Deputy White House press secretary Josh Earnest and campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki gaggled aboard Air Force One for about 22 minutes. Please check quotes against transcript.
Earnest said he wanted to “point out” a Tweet from Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who on Friday noted that Miami experienced the largest year-to-year decline in its unemployment rate of any metropolitan area in the nation.
“You’ll hear from the president a little bit more today about what he believes we should do to build on that progress …”
Psaki gave a brief preview of the president’s remarks in south Florida:
Mr. Obama “will remind the American people who the real Mitt Romney is. If you just tuned in to the race over the last two weeks, you would … be seeing a Mitt Romney who seems to have no familiarity or recollection of his own positions. If you’ve been tuned in to the race for two years, or you simply clicked on his web site, you’d be very familiar with his positions that are very similar to the extreme right wing of his party on many issues. If he’s not willing, and his team’s not willing to tell the truth about his own record, we will.”
She said Democrats in Florida have a 450,000-person advantage in voter registration over Republicans, and over the last three months Democrats have registered 15,000 more Florida voters than Republicans. She said 44 percent of new registrants are under age 30. At this point in 2008, she said, Republicans outnumbered Democrats among absentee mail ballots by more than 240,000. “We’ve narrowed that gap, that margin, so that now it’s just over 70,000,” Psaki said.
On the veep debate:
Psaki: “The vice president is pretty fired up and ready to go this evening for the debate. His Number One goal is to lay out the choice for the American people. The question is, which Paul Ryan will show up this evening? Will it be the Paul Ryan who’s been called the intellectual leader of the Tea Party, of the right wing of the Republican Party, who’s embraced voucherizing Medicare, who’s embraced a $5 trillion tax-cut package that would give benefits to millionaires and billionaires, and leave the burden on the middle class, or is it the Paul Ryan who made fact-checkers work overtime during his convention speech?”
“We feel great about the vice president and looking forward to watching this evening, which the president will do on the plane tonight. We have great confidence in the vice president’s performance. He’ll be watching it on the plane this evening.”
The president had not spoken to the vice president today before boarding Air Force One in Washington.
on the trajectory of the campaign:
“Yes, Mitt Romney had a good night last week. He had a better night than President Obama. Our focus since then has been communicating directly with the American people about the choice in this election. In the swing states, the seven to nine states where this campaign is being not only debated but will be decided, the race has been relatively stable. That’s in part because we spent time this summer laying out for the American people what the president would do with another four years…. And we feel very confident in our ground game.”
On new polls in battleground states:
“It has been about a week since the debate. We always thought this race would be close. We’re exactly where we thought we’d be. We never thought we were going to win Ohio by 10 points, or that Virginia and Florida and Colorado would be states where we won by five or six points. There’s remarkable consistency and stability in a lot of these state polls and we’re back to maybe not quite where we were right before the debate, but certainly where we were right before the convention.”
“Twenty percent of people have already voted. Only six or seven percent of people in those polls said they were impacted by the debate.”
On the House hearing on Libya yesterday:
“We have said all along, the president has said … that he believes it’s important for us to get to the bottom of what exactly happened. The president knew Ambassador Stevens personally.”
“The president also wants to make sure that we are conducting a review of our diplomatic facilities all around the world to ensure that they are secure and our diplomats are protected. The president is following these investigations, and what we will try to do as these investigations run their course, is share with you the results of those investigations.”
On the president’s statement in the Rose Garden on Sept. 12, when he said America will not shrink from “acts of terror,” Earnest said, “I think the president’s statement was pretty clear and very declarative.”
Tarmac greeters in Miami:
Below are the names of the tarmac greeters at the Miami International Airport (in order):
Frederica Wilson, U.S. House of Representatives, Representative
Dwight Bullard, Florida House of Representatives, Representative