Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Obama campaign chief: N.C. vote 'key'

This wooing of North Carolina by top Obama operatives -- from the White House, the Cabinet and the re-election campaign -- is getting serious.

On Friday, Vice President Joe Biden will join his wife, Jill Biden, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in Thomasville to promote the role of community college in re-training workers.

On Saturday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will be in Charlotte to give the keynote at the annual gathering of the N.C. chapter of the Human Rights Campaign, the country's largest LGBT civil rights organization.

On March 2, First Lady Michelle Obama will be Charlotte and Raleigh to raise money for the Democratic National Convention and the president's North Carolina campaign effort.

And speaking of the Obama campaign, national campaign manager Jim Messina (pictured at right) was in Charlotte and Durham on Tuesday to update Democratic National Convention planners on the campaign and, with senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, to reach out to students at N.C. Central University and other historically black colleges.

The Observer got some phone time with Messina, who said that N.C. voters should also expect to see more of President Obama in the Tar Heel State.

“He’s going to be here, I would assume, multiple times between now and November,” Messina said.

Messina also took Observer questions on everything from the campaign's efforts to re-win North Carolina's 15 electoral votes to the importance of the youth vote to the possible awkwardness of President Obama giving his acceptance speech in a stadium that carries the name of a bank he and other Democrats have criticized.

On how the Obama campaign is banking on having North Carolina in its column: “We put the convention in Charlotte in part because North Carolina is such an important piece of our map to get to 270 electoral votes. There are many ways to get there, but we view North Carolina as one of the key ways.”

On using the Democratic convention to boost the N.C. campaign: “(Denver in 2008) was the first time we ever used the convention to organize locally and excite our supporters and volunteers. We’ve already seen just incredible enthusiasm on the ground across North Carolina about hosting the convention, about really putting Charlotte on a world stage and showing the best that North Carolina has to offer. We think that will have political benefits as well as our supporters and volunteers get incredibly involved in the campaign.”

On the possibility that some Charlotte voters might get inconvenienced -- by traffic jams, closed streets, etc. -- during convention week: "I think people – Democrats, Republicans and independents – can all agree that having the convention in Charlotte is good for North Carolina and will be a great showcase. Part of why we decided to move the convention outside on the final night is to get as many North Carolinians as possible to be able to go to the convention, see the president, hang out and just experience this amazing thing. We didn’t just want it to be delegates across the country. We are very excited about the final night, doing it in the stadium with 74,000 screaming people.”

On whether it prove awkward for President Obama to give his acceptance speech in Bank of America Stadium at a time when he and other Democrats have been critical of BoA and other banks: "No, I think people understand that we are renting a stadium for one day to have a political convention. And I think people understand very clearly what that’s about.”

On whether the president talked with N.C. Gov Bev Perdue, who is lagging in the polls, before she made her decision not to run for re-election: “No, he did not. She answered that question last week. She did not talk to the White House or the campaign before she made her decision.”

On whether he's hoping that some other heavyweight Democrats will get in the governor's race to challenge Republican Pat McCrory: "No, I mean our plans haven’t changed. We look forward to working with whoever the eventual Democratic nominee is. We’ve got to build our own campaign and build the best grassroots campaign in political history and that’s what we’re working on.”

On whether the Obama campaign will be able, during a time of daunting job prospects for young people, to match its 2008 record of getting the support of 72 percent of N.C. voters 18-29 years: “Look, we are going to organize and work for every single vote. Part of why I’m in (Durham on Tuesday) I’m kicking off our 'Greater Together' campaign (for young voters) at North Carolina Central. We’re doing events across the country. We are having a kind of separate branded major investment in youth organizing called 'Greater Together,' which we are very excited about. We have real excitement and enthusiasm across the country. You know, if you’re a college student and this is the first time you’re old enough to vote and your brothers and sisters started this thing and helped elect President Obama, they’re going to finish it.”

On whether the Obama campaign will target newcomers to North Carolina: “We are going to look at every single way we can to get to 50.1% of the vote. We’re not going to take anything for granted. We’re not going to assume the state has changed or hasn’t changed. We’re going to try to talk to everyone we can. Here’s what is true, though: We are the only campaign (in the state). We basically never shut down. You can see in North Carolina (that) we continue to organize, we continue to grow our volunteer base. This campaign is going to be, at some point, a game about turnout and persuasion. So we’re building the kind of grassroots organization that can turn out our voters. You saw some of that – not from us, but from Democrats in 2011 and we’re going to expand and build on that.”

Tim Funk


Anonymous said...

I'm putting up my Romney sign now then.

Anonymous said...

Good luck to you with the sign. It has more character the the actual candidate. He's not going to win! Keep supporting losers!

Anonymous said...

Obama's fuel and food inflation hurts his voter base not rich republicians.Useless they own mopeds most of them won't be able to afford a trip to the polls by November.

Anonymous said...

BULLFUNKY!!!! NC means nothing. NONE of the south matters. The rest of the country's votes will re-elect Obama.

Anonymous said...

Attorney General Holder will give the UNC Law School spring commencement address. I wonder if this yet another campaign surrogate event?

Anonymous said...

I am willing to put up any campaign sign that would get this idiot out of office. How can people not see through him and through away their vote his way.

Anonymous said...

Moochelle should be a good sell here. She just got back from an exclusive ski trip in Aspen while her idiot husband was hosting Nick Jagar at the White House. A real family of the people right there.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 5:15 pm...

You sure do like that anonymity in referring to our First Lady as "Moochelle". Why don't you stand on the corner of Trade and Tryon next weekend and repeat that for everyone to hear. Punk

Anonymous said...

When the Left can applaud and support an "artist" by depicting George Bush being assassinated in an "artistic" movie, then I think Johnny boy above can call the First Lady whatever he wants.

'Sides, she'll just take another vacation at taxpayer expense to get over the insult...

Anonymous said...

Gas going to the moon and everything gone to hell in a handbasket. Worst ever ecomomy and a carefree socialist in the White House and acts like he has no care in the world and 16 trilliion debt. Get him outta here.

Make it a crime not to work and pay taxes. Some jobless criminals owe millions. Throw them in jail.
Consider bringing back slavery for all races this time to work off and repay their debts to society and taxpayers.

Consider horse whippings and public execution for able bodied habitual sorryass moochers who refuse to work otherwise. They are a stench and worthless to society robbing and stealing off taxpayers and the govt.

Slavery was legal worldwide until 150 yrs ago and needs to return to pay off debts etc. All world nations and religions practiced it for many thousands of years including in Africa who still does.

Clean up the sorry useless human filth and slime in society to save America before its too late.

Anonymous said...

nice idea..thanks for sharing....