Latest White House Press Pool report

Subject: print pool #4

Carney and Psaki gaggled for about 12 minutes at the end of the flight, literally standing as we smoothly landed. They fielded questions about President Obama’s mindset in the final days of the race, his evolving relationship with former President Clinton and what polls are telling the campaign right now. 


Carney started:
“As we speak, presidents Obama and Clinton as well as chief of staff Jack Lew, David Axelrod, David Plouffe and a few others are engaged in a conversation towards the front of the plane” Asked about what, he replied “a variety of matters. Also said that “the President has been regularly engaged with his team on recovery efforts in the wake of hurricane Sandy”.
“The President will continue to receive updates today”. He’ll get a “full briefing” from Napolitano, Fugate, Brennan and Mastromonaco. Timing unclear yet.

Among senior officials in NY/NJ today: Napolitano in Monmouth county and Hoboken NJ where shell meet with gov Christie. HUD secretary Donovan will also be in the NY region.

Jen Psaki highlighted the state of the race in the states POTUS is going to visit today. In FL, “44 percent of Florida votes and the President leads by 7 points” according to a WSJ NBC poll.
In OH “28 percent of Ohio votes have already been cast”. POTUS leads 63-35 she said.
In CO: “nearly two thirds” of votes there have already been cast “and the president leads by 3 points” among those.
She said that last night in VA, POTUS and FPOTUS Clinton chatted casually backstage, “and I think they both really enjoyed spending that time together and also working the ropeline together.”

Question on POTUS’s mood: Psaki said that POTUS in his closing arguments comes back to what his political career has been focused on. “Fighting for the middle class, making sure people have a voice.”
On the campaign: “this is a family. There are a lot of laughs. And a lot of nostalgia on the ups and downs, the incredible rollercoaster that this journey has been from the day he announced he was running”.
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Psaki was asked how many events Clinton has done with Obama so far this campaign and what their relationship is like now after a hard-fought race four years ago. 
She said she believed Clinton had done 26 events before last night and said she would get the reporter a final number. She said Clinton “has been a tireless — and by tireless I mean he is also losing his voice — advocate on behalf of the president.” She acknowledged the hard fought campaign four years ago — but said they have a unique bond that you only have when you’ve served in the Oval Office and you’re dealing with the tough decisions you have to deal with as president. “Obama has enjoyed the growth in their friendship and relationship,” she siad. “…They have a really easy rapport with one another and that’s been a really enjoyable part of the last couple of weeks…” 

Carney then chimed in, noting that the two have been speaking on the phone regularly. ”The relationship has grown from our view, from the view of president Obama, quite strong — and president obama appreciates greatly president Clinton’s help in this campaign…and his capacity to articulatate an argument about the kind of future we need to build especially when it comes to the economic policy.” He called Romney economic plans “carbon copies” of the policies that led to the economic crisis four years ago.  

On the current polls, Psaki said she was not going to release internal polls two days before the election. “We always have known this the race would be close but we’re leading or tied in every single swing state — that’s been consistent.” In Ohio, she said the Romney campaign has spent the last few weeks “putting up tents and moving into the state” and even with both Romney and Ryan campaigning there, she said they have been unable to move the margin. She also said they wouldn’t have run the “false ad” they did in the state if Ohio was close. She said the campaign confident that they will win on Tuesday. 

There was also a question about a report about Army Gen. Ham, head of Africom, was forced to step down and retire because he refused to follow a “stand down” order by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. 

Carney referred the question to the Defense Department. “The Defense dept has responded in great detail to some of these stories — so I will just refer yo to the Pentagon for that,” he asid.

Psaki responded to a question about Obama’s roots as an organizer and how he worked on voter registration efforts for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in years past. 

Psaki said Obama has “reflected quite a bit about his roots” in the final days and said on the stump he is “harkening back to some of the same themes he’s ben talking about since he first started running for public office.”  – 
“As many ups and downs as it has been in this journey — two days away from winning re-election with clinton on the plane — we’d far rather be us than them.” 

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