ABC News’ Jake Tapper reports:
“Every single day when we wake up we oughta note this campaign’s gonna be won or lost by a single vote in a precinct,” President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, says in a video emailed to supporters today.
Messina says the president is not going to run like an incumbent but rather like an insurgent, and he outlines many reasons – from Republican enthusiasm to the uniqueness of the 2008 campaign – as to why this campaign will be tough. The video is typical of the kind that former 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe, currently a White House senior adviser, used to send to supporters in an attempt to make them feel included in strategy.
Cautioning that the landscape will be more challenging this year, Messina notes that Republican outside groups are planning to increase their involvement in the campaign, taking advantage of rules relaxed by the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling. Referring to a New York Times story about the conservative group American Crossroads, Messina says “they’ve already announced a $120 million campaign to defeat your president. We have to compete with that.”
Messina acknowledges that the GOP will have enthusiasm. “Republicans are going to be fired up to take on President Obama,” he says.
President Obama has told friends that 2008 was a unique “lightning in a bottle” campaign, and almost wistfully Messina says that the 2008 campaign “was the most special thing a lot of us have ever been a part of” but if they run the same campaign in 2012 “we stand a good chance of losing.”
In the roughly 6 minute video presentation, Messina say the keys to re-election are: Expanding the electorate; Building something new; Growing the grassroots in the states; Measuring progress; and Working for every vote.
Messina underlines the importance of expanding the electorate by noting that Democrats registered significantly more voters than did Republicans in 2007 and 2008 (65% of new registrants were Democrats in 2007, 69% in 2008, according to the DNC) and the president won first time voters overwhelmingly (winning 53% of those who registered in 2007 and 69% of those who registered in 2008, according to the National Exit Poll.)
“That made real differences in very close states across this country,” Messina says in the video. “We’ve got to do that again in 2012.” President Obama won 12 states by fewer than 15 points, the video notes.
The campaign manager argues that Obama’s grassroots involvement needs to be farther reaching, more focused and more innovative than volunteers were in 2008. In his email, Messina writes that the “campaign will be grounded in President Obama’s experience as a community organizer. This notion of ordinary people taking responsibility for the organization at the neighborhood level is not only the way to win, it’s also the way politics ought to work.”
After asking supporters to join the “I’M IN” campaign, in which they announce that they’re on board with the president’s re-election effort and reach out to colleagues, neighbors, twitter followers, Facebook friends and pals on email, Messina talks about the importance of building teams, contacting voters, and running a metrics-driven campaign where door-knocks, phone calls and other activities are measured.
Messina’s pronunciation of “measure” – MAY-shur – reveals his Montana upbringing.