Top Obama aides counting on new voters to win in November
Newly registered Democrats will offset any lag for Obama among traditional party voters, Plouffe and Axelrod said Thursday at a Monitor breakfast.
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Plouffe urged reporters to probe what he said were McCain’s weaknesses among two other demographic groups: Hispanics and women. The McCain campaign has “huge deficits” among those groups in swing states like New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada, he said. “If he does not correct them, the path is not there for him to win the presidency.”Skip to next paragraph
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McCain is expected to announce his vice-presidential pick no later than a noontime event in Dayton, Ohio, Friday. But Obama aides professed no concern that it would change the dynamics of the race. “Whoever he picks doesn’t change the fact that it’s John McCain’s agenda on the ballot,” Plouffe said.
Either way, it was clear that the Obama campaign was sharpening talking points on various McCain running pates. If he chooses former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, says Plouffe, “all he’s done is double down on out-of-touch, being on the side of big corporate special interests – Romney is an expert on things like Cayman Island tax shelters.”
If he picks independent Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who was Democratic Sen. Al Gore’s running mate in 2000, McCain will have to explain the choice of a candidate who “didn’t subscribe to 80 percent of [McCain’s] positions,” Axelrod said. Lieberman, for his part, “will have to explain why he’s willing to abandon all of his principles” to become McCain’s running mate.
The aides said they were not concerned about the persistence of false rumors – on the Internet and talk radio – that Obama is not Christian but Muslim. “We’ve invested time and money and effort in straightening out that misperception,” Axelrod said. “There may be a certain percentage of people who still believe that. The question is whether they’re likely to be our voters in the first place.”
With just one convention night to go, Obama's aides pronounced themselves pleased with previous three days in Denver. “We had specific goals coming into the convention, and one was to give a richer sense of who Barrack Obama is, where he came from, what drives him,” Axelrod said. “We’ve had success in doing that. We wanted define both the stakes and the choice.”
He declined to say how much of a bounce in the polls the campaign expected from the Democratic convention, noting that fast arrival of the Republican National Convention next week might “mute whatever effect there is.”
Polls earlier this month showed that just 1 in 2 voters who supported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primaries say they will definitely for Obama. But Axelrod argued Thursday that “unambiguous” convention speeches by Senator Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, should end the “plot of unity versus disunity.”
He said both Clintons would actively campaign for Obama.
The Monitor hosted a similar breakfast with Mr. Romney earlier this week, and plans others, with aides to McCain, at the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn., next week.