Does David Axelrod check in with his own campaign? When told of news that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would campaign in Ohio today rather than retire to hotel rooms for Election Day, Axelrod told a Colorado news station that it showed a lack of confidence bordering on desperation to hold events as voters go to the polls in swing states (emphasis mine):
Well, he’s also sending satellite feeds, like this one into battleground states. Partly we didn’t want to detract assets from the get out the vote efforts. Anytime you bring the President to an area where there’s volunteer strength and staff strength that you need to devote to that. We’d rather have them working on the get out the vote efforts. I can’t speak for our opponents and why they don’t think that’s important, but I suspect they feel like they’re in some degree of trouble and therefore they want to get their candidate out there for some frantic last- minute appeal.
Shortly thereafter, this came across Twitter from CNN’s Jim Acosta:
OHIO:Biden just landed in AF2 in Cleveland and taxied right past Romney charter.
— Jim Acosta (@jimacostacnn) November 6, 2012
Stephanie Cutter explained to Fox News that Sheriff Joe was arriving just to check on whether there was enough paper in the printer at campaign HQ, or something:
FOX NEWS’ JENNA LEE: “What’s the deal with Joe Biden going to Ohio? Why did you decide to send him?”
STEPHANIE CUTTER: “Well, just one last stop to make sure that everything is in order, everything is set. Ohio, obviously, is incredibly important for either candidate’s prospects, and we feel good about where we are. So the vice president wanted to make one last stop on his way to Chicago, so it should be a pretty good event.”
LEE: “And when did you decide to make that stop?”
CUTTER: “Uh, when did we decide to make that stop? Well, this is…”
LEE: “Is this in reaction to Mitt Romney going, or did you decide to go regardless of that?”
CUTTER: “We had decided a couple of days ago, but this type of stop is called an off-the-record stop so we don’t have to interrupt traffic, we don’t have to interrupt people trying to go vote. It’s just a quick unplanned, unannounced stop to reach a couple of voters. So I wish I could see that picture of the two planes on the tarmac because that sums up what is going on today. Everybody’s competing for these last votes.”
Lee also spoke to Joe Vardon of the Columbus Dispatch, who suspects that Axelrod might be right — but that it’s Democrats who are worried:
LEE: “Joe Vardon is a political reporter for the Columbus Dispatch and he joins us now on the phone. Joe, let’s talk a little bit about these two last-minute visits, one by Romney’s team and one by Biden, obviously, the president’s team. What do you make of those last-minute visits?”
VARDON: “Well, you know, yesterday privately the Obama campaign was talking to me about how this is a sign of panic from the Romney campaign, ‘silly,’ those sorts of things, and low and behold the vice president stops in the Cleveland unannounced. You know, we’ve been talking all week about making moves from positions of strength, and you could say that the jeep ad that Romney ran in Ohio would not seem to have been run from a position of strength. This last-second move makes you wonder on the Obama campaign side if some of the polling and some of the early vote numbers they thought may have skewed the election their way early on.”
I’d say everyone’s worried about Ohio — and that no one wants to rest until the polls close. That sounds like pretty good campaign strategy, too.