POLITICS

MSNBC: Obama is playing defense in states where he should be secure

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

MSNBC’s Morning Joe didn’t buy the Obama team’s spin about why they have to campaign in their own strongholds of Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

“Democrats are playing a little more defense than they thought they would,” said MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin, as he noted that Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Pennsylvania and the likelihood that Bill Clinton and President Obama would do so as well.

“Every day they’re spending in Pennsylvania is a day they’re not spending in Ohio,” said MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin, as he noted that Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Pennsylvania and the likelihood that Bill Clinton and President Obama would do so as well.

Halperin’s point was not that Republicans were going to pick off Pennsylvania this year.

“The Republicans believe — not just [former Bush strategist Karl] Rove’s group, but some of the others — they believe there’s a possibility to at a minimum keep the president having to not just focus on Ohio,” he explained. “And if they can distract him away from Ohio to play defense in these other places, they can increase their chances in Ohio. “The Democrats totally dismiss this, I should say, but there’s a reality: they’re playing defense.”

Yesterday, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina brushed off concerns that his team is on the defensive in states where they should be secure.

“This morning, [Romney super PAC} Restore Our Future decided to go up in Pennsylvania, [so] we’re going to go up as well,” Messina told reporters on a conference call. “They are not close in Pennsylvania — we are going to win Pennsylvania — but we’re not taking anything for granted.”

Host Joe Scarborough, concurring with Halperin, noted that Bill Clinton is making two campaign stops in Minnesota today. “That’s worrisome for the Democrats,” he said. ABC decided this week to classify Minnesota as a state that “leans Democratic” rather than a “safe Democratic” state.

The Romney team is racing through the Midwest to win the states that can get Mitt Romney to 270 electoral votes. Ann Romney visited Michigan yesterday for two campaign rallies. Today, she’ll make multiple stops in Wisconsin and Iowa for rallies and storm relief collection efforts.

Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, will hold three events in his home state of Wisconsin tomorrow in an attempt to deliver what would be a huge pick-up for the Republican ticket. He’s in the state today visiting campaign volunteers who are working on the campaign or for storm relief.

Romney is attending a storm relief event in Ohio. Obama cancelled his Ohio events, which were scheduled for tomorrow, so that he can “monitor the response to Hurricane Sandy and ensure that all available federal resources continue to be provided to support ongoing state and local recovery efforts,” according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

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