Messina, Axelrod: Disregard these pesky rumors that we're giving up on North Carolina, etc

There’s been plenty of speculatin’ about whether or not Team Obama is pulling away from North Carolina and reinvesting their precious resources in more viably attainable swing states, as it’s looking more and more like the time is nigh to cede the territory’s fifteen electoral votes to Team Romney. Allahpundit already took note of this last night, but ICYMI, adviser to pro-Obama super PAC Paul Begala got pretty candid on CNN yesterday and admitted that all signs point to the Obama campaign indeed shifting their focus elsewhere.

Not all of the president’s devotees, however, are quite so willing to admit defeat in one of Obama’s well-touted prima ballerinas of normally-presidentially-red states that the great wave of Hopenchange managed to turn momentarily blue in 2008. In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina and adviser David Axelrod together resisted the oh-so-unfathomable claim that they’d ever be so pragmatic as to actually cut their losses — because such losses couldn’t possibly exist, per WaPo:

“I’ve heard a lot of gossip about which states campaigns are staying in or leaving,” Messina said. “We are tied or ahead in every battleground state, and we’re not leaving any state where we’re tied or ahead.”

… Asked specifically about North Carolina, Messina said the ground operation remains “huge,” and he noted that the youth vote is bigger in North Carolina than four years ago — and than in other swing states.

“I do think there’s a bit of mythology being spun up on the other side about some of these states and North Carolina is one of them,” Axelrod said. “Anybody who thinks these states are in the bag is half in the bag themselves.”

I suppose Messina is the expert, or something, but it’s pretty remarkable the difference just a few short weeks can make. Gone is the Team Obama swagger of yesteryear — seems like they’ve officially entered cagey defense-mode, whereas Team Romney is poised and ready to take full advantage of newfound opportunities, via the NYT:

With a last aggressive debate performance behind him and 14 grueling days ahead, President Obama is now facing what he worked so hard to avoid: a neck-and-neck race with a challenger gaining ground when it matters most. …

“For the first time in this race, I’d rather be us than them,” said Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, crediting Mr. Romney’s strength in the first debate as a critical shift in the campaign. “They spent months building him up as one thing and one night he disproved it.” …

Mr. Obama will spend the next two weeks pitting the campaign machinery he built to push his voters to the polls against Mr. Romney’s sense of momentum and new signs of hope in states that were tilting away from him only a month ago.

A lot can still happen in two weeks, but if the summation of the “campaign machinery” Obama built amounts to warning voters about “Romnesia,” I’d wager the Republican optimism has ample reason to continue.

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