Team Obama downplays expectations, predicts ‘close’ race after Charlotte
By Elise Viebeck - 09/01/12 02:59 PM ET
President Obama's campaign on Saturday downplayed expectations ahead of the Democratic National Convention next week, saying they expected to be locked in a close race against GOP nominee Mitt Romney until election day.
"It's been a pretty steady race to date and we expect it will be in a pretty similar place following our convention," Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a press gaggle on Air Force One, en route to the president’s campaign rallies in Iowa. "We think it’s going to be close 'til the end. That's why we have such an active schedule. That's why the president is out there campaigning."
Psaki’s comments about a packed campaign schedule between now and election day come after Obama reportedly complained last week about too much downtime.
"Why am I having a short day?" he told adviser Valerie Jarrett on Wednesday, according to the Wall Street Journal. "There should be no short days."
Psaki also said that the just completed Republican National Convention was more important for Romney than the Democratic meet would be for Obama.
“The American people know more about this president than they know about Mitt Romney so in some ways the stakes for Romney were a bit higher,” she said. “They spoke openly about the importance of him personalizing who he was and presenting to the American people what he would do for them moving forward. The president is just going to be further solidifying and bringing into focus that choice next week.”
Psaki highlighted a prediction from Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus that Romney could see an 11-point bump in the polls following the GOP convention.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Thursday found that Romney had gained six points and taken a small lead over Obama since before the GOP convention began.
The Democratic National Convention begins Tuesday in Charlotte and Obama is slated to officially accept his party’s nomination on Thursday.
Psaki said that Americans will "understand what's at stake" in November by the end of next week.
She also touted the campaign’s efforts to encourage supporters to register and vote early, which she said would be a "big part" of the president’s reelection bid.
"He will continue to urge people to register and to vote, early if possible," Psaki said.
Obama would continue to promote a new Web site, GottaRegister.com, which has seen a spike in traffic, she added. Psaki noted that in 2008 in “key” battleground states, 50 percent of voter registrations happened between August and November.
"That’s why at this stage it’s so important we go to states where people are starting to vote soon," she said.
Psaki added that the Obama team feels "we have an on-the-ground advantage" over the Romney campaign. "In many states, we’ve had people on the ground since 2008," she said.