BOCA RATON, Fla. — Senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod said Monday night that the presidential race is where the campaign expected it to be two weeks before Election Day, and that he believes the President Obama is winning.
“I’m saying this race is exactly the race we said we’re in,” Axelrod said in the spin room after Monday night’s third and final presidential debate.
“When polls were irrationally exuberant,” he added, “I said the race was going to be a close race. Anybody who’s heard what I said of the last year and a half — [it] was that, you know, we won with 53 percent of the vote last time with all the wind at our back and this was going to be a closer race.”
“This race is basically the race that we expected. But if you look state by state, we’re doing well in these battleground states. Are they close? Yes. That’s why they’re called battleground states.”
Asked by The Daily Caller whether he expected Wisconsin to be in play, Axelrod said the president will win the Badger State.
“We expected Wisconsin to be closer than last time,” he said.
“I think Wisconsin will be — it is in our column now, it’s going to be in our column.”
In 2011 when Obama campaign manager Jim Messina laid out President Obama’s most likely paths to victory, all the electoral maps assumed the president would win Wisconsin, which the president won by 14 percentage points in 2008.
According to the latest RealClearPolitics polling average of the state, Obama is leading Romney by less than 3 percentage points now.
Nonetheless, the Obama campaign isn’t surprised by the state of the race, Axelrod argued.
“This race has settled into the pattern that we expected,” he said. “I think we have a persistent lead among the battleground states. I think we’re ahead in some of these key battleground states.”
President Obama, Axelrod concluded, is in the driver’s seat.
“I believe we are in a very strong position to win this race,” he said. “I think we’re in the lead.”
According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, the race is virtually tied nationally, with Romney registering 47.6 percent support and Obama registering 47.2 percent.