Obama, knowing full well the Romney argument is a powerful one that will resonate with many swing voters, will run...
Obama, knowing full well the Romney argument is a powerful one that will resonate with many swing voters, will run what amounts to a half-dozen campaigns, equally negative, better organized but backed with less cash.
Obama_s plan is to slice and dice his way through myriad campaigns, all distinct, all designed to turn on _ or off _ very specific subsets of voters in specific states or even counties. Republicans concede Obama is better organized in the areas getting hit with the micro-campaigns.
There_s the auto-bailout campaign, unfolding in Ohio and soon Wisconsin, aimed at working-class whites. Democrats feel fine about Michigan _ for now.
There_s the for-women_s-eyes-only campaign designed to stretch the gender gap in the suburbs of Denver and elsewhere. A huge portion of the convention _ the prominent speeches by abortion-rights activists, to constant appeals, to gender equality and access, to contraception _ was dedicated to this micro-campaign alone.
There_s the Hispanic campaign playing out in Spanish on Univision in any market with a decent chunk of Latinos. The Obama campaign is aiming to top 70 percent of the Hispanic vote, higher in swing states, to offset what they expect will be a dismal showing among whites.
The Obama plan also focuses on students with an education message; veterans in states that include Virginia, Florida, Colorado and Nevada; housing in Nevada and Florida, where the market tanked; and military families in Virginia, Florida and Colorado. Obama is also targeting Medicare in states with older populations including Florida, New Hampshire and Iowa.
_They_re a broadcast network, and we_re a local cable station,_ a top Obama adviser said. _Romney wins with the broader argument, which is: _You gave him a chance and he failed, so it_s time for a change._ Their best argument is not around specific groups. Our opportunity is with people who do not know about the president_s specific accomplishments that might affect them, and will respond when they hear about them in a very direct way._
In the end, what gives both camps the sense that Obama is better positioned is the map of 10 states they are fighting on. Two months ago, a top Romney official said they had to have at least one or two of these states in the bag, preferably Florida, to be on course to win. They don_t.
_Our problems are Virginia, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire,_ a top official said. _Our opportunities are Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado. We can_t trade our problems for our opportunities and win the presidency. If we trade our problems for our opportunities, we lose._
Stevens said Romney remains unfazed by the hand-wringing among Republicans and staff.
_We_re a very patient campaign,_ Stevens said. _We_re the campaign that couldn_t break 25 percent [in the primaries]. We just have tremendous confidence in the governor_s ability to talk to people in a way that resonates. Very steady, very confident._
But for those not speaking for the record, also very worried.