Busy day, I’ll try to catch up later. Just wanted to post the interesting parts from this Politico (Yuck!!!!) story. I’ll save you from reading the RW garbage.
CHICAGO — President Barack Obama’s campaign team is gaming out complex state-by-state scenarios for 2012 that anticipate uphill battles in recession-ravaged blue states — and new opportunities in Arizona and Georgia.
Their underlying assumption is that the GOP presidential field remains so fluid – and the country’s economic outlook so devilishly unpredictable – that Obama must construct robust grassroots field operations in nearly every competitive state in order to hit the magic number of 270 electoral votes and win re-election.
If the famously expanded “Obama map” of 2008 was a gesture of emancipation from the cramped Democratic geography of the party’s past presidential campaigns, the equally big 2012 map is a reflection of the reality that there’s not yet a way to know the combination of red, blue and purple states that will add up to victory.
“We are preparing a variety of scenarios to get to 270. We are not putting our cards on any one state and don’t foresee doing that,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told POLITICO, rebuffing GOP suggestions that the president’s electoral horizons are shrinking.
“We’re building our ground campaign now,” Messina said, adding that “2011 is about infrastructure.”
Messina would not confirm the content of the half-dozen or so campaign scenarios floating around Obama headquarters – but other Democrats say one map points to alternative pathways if the president underperforms in the Midwest, especially in Ohio, which has suffered disproportionately from the economic downturn, and where Democrats suffered heavy losses in 2010.
And that could likely spark an intensive push in the Mountain West, where squeaker victories by Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) last November have revived Democratic hopes.
On the flip side, a worse-than-expected trend in the critical states of Colorado or Nevada by mid-2012 could force the campaign to shift resources back east to the more traditional battleground Midwest.
Virtually all of the scenarios envision Obama winning either North Carolina or Virginia, centerpieces of his 2008 win and the biggest prizes of the moderating demographic shifts that have opened up parts of the upper south to Democrats. And Obama, who pushed through the auto bailout amid GOP opposition, is performing well in Michigan, a state which would otherwise be ripe for Republicans.
Still, Obama’s team does acknowledge one area of probable contraction: Indiana, which has, for all intents and purposes turned red despite Obama’s 30,000-vote margin of victory there three years ago.
Indiana will attract fewer Obama resources initially for 2012, “but we could make a late play there like we did last time,” said a senior campaign official.
If the map is still vague, the entrance of former governors Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota into the presidential race has given Obama’s Chicago-based team a key element of his re-election: A new crop of GOP targets.
On Monday, Pawlenty rolled into Obama’s hometown to declare the president’s economic policies a failure, attack “Obamacare” and dub the president a “champion practitioner of class warfare” for not embracing his proposal to slash business taxes.
Obama strategist David Axelrod was ready for it.
“You have to question the credibility of a guy who would leave his state with a $6.2 billion deficit,” Axelrod said between bites at the back table in Manny’s, a working-class Chicago cafeteria that serves as his second home and more-or-less permanent focus group.
Axelrod, responding to Romney’s claim that Obama “failed America” by not reducing joblessness, added: “It felt like rhetoric in search of an idea… He’s tethered to his own history; His state ranked 47th in job creation [when he was governor] and that would have been lower if it hadn’t been for Katrina” and the resulting job losses suffered by Gulf states because of the hurricane.
Even so, the 2012 map is a product of what Messina has been telling donors privately for months: Next year will be a lot more challenging for Obama than the 2008 general elections against John McCain.
To that list, Obama hopes to add two new states: Georgia – viewed by the campaign as North Carolina’s demographic “Mini Me,” which Obama lost by 5 points; and Arizona, seen as a stretch possibility if Obama can ride the Hispanic population explosion and backlash against Gov. Jan Brewer’s immigration crackdown.
“We reject the 2000 and 2004 model,” said a senior Obama campaign aide. “There are some demographic changes in Arizona, and McCain won’t be running this time. We think it’s in play.”
Yet Obama’s campaign veterans say they’ve hear all of this before. Obama’s finance and field staffs, led by Rufus Gifford and Mitch Stewart respectively, have been working up budgets for states to maximize turnout and re-create the high-energy atmosphere of Obama’s 2008 operation. They have also begun opening dozens of field offices and recruiting a new generation of college-aged organizers to take major new roles.
Moreover, local organizers have been given the authority to pitch Stewart and other officials on getting involved in local Democratic races and other fights to help build relationships and give their operatives valuable live-fire experience.
They played just such a cameo role in Rep. Kathy Hochul’s come-from-behind victory in New York’s 26th congressional district. Obama aides say they are also likely to be involved in efforts to recall GOP state legislators in Wisconsin and in pushing for the rollback of SB-5, the Ohio law curtailing some collective bargaining rights of state employees.