Obama team pushes back against suggestions the president is in trouble

Obama team pushes back against suggestions the president is in trouble

President Obama and his closest advisers are pushing back at the notion Obama is a one-term president doomed for defeat in 2012.

Obama’s top political adviser on Friday issued a memo to the Sunday news show producers and other reporters that concludes Obama is in strong shape for another four years in the Oval Office.

The memo from Obama guru David Axelrod noted that the president has strong support from Hispanics, the fastest-growing segment of the population, and that GOP approval numbers are in the dumps.

Obama himself took aim at the doubts while speaking at a Democratic fundraiser on Thursday night. He insisted his odds of winning reelection are better than what his chances were for winning the White House in 2008.

“Now, I know that, over the last couple of months, there have been Democrats who voiced concerns and nervousness about, well, in this kind of economy, isn’t this just — aren’t these just huge headwinds in terms of your reelection?” Obama said.

“And I just have to remind people that— here’s one thing I know for certain: The odds of me being reelected are much higher than the odds of me being elected in the first place.”

The affirmations from Obama and his senior political lieutenant come as the White House has won some momentum with its jobs proposal.

Axelrod pointed to a recent CNN poll that showed a plurality of respondents support Obama’s jobs proposal, which is crucial to the president’s reelection plan.

Obama might also have benefited from Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s entrance into the GOP primary contest. The battle between Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney threatens to be a bruising fight, and while the winner will be more campaign-tested, the GOP standard-bearer will also take some internal hits.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday found Obama leading Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, 51 percent to 39. The same poll had Obama ahead of Perry, the Texas governor, 51 percent to 39.

At the same time, Obama has just concluded a painful summer that saw his poll numbers hit new lows following the unpopular debt-ceiling deal. Democrats have questioned his leadership on issues ranging from the environment to housing and unemployment, with some questioning whether he should be primaried himself.

Democrats have also expressed worries about Obama’s political standing for next year, particularly after a seemingly safe district held by the Democratic Party since the 1920s was lost this week to a neophyte Republican with Tea Party backing.

Democratic strategist James Carville, reacting to the special -lection losses in New York and Nevada this week, suggested the White House should panic.

Axelrod’s memo, which took on “members of the media” and “elite commentary,” seemed to be a reaction to those concerns.

He said Obama is in much better shape to beat his Republican rivals next year than his approval ratings would suggest, in part because of voter support for the jobs proposal and in part because of the public’s dismal view of Republicans.

"Members of the media have focused on the president’s approval ratings as if they existed in a black box," Axelrod wrote.

“Two-thirds believe we should cut taxes for the middle class and rebuild America’s roads and bridges,” Axelrod wrote, referring to the CNN poll. “Three-quarters believe we need to put our teachers and first responders back to work. More Americans trust the president to handle the economy than congressional Republicans by a margin of nine points.”

Axelrod also took issue with the conventional wisdom that the president has lost much of his base to disillusionment or disappointment, saying that Obama is polling higher with Democrats than President Clinton was at this point in his first term.

“Despite what you hear in elite commentary, the president’s support among base voters and in key demographic groups has stayed strong," Axelrod wrote.

Axelrod even went as far as to say that the "base is mobilized" behind the president, pointing to the 12,000 volunteers who applied this summer to help organize the campaign.

He also said that the Republican candidates are running to extremes and are still unknown to the greater electorate.

“Their candidates are busy courting the Tea Party, signing off on any economic pledge it might demand — no revenue increases under any circumstances, ending Medicare as we know it, draconian cuts that will hamper job creation,” Axelrod wrote. “And Americans are increasingly rejecting the Tea Party’s agenda and its ideological rigidity — following the debt negotiations, an AP poll found the Tea Party’s approval rating sinking to 28-46. When Americans learn the details of the Republican candidates’ plans, the choice about America’s future will come into clear view.”

He added that “the president remains ahead or in a dead heat with the Republican candidates in the battleground states that will decide the election in 2012.

“And ultimately it is in those battleground states where voters will choose, 14 months from now, between two candidates, their records and their visions for the country," Axelrod wrote.

This story was posted at 9:50 a.m. and updated at 12:27 p.m.