This morning, I attended an ABC/Yahoo Newsmakers panel at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. (That is a sentence that confounds me.) Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, and Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt spoke with reporters for an hour about strategy and the president's speech on Thursday. The thing is, when you're dealing with campaign staffers working at this high a level, you're unlikely to make any news. Messina, LaBolt, and Cutter stayed on-message and were altogether bland. The word "forward" was mentioned roughly five thousand times in a single hour. Cutter kept referring to the "unpopular" decisions the president had to make, and her opening answer to whether the country is better off now than four years ago, which referred to how "GM is alive and bin Laden is dead," and that "our financial system is the most stable in the world," was textbook-perfect.
The three fielded questions about whether Bank of America stadium's 75,000 seats will be full for President Obama's speech on Thursday (Cutter: "We won't have trouble filling it"), what the purpose of Michelle Obama's speech tonight will be (she's going to present her husband as someone who has felt the struggles of a member of the American middle class) and whether the president will get this month's jobs report on Thursday night, before he gives his speech (neither Messina nor Cutter knew when the president gets the jobs report).
The most interesting part for me was hearing Messina compare the 2012 and 2008 Obama campaigns. He says volunteers have knocked on 150% more doors than in 2008. He also feels confident that the Obama campaign's volunteer organization is outstripping the Romney campaign. "In Ohio, we already have 100 field offices open. I think in [the Romney campaign's] last report, they had 30." Messina promised, "We're gonna make 2008 on the ground look like Jurassic Park." (I assume he meant they're going to make the 2008 Obama campaign look prehistoric, not that they're going to make the 2008 Obama campaign look like a science fiction genetics lab that miraculously brings long-extinct species back from oblivion.) And then, not having made any news, the Newsmakers panel was done.