Top Obama aide claims ‘momentum’ from convention

Olivier Knox
The Ticket

Despite a dismal August jobs report, President Barack Obama emerged from the Democratic National Convention with "momentum," a top aide said Friday. Senior adviser David Plouffe acknowledged that the party gathering would probably not yield any significant change in public opinion polls, but he suggested it may help Obama's get-out-the-vote machine.

"We come out of the convention with momentum. That doesn't mean the race is going to change significantly. But we think that we come out of here with some momentum in terms of putting together the electoral picture," Plouffe told reporters as the president kicked off a three-day campaign swing through the toss-up states of New Hampshire, Iowa and Florida.

"Our belief is we entered the convention with a small but important lead in most of those battleground states. We'll see where we are at the end of next week, let's say. But our suspicion is the race is going to be about where it was. And that's a problem for Mitt Romney," he said. Obama campaign aides argue that their get-out-the-vote efforts will make the difference in what will be a very close race defined by voter unhappiness about the sputtering economy.

August jobs figures released Friday served up another reminder of Obama's biggest vulnerability. The month saw nonfarm payrolls add 96,000 jobs, according to data released by the Labor Department. And while the national unemployment rate fell from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent, that was because more Americans gave up looking for work.

"We are not expecting huge movement in this race all the way out to the next 60 days," said Plouffe. "But there is a chance we might have increased our turnout dynamics."

Top Obama campaign aides briefed reporters in Washington before both party conventions and predicted that there might be a "sugar high" that could shift poll numbers briefly before the race settles back into the neck and neck dynamic that has been at work for months.