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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Obama Team Says Candidate, Not Campaign, Deserves Credit

Their technologically advanced vote-getting operation has wowed members of both parties and the cable news set, winning credit for getting President Obama over the hump in his race against Mitt Romney.

But less than 48 hours after Mr. Obama clinched re-election, his aides were becoming wary that the first draft of history on the campaign was turning into a story about how smart campaign tactics had delivered victory to an embattled president rather than one about how it was all due to the president himself and his policies.

So, for the last time, his campaign team held a conference call with reporters on Thursday afternoon to push back.

“We have a remarkable staff and campaign,'' said David Plouffe, a senior adviser to the president. But, crediting the volunteer army that went to work on his behalf, Mr. Plouffe added, “the reason that those people got involved is because they believed in Barack Obama - it was a relationship between them and our candid ate.”

Jim Messina, the campaign manager who oversaw the creation of the system that surprised Republicans by getting more Obama supporters to the polls than Republicans had expected, argued that the results should be viewed as vindication for the president's call for higher taxes on the rich as part of any deal to reduce the deficit. And Mr. Obama's aides noted that exit polls showed that only a minority want to see the president's health care plan entirely repealed.

Get the picture? (Republicans will surely disagree.)

But Mr. Messina had some kind parting words for his rival campaign manager, Matt Rhoades. Congratulating him and his team on running a tough race, he said, “We wish them sleep and some time with family.”