Obama campaign spokeswoman claims low crowd turnout at rallies is ‘by design’
posted at 11:51 am on August 19, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
In a magazine cartoon from some years ago, two explorers in pith helmets are shown sitting in a large bubbling cauldron, their arms bound to their sides by twine. As a half-naked witch doctor stirs the pot, one of the doomed men smiles and says to the other, “I’ve got the last laugh. There’s a metal plate in my head. One of them is sure to break a tooth.”
A recent article from the New York Times indicates that the Obama campaign is in some hot water of its own. Observing that the president was greeted by 4,200 prospective voters at Colorado College on August 7, Jackie Chalmes wistfully writes:
Four years ago Mr. Obama often was drawing five-digit throngs, filling arenas’ nosebleed seats and overflow rooms and regularly requiring shutdown orders from the local fire marshals.
In the following paragraph, she asks, “Where are the crowds now? And what does it mean for the results in November?” By way of an answer, she quotes Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who offers up the party line:
We have plenty of time for big rallies. Our focus right now is on exciting our supporters and winning over undecided voters and the smaller and medium-size events are the best venue to accomplish that because the president can closely engage with the crowd.
Besides “big rallies are expensive” and pose “logistical and security challenges for a president.” Which is why the campaign is intentionally limiting crowd size. Sure, that makes perfect sense. You wouldn’t want crowds cheering so loudly that they missed even one word of Obama’s golden-tongue oratory.
The only problem with this rose-colored scenario is that the president has been having trouble filling seats at campaign events for well over a year. At a $44-a-seat fundraiser in Miami in June of 2011, he managed to place warm bodies in only 980 of 2,200 available seats. One of the few occasions where a mention of Obama’s name generated an overflow crowd was in New York in April when a capacity throng lined a Bronx street outside a tax preparation storefront with the expectation that they would be receiving free “Obama money.”
A recent poll, conducted prior to Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, shows voter enthusiasm for the GOP ticket running higher than for the Democrats, at a margin of 51% to 39%. The situation for the Obama campaign has become so desperate that his handlers have taken to reseating audience members behind the president so the crowd doesn’t look quite so thin.
But not to worry. The president may end up having the last laugh. It may turn out that he too has a metal plate in his head.
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