Gibbs: Yeah, probably best not to expect '08 levels of enthusiasm

In 2008, President Obama’s big win was bolstered by the big turnout of wildly enthusiastic voters that drew upon demographic groups that don’t normally show up at the polls in such large numbers. The pervasive Hopenchange spirit propelled a lot of people to get up and go vote who otherwise mightn’t have done so, but on CNN this morning, Obama senior campaign adviser Robert Gibbs admitted that, this time around, we probably shouldn’t look for quite the same level of Obama-fanaticism.

But remember, guys — the fact that people aren’t as energized about Obama this year is entirely not the president’s fault.

“Nobody is sitting up here saying this is 2008,” Gibbs said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” when asked about dwindling enthusiasm among Latinos and other key constituencies, as well as close “horse-race” numbers.

“What has happened since the election in 2008 and right now, again, is this huge economic calamity caused by a series of bad decisions that were made before the president ever got there,” he added.

Gibbs continued to say that he thought that the race between Obama and Romney would be “close.”

Blergh. Of course — despite the fact that he spends all of his time trying to convince us that he’s capable of making economic amends, during the more than three and a half years of his presidency these major economic gains have miraculously failed to materialize. But, it’s out of his control. There’s really nothing he could have done. The previous administration, you know. Headwinds. Such a shame.

The enthusiasm gap is indeed already rearing it’s ugly head, and not in favor of Obama, either. Earlier this month, a USA Today/Suffolk University poll confirmed that Obama-leaning voters aren’t exactly feeling super-compelled to show up at the polls at the moment. This morning, Rasmussen confirmed again that the race is still a close one, but suggested that it might be ever-so-slightly turning in Romney’s favor.

But don’t worry, because Team Obama is assuring us that they’re still going to find enough enthusiastic DNC convention-goers to manage to completely fill up the gigantic football stadium to which President Obama was forced to confine his magnanimosity, ’cause otherwise… well, that would just be embarrassing.

For weeks, Democrats have been concerned about filling Bank of America Stadium, home to the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. They feared a devastating image of an enthusiasm gap if Obama spoke to empty upper decks at the venue.

But the Obama campaign says it’s got it covered, and that all 73,778 of the stadium’s seats will be spoken for. The campaign also insists this success will showcase a ground operation that will help Obama win North Carolina for a second cycle in a row this November.

“We’re confident we’ll be full,” Jen Psaki, the traveling Obama press secretary, told The Hill late last week.