April 4, 2011 -- In 2007, Barack Obama presented himself as the candidate of change and worked to lure Democrats with ads (click HERE for an example) that promised that: We Can End a War," "We Can Save the Planet," "We Can Change the World."
This is pretty heady and ambitious stuff, which inspired famous (or near-famous) actors and musical performers to cut a video that caught the attention of millions of Americans.
Four years later, a more subtle and subdued message from team Obama. Instead of promises to save the world, supporters of President Obama take a more realistic approach to winning the election.
"Unfortunately President Obama is one person," says a woman identified as Alice from Michigan. "He cannot go -- plus he's got a job. We're paying him to do a job so we can't say, 'Hey could you just take some time off and come up here and get us all energized?' So we better figure it out."
One supporter, Ed from North Carolina, goes as far as to say, "I don't agree with Obama on everything, but I respect him and I trust him."
Watch the President's reelection campaign kickoff video HERE.
Demographics Are Destiny
Barack Obama's decisive Electoral College victory in 2008 was made possible by his ability to win in states that Democrats traditionally carry – like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin – with states where they don't – like North Carolina, Virginia, Nevada, Colorado, and Florida. While Obama lost white voters by 12 points in 2008, he carried African American voters by 91 points, Hispanic voters by 36 points and voters under age 30 by 34 points.
To win reelection in 2012, Obama can afford to lose some traditional Democratic strongholds in the Midwest as long as he carries fast-growing southern and western states that are becoming more ethnically diverse. For example, recent census data shows that non-Hispanic whites make up 82 percent of Ohio residents and 85 percent of Wisconsin residents. In Virginia, just 66 percent of the state identifies as white, while in Florida it is 60 percent.
Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin combined add up to 48 Electoral votes. Virginia, North Carolina and Florida add up to 57 Electoral College votes.
Obama 2012: A Subdued Campaign Message
The shift in population is readily apparent in a Census Bureau map that compiles the 2010 data for each of the 50 states. See it HERE.
Who's the Opponent?
While President Obama's roadmap is becoming clear, the question of who he will face a year and a half from today is not.
Incumbent Presidents usually announce their intentions around this time. President Clinton filed candidate paperwork for his reelection in April of 1995. President George W. Bush filed paperwork in May of 2003. But both men, by that point, faced a large field of opponents.
Seven of the ten Republicans who lined up to challenge President Clinton had already formally filed their campaign papers by the time he officially kicked off his reelection campaign. All but one of the nine Democrats to line up against President Bush had filed papers with the Federal Election Commission by that May.
This year, only one Republican thought to have a shot at challenging President Obama, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, has formally started the campaign process by forming an exploratory committee.
At least ten others have flirted with campaigns, but not officially moved in that direction. For ABC News' dissection of the Republican field, go HERE.
By this time during the 2008 presidential primary season, candidates were already well on their way to building up huge campaign war chests. Mitt Romney, for example, had raised $23 million during the first quarter of 2007. By comparison, Romney announced last week that he had raised $1.9 million for his political action committees.
Money Chasing More Like a Crawl
During the first quarter of 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama took in more than $25 million and his chief rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton raised an eye-popping $36 million. The Obama 2012 campaign team won't have a first quarter report, but they we will know more about the strength of the president's fundraising effort by second-quarter filing deadline in June.
Obama raised in the neighborhood of $750 million during the 2008 race, and Obama's 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, said they are aiming for a figure that is "north" of that amount this time around. Messina reportedly told a group of 450 high-dollar "bundlers" that they were each expected to raise $350,000 by the end of this year.