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Obama for America

"Jim Messina: Paths to 270 Electoral Votes" +
  3:22 web video from Dec. 29, 2011.


Jim Messina: Hi, everybody.  It's Jim Messina, the President's campaign manager.  I wanted to spend a minute just talking to you about what we're building on the ground and give you a behind the scenes look at our maps and how we think we get to 270 electoral votes.

We think there's over 40 different pathways to get there.  I want to spend a minute talking to you about five pathways. 

How we start this is the Kerry map.  The 246 electoral votes that John Kerry carried.  We believe that those states are all states that we can carry.

We add to that different pathways.  The first is the West, something I care deeply about since I'm from out there.  It's one of the places we believe in the future will help decide presidential elections.  Obviously there are difficult states.  Colorado and Nevada are states the Democrats hadn't won for a very long time that the President carried last time.  I've been in both states in the past couple of months; we're building really good teams.  And this is why we do what we do.  We believe if we register more voters, start putting teams into place that can start talking to voters, we can win these states.  If we can win Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and add that to Iowa, Barack Obama wins again.

Second is Florida.  We can't just have a Florida strategy, but Florida's the easiest way to 270 electoral votes.  We have a big operation on the ground in Florida.  We're working hard to carry Florida.

Next is the South.  If you add North Carolina and Virginiaxxwe call this the New South map.  We put the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina in part because we believe so deeply in this map.  We've had big electoral wins in 2011 on the ground, we have great neighborhood teams in North Carolina.  And then Virginia is one of the bellwethers of national politics now.  It's a place that we've worked very hard in.  We have a lot of Virginians here in Chicago helping us work every single day.  We feel very good about what we're building.

The next path is the Midwest.  We've probably done more work on the ground in Ohio in 2011 than any other state in the country.  Our goal is to win Ohio, but it shouldn't be the only way there, and that's why these other pathways are important to us as well.

And the last path is just an important reminder to everyone.  We shouldn't have anyone's old map, including even our old 2008 map.  We ought to have new ways to 270 electoral votes.  And that includes winning states that weren't pathways in 2008, and one of the best examples of that is Arizona.  Arizona was not a swing state last time because Senator McCain was there.  There are hundreds of thousands of eligible voters who are unregistered in Arizona.  We're excited about our opportunities there.  In fact just last month a poll came out that kind of surprised everyone showing the President leading by a few points there.  We believe we can put Arizona into play and we're beginning the work on the ground to do that. 

So the good news is we have a lot of options.  Our entire goal here is to put as many of these maps into play as possible.  And at the end it's just a financial decision.  Do we have enough money to register the voters we need in Arizona?  Can we start putting more neighborhood team organizers on the ground in North Carolina. 

It's all about whether we have the resources to do that.  People have speculated this is a billion dollar campaign.  That's bulls**t. [beep]  We don't take PAC money, unlike our opponents.  We fund this campaign in contributions of $3 or $5 or whatever you can do to expand the map to put more people on the ground to build a real grassroots campaign that is going to be the difference between winning and losing.

Have a happy holiday.  Thanks for all you do.  Next year's going to be a big year.  We're going to win, and we're going to do it together.  Thanks everybody.

Notes: The video shows a confident campaign, working on many fronts.  A minor curious point about the video are the occasional side shots of Messina that make it appear as if he is speaking to someone in the side of the room.  The beeped out bulls**t is also interesting.