Below is from FNC’s Kelly Chernenkoff:
This is from the OFF-camera press gaggle on AF1 en route from California to Ohio.
Speakers: Traveling Obama Press Secretary Jen Psaki
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney
Psaki opened up saying the president is visiting Ohio State today to remind students they only have a few more hours to register, as this is the last day. They can also vote early starting today. She then laid out in detail the Obama camp’s ground game in the state, saying they’ve been in the state since the last election and have an advantage.
“Ohio is Obama country,” she said.
Would not get into analyzing the poll, noting there are many ups and downs and they’ve always felt the race would be close.
Q: Is battleground expanding?
States in play have been entirely consistent. Seen reports Romney team moving staff out of PA and i’m sure you’re asking them about that. 7-9 states- that is where our focus is.
VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
Axelrod is with Joe Biden in Delaware helping him prep, says Psaki.
Q about its significance and if Obama and VP offices are coordinating
Any oppty you have to lay out choice to large audience is good oppty. VP debate one of them. VP and Ryan come to table with experience…
Question is which Paul Ryan coming to debate– the one misleading about everything from marthon time to specifics in convention speech or paul ryan who has eagerly embraced tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. Pres will be watching. See which one comes to debate
Q: President’s staff working with Biden? Prepping?
The Pres and VP speak regularly on range of topics. Number of people involved in both of their preps, including Axelrod. He’s with him in Delaware. Other than that, no details to readout.
I worked for him for 2 yrs. Exceptional spokesman for president’s policies… The VP has throughout career spoken passionately about middle class families and need for govt to make sure middle class strengthened, middle class security enhanced…Issues reflect where he comes from and what believes.. Anytime stands before amer ppl will do so in forceful compelling way…
Q: How is prep diff from Sarah Palin? Will there be a more aggressive Biden?
Impt to communic choice… I will not delve into specifics on strategy. No more passionate advocate for admin’s approach
Q: How president using debate- change approach? Assimilate lessons of first?
Pres will spend time preparing with team. Biggest take-away is what kind of a debater Mitt Romney is and the shaky relationship Mitt Romney has with the fact. Pres will take into account.
Q: Pres said he is hearing from people reviewing performance. Does he feel needs to step up his game?
Look the pres has been clear he’s looked back at debate performance and that of Romney and will take into account. Focus always has been on putting on blinders and laying out choice in this election
Pres often energized by people he meets, etc and most are saying “we’re with you. we’re not worried about reviews of debate. we know you’re the better choice for us.”
Asked about the apparent conscious decision not to mention Bain at the debate and whether or not that meant Obama will bring it up in the next one, Psaki didn’t want to get ahead of things, but noted the campaign still believes his experience and time at Bain important. (Perhaps a mention this time around??)
Q: Two Qs about Big Bird – Sesame St asked for ad to be pulled. Will you honor that?
We have received the request and we’re reviewing. Doesn’t change fact that only one candidate will fight for Big Bird and Elmo and he’s riding on this plane.
Aside from love of Big Bird and Elmo, the point we’re making is when Romney laid out how to address the deficit, when he said I will take a serious approach to it, his first offering was to cut funding for Big Bird and that is absurd and hard to take seriously his specific plan. If we go back to the larger point, that is what it is. If we have update on the first Q you asked [about ad being pulled] during the flight i will certainly come back and let u all know.
Q: President has bemoaned focus on trivial things. People will hear about this ad – Big Bird. Kind of focus you should have?
99 percent of his [Obama's] remarks is about fighting for middle class, fighting for affordable health care, Iraq…
We understand when your policy plan is a vapid collection of dusting off the Bush playbook…and embracing extreme foreign policy positions, you don’t have a lot to talk about and gonna attack us on Big Bird… But president will talk about important policy issues.
Q: Where is the ad running?
National cable. We fully expect people in swing states to see it.
There has been a strong grassroots outcry over attacks on Big Bird…. Mothers across the country alarmed by it.
NORTH KOREA MISSILE COMMENT
Q NK says has missiles that will reach US. US Respond?
UN resolutions required suspension of ballistic missile prog…On our assessments, I’m not gonna get into intel…but will note their recent test was notable failure…
ROMNEY’S COMMENT ON ARMING SYRIAN REBELS
Q: Romney talking about arming Syrian opposition. What does pres think of that policy statement from Romney?
We have been all along working with elements of opposition and identifying elements of opposition… that include all elements of Syrian society..
President, Secy of State and others have discussed that. We’ve provided humanitarian assistance…
Continue to blv not policy of US to provide arms… others obviously making assessments on their own. Broadly speaking, another case where critics of foreign policy asserting a great difference in approach at broad level, but not demonstrating that difference in any specificity.
If gov romney suggesting we engage militarily, he should say that.