WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama's re-election prospects are brightening, campaign manager Jim Messina and strategist David Axelrod said in a Wednesday briefing--where Axelrod ripped Mitt Romney for not calling out Rush Limbaugh.
Messina and Axelrod held a conference call to give a post SuperTuesday "state of the race" analysis. Both concluded--warning, messaging point coming--that Romney is driving away independents because he 'has gone so far right."
Messina said GOP dissatisfaction was "supersized." He also side-stepped a question about whether the Democratic 2012 convention platform should include a gay marriage plank saying it will be up to the platform committee.
Plank aside, Messina said, "our record stands in sharp contrast to the other side and what the other side has said is that they want a constitutional amendment on anti-marriage. They want to put back into place Don't Ask Don't Tell, and a bunch of other regressive policies. And so that couldn't be any more contrasted with our record and so, there'll be a process from that and we will go through that process."
NEWS: Next week, Vice President Joe Biden is going to battleground states--starting in Ohio for some big election speeches.
Also next week: the release of 17-minute documentary about the President's first term in office by the director Davis Guggenheim, who made Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth."
LIMBAUGH: Limbaugh said Sandra Flukes, a Georgetown Law School student, was a "slut" after she was thrust in the news--starting when a GOP House hearing on contraception benefits in the new Obama health insurance law refused to let her testify."
Axelrod said Romney "essentially refused to comment on what was a really egregious set of comments by Limbaugh.
"Because he is afraid to challenge a guy who is the de facto head of his party. This does not impress independent voters and it shows up, even in these primary campaigns," Axelrod said.
Andrea Mitchell, on her MSNBC Show askedRomney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom, why Romney did take on Limbaugh. Replied Fehrnstrom, "We are not going to be distracted or taken off our central message."
ROMNEY PERFORMANCE: "In every primary we've seen just how disappointed Republicans are in their candidates and how dissatisfied they are with their choices. In state after state, Republicans voters have stayed home and frankly I don't blame them," Messina said.
"On Super Tuesday we saw that dissatisfaction get supersized. The lack of enthusiasm among Republicans is real and it's unmistakable, and what we saw last night is overall Republican primary turnout down 8.8% in the Super Tuesday states. In six states, turnout fell since 2008--Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Virginia and Tennessee. Independents have bailed on Romney just in time for the General Election.
"Romney's gone so far right that it's cost him the independent support. Only in his home state of Massachusetts did he win independents. He lost independents in every single other state. In Ohio he lost by ten points among "voters who understand average American problems." He lost young voters in every state and he lost middle class voters in every state, except for Massachusetts. You know, what you saw last night in Ohio was Barack Obama getting more votes than any candidate on the ballot."
MONEY: "We know that there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of Super PAC money, matched against us-- or that will be matched against us," said Axelrod.
"Between Rove and the Koch brothers, etc. we're looking at over half a billion dollars in independent spending potentially. We have to be ready for it," Messina said.