President Obama's re-election headquarters in Chicago just marked its one-year anniversary, and Ben Smith and his BuzzFeed Politics crew spent some time there recently surveying the operation. What they found: Nearly 700 full-time employees, divided into teams — Silicon Valley–style — filling an entire floor of an office tower; "the most impressive digital team a presidential campaign has ever assembled"; a cautiously optimistic leadership team; and a young staff that some longtime Obama allies fear "is getting a little too cocky." For example, while Obama is already focusing solely on Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney, "to say that the campaign doesn't fear Romney is an understatement — he's viewed as almost a joke," says BuzzFeed. With a long, brutal seven months to go before the election, is the Obama campaign getting ahead of itself?
Team Obama is just bluffing: After sitting back and watching Republicans slog through primaries for a year, it would be surprising if the Obama re-election HQ wasn't up and running, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. But all the bravado rings a little hollow. Where's mention of Team Obama's "less-than-impressive fundraising efforts," or the fact that it can't even settle on a slogan or unifying message? Obama HQ is trying to paper this over with some "game on" spin, but come on, "they can't even figure out what the game is going to be."
"Game on ... message off?"
Actually, they're being pretty careful: Any campaign could fall prey to "groupthink and collective delusion," but this "cocky" charge seems unconvincingly anecdotal, says Jamelle Bouie in The American Prospect. "Indeed, the actual behavior of the Obama campaign seems to point in the direction of caution." Obama's 100 field offices are concentrated in swing states, including ones "Democrats usually win," and you can tell from Obama's recent zeroing in on Romney that the re-election team does take Romney seriously.
"Is the Obama campaign cocky?"
Why shouldn't they be confident? If "the Obama campaign is bordering on cocky," who can blame them? says Jonathan Chait in New York. After a great showing for the president in the past few months — he's already leading Romney in more than a few polls — Team Obama and its GOP rivals "seem to agree that, at the moment, Obama is winning." The dynamics will change, and Romney and GOP super PACs will outspend Obama, but both sides know that "Romney begins the race in a hole," which is a bad starting position for a presidential challenger.
"The Obama-Romney confidence gap"