, skirt quality and safety regulations and hire children. They can then bring those products back and sell to us. A large portion of Chinese made goods that poisoned our children and pets were made by American companies who set up shop in China. Laws that allows such practices preceded Obama by a decade or more. Of course it would be too liberal to limit such practices and interfere with free enterprise you armchair experts hold so dear. Business will hire the amount of people they need to run the show. Tax credits won't increase hiring or encourage hiring full time. As long as they can dump the burden of medical and a portion of the payroll on tax payers they will. Private citizens once formed unions and knew what solidarity was, that is now old fashioned and unnecessary. Every time a company busts their employees down from middle class to poverty level you cheer. The people caused this by turning on each other like Jackals.

    Annie.....if you are living below poverty as you have claimed your withholding taxes have not increased unless you are claiming less dependents. People below poverty
    level get refunds, most the time larger than they paid in VIA earned income credit.

  18. Wizard
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    Wizard - October 11, 2012 4:36 am
    Romney and Ryan aren't going to do anything.
  19. OMG
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    OMG - October 10, 2012 9:02 pm
    "Romney and Ryan are going to lead America back to prosperity." You've got to be kidding me. Hahahahahahahhahhhahahahaha
  20. yosemite sam
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    yosemite sam - October 10, 2012 8:37 pm
    Obama has not raised taxes on the middle-class. I don't know where you get that lie. you also talk about the minimum wage. You realize republicans want to get rid of it.
    It's people leaving the work force that is the reason for unemployment falling? I can see that since 10,000 baby boomers per day are now retiring. that's 300,000 per month. don't be surprised if the employment picture gets better just because of that reason.
  21. excuseme
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    excuseme - October 10, 2012 7:14 pm
    Only the wealthy will prosper under Bishop Romney and Ryan.
  22. annieoakley
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    annieoakley - October 10, 2012 6:20 pm
    I am pro-life, that being said I am wondering why they keep going back to abortion. Nothing is going to change. Nobody is going to make it illegal, not even romney. This is so typical of a democrat move. Abortion or homosexuality is their biggest concern when this isn't even a real issue any longer. What concerns MOST Americans is the fact that too many people have been out of work for a long time and Obama for the past 4 years hasn't done a thing regarding this. They are saying 7.8% which is NOT true at all. The true unemployment rate is closer to 14% and if you look at the inner city minority areas they are closer to 45% for young black males. Let's face reality, minimum wage, part time jobs are the biggest thing going for anyone looking for work. This DOES NOT pay the bills! Obama not only has raised taxes on the middle class but he has also raised taxes on those living below the poverty level. Look at how the state of Illinois is conducting business. With Obama at the helm of the entire country, (same policies as illinois) this is what we all have to look forward to across the entire country.
  23. earlyriser54
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    earlyriser54 - October 10, 2012 6:03 pm
    "Its not just Obamas lackluster performace at the debate that has democrats nervous it is, his policies, his record, his failures, his economy, his healthcare plan. It is 4 dead Americans in Libya due to failed foreign policies, it is Barack Obama in general. This election is over, Romney and Ryan are going to lead America back to prosperity.
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