Axelrod, Davis Offer Competing Views on '08 Race

Top campaign strategists go head-to-head on "This Week."

Nov. 2, 2008 -- With just two days left in the presidential race, Sen. John McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, and Sen. Barack Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, spoke this morning on the outlook for Election Day.

Davis predicted that Americans will see "a victory by John McCain" on Tuesday.

"Not the first comeback, but the last for this election cycle," he explained in a "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" interview.

But Davis declined to share his thoughts on how many electoral votes McCain will ultimately win, saying "anything over 270 will be fine with me."

In a separate interview, Axelrod explained that his campaign's "goal is to get 270. I feel good about our chances to do that."

But he is not without some concerns.

"The main thing I worry about is complacency," he said in a "This Week" interview. "I don't want people to hear me or anyone and assume that this campaign is over. If we are casual about this and we don't go to the polls and make our voices heard, then we could get a result that the polls don't project. And that's my concern. That's why we're hopscotching all over the country."

The two also responded to the latest national polling.

"A lot of polls, right now, they're weighted down against the Republican Party," Davis said.

ABC News' latest tracking polls show Obama with a steady nine-point lead over McCain.

"For these polls to have less than, or more than a 5-point or a 3-point margin between the Democratic, Republican Party, you know, I just think it skews the results of these polls," Davis said.

But Axelrod disagreed, "I think that [Davis] needs to [spin] some sort of interpretation to keep his troops up. And I understand that. That's -- you know, when you're at the end of the campaign and things are tilting against you, that's what you do. I don't think any objective look at the polls would suggest that."

Davis also responded to a new Obama campaign ad out this morning highlighting Vice President Dick Cheney's recent endorsement of McCain.

Davis said that McCain's relationship with the Bush administration is "certainly the contrast that Barack Obama has been trying to punch through in this election," but that "the closing argument, the stale, old politics of the past that Barack Obama has...he has really undermined his credibility as the agent of change."

"The idea that somehow that that is a great way to end your campaign, Barack Obama, is almost an insult to the American voter," he concluded.

Davis went on to defend the McCain campaign strategy when asked if they should have defined a clean break with President Bush earlier in the general election.

I don't think it's a matter of, you know, when any of these things happen...really most of the selection is encapsulated in the last month."

Finally, on his own future, Axelrod responded to rumors that he may join an Obama administration to work in the White House.

"I am going to do whatever I can to help him be a successful president, and I hope that everybody does, you know, if he gets elected," he explained.

"I would say the same for Senator McCain. We've got great problems in this country, and we're going to have to work hard to solve them. So I love him and I love this country, and I'll do whatever I can to help."