“We have the math, they have the myth.”
That’s how Obama campaign manager Jim Messina described the state of the presidential race today, less than a week before voters head to the polls.
Democrats have been exuberantly confident about their prospects, swatting away speculation today that new ads and campaign stops in states that had been considered safe – Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania – are signs of a struggling campaign.
“I’ve put my moustache on the line,” senior strategist David Axelrod said of Obama’s odds of holding those three states.
Axelrod earlier today bet Joe Scarborough, host of “Morning Joe,” that he would “shave off my moustache of 40 years if we lose any of those states.”
The decision to spend money in the traditionally blue markets stems from a “theory throughout that we wouldn’t cede any state,” he said, citing new TV spots from Romney and his super PAC allies. Axelrod said the Obama campaign has had a “contingency fund for this purpose.”
Asked whether he’d also put his moustache on the line for another key battleground — Virginia — Axelrod wouldn’t go that far. “I put my most valuable asset on the line already, so I’m not,” he told reporters. “The answer is I’m confident we’re going to win Virginia.”
With the show of confidence, Obama’s aides accused the Romney campaign of pushing a fantasy about growing momentum in the polls and a potentially expanding electoral map.
“This professed momentum is really faux-mentum,” Axelrod said. ”It’s fair to say we’ve come to break-glass time in Boston.”
“There is growing recognition on the other side that Ohio is fading away … there is no battleground state where they can be comfortable. … They are looking for opportunities here as far-fetched as they may be,” he said.
Added Messina, his words dripping with confidence: “At this time next week, President Obama will have been elected for a second term.”
As for the potential political impact of Hurricane Sandy, Axelrod said he believes the storm “tended to freeze this race wherever you think this race is,” which, in his view, is Obama holding the lead.
The decision to return President Obama to the campaign trail on Thursday was made because “we passed a threshold here and we do have an election on Tuesday and we owe it to folks to make the final arguments,” he said.
After two days off the campaign trail in Washington, Obama will hold rallies in Green Bay, Wis., Las Vegas and Boulder, Colo., Thursday.
This post has been updated.