Obama campaign chief: Billion-dollar campaign accusation is 'bull----'

President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, called speculation about a lavishly funded reelection effort “bull----” in a new video message sent to supporters Thursday.

“People have speculated this is a billion-dollar campaign. That’s bull----,” Messina said. “We don’t take PAC money, unlike our opponents. We fund this campaign in contributions of $3 or $5 or whatever you can do.”

Despite the bleeped-out word in the video, Messina’s message is clear. His reference to small donations, in contrast to “PAC money,” is intended to push back against any sense that the Obama campaign will be more dependent upon big-money donors it was in the 2008 effort.

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Nonetheless, the idea that Obama could raise $1 billion is not at all far-fetched or risible. In 2008, he raised almost $750 million. With the advantages of incumbency — and no rival for Democratic donations playing a role akin to then-New York Sen. Hillary Clinton’s in 2008 — he is expected to far surpass that this time.

In the traditionally slow third quarter this year, Obama raised $42.8 million for the campaign itself and a further $27.3 million for the Democratic National Committee.

The new video from Messina delivered what the campaign manager called “a behind the scenes look at our maps and how we think we get to 270 electoral votes.”

But it was also a fundraising appeal:

“At the end, it’s just a financial decision. Do we have enough money to register the voters we need in Arizona? Can we start putting more neighborhood team organizers on the ground in North Carolina?” Messina asked. “It’s all about whether or not we have the resources to do this.”

The campaign manager suggested five ways in which Obama could win a second term. Taking the states won by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004 as a baseline, Messina suggested that one route would concentrate on the Western states of Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. Those three, plus a win in Iowa, would see Obama over the finish line.

So, too, would be a more straightforward path: winning Florida.

“We can’t just have a Florida strategy, but Florida is the easiest way to 270 electoral votes,” Messina said.

As a third option, he talked about the possibility of holding onto North Carolina and Virginia, two Southern states that Obama carried in 2008. Prior to Obama’s victory, the former state had last backed a Democrat for president in 1976 (Jimmy Carter) and the latter in 1964 (Lyndon Johnson). One of the reasons that next year’s Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte, N.C., is “because we believe so deeply in this map,” Messina said.

A fourth option would be to carry Ohio, but even Messina did not sound overly confident about Obama’s prospects in a state where, as recently as October, one poll showed voters who disapprove of the president’s job performance outnumbering those who approve by 51 percent to 43 percent.

“We’ve probably done more work on the ground in Ohio in 2011 than any other state in the country. Our goal is to win Ohio but it shouldn’t be the only way there,” Messina said in the video.

The fifth option the campaign manager outlined was a victory in Arizona, which the Obama team did not seriously contest in 2008 because it was the home-state of the Republican Party’s nominee, Sen. John McCain. “We believe we can put Arizona into play,” Messina insisted.


Watch the video here: