Messina reassures Obama supporters: Campaign knew ‘race would be tight’

President Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, released a Web video on Friday looking to allay the worries of supporters who have seen GOP contender Mitt Romney rally in the polls after emerging from a bruising Republican primary.

“Over the past few weeks I’ve had people asking me about all of the polls they’ve been seeing,” Messina says. “I say the same thing to all of them — we knew this was going to be a tough race, and we knew that once Mitt Romney locked up the nomination, Republicans would get behind him and this race would be tight, just like we always knew it would be.”


Obama has a slim 1.6 percent lead over Romney nationally, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, and most battleground states that will be critical in determining the outcome of the election are equally as tight.

“We’re actually ahead of where we were at this point last time around,” Messina continues. “Remember summer of 2008? Folks don’t remember it this way, but in May and June of 2008 a lot of polls were saying we’d never pull it off. This time around we’re starting off with an advantage.”

The video then cuts to a map that predicts Obama starting off with 243 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, against Romney’s 191. Messina said the remaining 104 electoral votes up for grabs are in swing states, “where we’re doing some of our best organizing.”

In the video, Messina singles out 16 swing states. The campaign puts Nevada, New Mexico, Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania in Obama’s column, while saying Arizona, Indiana and Missouri lean Republican.

That leaves Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and, most notably, Wisconsin, which Messina identifies as toss-ups.

While Obama holds a healthy lead in Wisconsin in most polls, some Democrats are worried that if Gov. Scott Walker survives his recall election Tuesday it will galvanize the GOP base and tilt the state towards Republicans in the fall.

Messina focused on the efforts the campaign has made to register voters in these battleground states.

“You know what really matters in a close election? The unprecedented grassroots organizing we’re doing every day in states across the country,” he said. “We’re going to run the most sophisticated grass roots campaign the country has ever seen.”