Obama campaign’s Messina: Long odds for Romney in N.C., Iowa and Colorado

Based on ballots already cast in states that allow early voting, Mitt Romney would need to win 65 percent of remaining voters in North Carolina, 59 percent in Iowa and Colorado, 58 percent in Nevada, and 55 percent in Florida and Ohio, President Obama’s campaign manager said Saturday.

Jim Messina said the figures based on early voting make an Election Day victory for Mr. Romney more difficult, and he disputed Republican assertions that those casting early votes were Democrats’ most reliable votes anyway, and not an indicator of what’s to come on Tuesday.

One-quarter of 1.8 million citizens that the campaign persuaded to register to vote in battleground states has already taken advantage of early voting, he said.

But early voting represented only a small part of a campaign that would not declare victory in any swing state until all ballots had been cast.

Supporters have set up 5,100 “staging locations” to serve as a “central hub for supporters and volunteers,” with volunteers signing up for 700,000 shifts, in contrast to remote call centers employed by many campaigns.

“At the start of get-out-the-vote weekend, we’ve made 125 million personalized phone calls or door knocks. These do not include robocalls or literature drops. Many campaigns have favored quantity over quality; we do not,” Jeremy Bird, the campaign’s national field director, said on a conference call with reporters.

On Election Day, volunteers from those hubs will be approaching the “very voters they registered, that they know personally, and directing them to the nearby polling centers they know well,” he said.

Florida put a stop to early voting after Saturday with a new state law, and residents seeking to take advantage of their last chance at early voting were frustrated by long lines, but campaign staffers were patrolling the lines “encouraging people to hang in there,” Mr. Messina said.

And the campaign expected a boost compared to 2008 in that state because “there are 250,000 more African American and Latino voters in Florida.”

As Republican nominee Mitt Romney launched an assault on Mr. Obama in a new ad playing off of a clip of Mr. Obama saying “don’t boo. Vote. Vote. Voting’s the best revenge” — Mr. Romney asks in an ad released Saturday, “Did you see what President Obama said today? He asked his supporters to vote for revenge — for revenge.”

Mr. Obama’s campaign said that was a weak use of the precious last hours of campaigning.

“I think it’s interesting that that’s the closing argument; it seems very small. You certainly heard a lot of desperation in the last week from them,” Mr. Messina said. “They sent out Mayor Giuliani to tell the president to resign four days before an election. That’s the kind of thing you do in a banana republic.”

“The revenge is if you disagree we should return to the same policies that devastated the middle class in the first place, the place to make your voice heard is at the polls.”

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