Obama campaign chief of staff on polling, enthusiasm

You may have already read of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s chat with Iowans here or here.  Other highlights of the morning meeting of Ioaw Democrats attending the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver included former Governor Tom Vilsack starting things off by calling Iowa Democrats “game changers” because they voted for Barack Obama over his candidate, Hillary Clinton and he reminded them the game isn’t over ’til November.  State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald talked about unity in broader terms: “It isn’t just, ‘OK, gosh, I guess I’ll go vote for Barack.’ It means we’ve got really dig in and help the whole Democratic ticket.  You know, it’s important to elect those down-ballot offices.  I know because I am one.”

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller told the Democrats McCain.2008 isn’t McCain.2000: “He was somewhat of a maverick, but he’s not that person anymore.”

Jim Messina, Obama campaign chief of staff, spoke for about 8 and a half minutes. Listen here/download mp3  “Im not the public speaker in the group, so we’ll try this,” Messina said to open. “…I want to make very clear that Barack Obama is commited to Iowa as the first in the way we elect the president.” 

He talked about the electoral map in detail.  “Let’s do some math,” Messina said.  When Messina got to Arizona: “If Senator McCain continues to be the schmuck he’s being, we’re going to play there, you know, and go tell some truth.”

Here are some other nuggetts from Messina:

  • “As of this morning, we have 2504 staff.” 
  • “We actually have four phD statisticians on our staff in Chicago that do nothing all day but crunch numbers.”
  • “The national polls don’t matter to us.  We don’t look at them in Chicago.  We focus on the 18 states we have to have to win this election.”
  • “We care more about the enthusiasm gap in the campaign in the daily polling than we do the head-to-head.”

REWIND and listen to Paul Tewes, another Obama campaign insider, speak to the Iowa delegation in Denver.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.