Here’s my impromptu two-question interview with David Axelrod in front of the White House on Friday afternoon.
Our two topics:
- What he makes of this week’s national polls showing the President with a commanding lead over Mitt Romney.
- How senior campaign strategists who are baseball fans would balance their fall time (including debates) if the White Sox and Nationals make the playoffs and, perhaps, the World Series.
Included in the second answer is an anecdote from the 2008 campaign, when then-Senator Obama caught Axelrod watching baseball on his laptop during debate prep.
Read the transcript here:
HALPERIN: So there’s these national polls showing you with a huge lead. What should we think about that?
AXELROD: I never get exhilarated by gaudy polls in our favor and I don’t get too despairing about polls that are not. The reality of this race is it’s going to be close. It’s been close since the beginning. I expect it will continue to be close. I think, you know, we’ve made some progress but I also know there’s a lot of the game to be played. So, you know, we just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
HALPERIN: So do you have a nine-point lead?
AXELROD: I don’t think we have a nine-point lead. You know, there was a time a couple months ago when one public poll had us 13. At the same time, another poll had us down by six. I think these public polls create the impression of volatility but, you know, I think we’re in a solid position in a tough and close race.
HALPERIN: Alright, so we may have the Nationals and the White Sox in the playoffs while you’re dealing with the debates and the general election. How will baseball loving campaign staffers for Romney and Obama deal with baseball playoffs and the World Series?
AXELROD: Well, I’m all for a Nationals — White Sox World Series. I think that would be good for the country. So, we’re pulling for that. There was a time when the debate prep, I think that one of our teams was in the mix four years ago — the Cubs or the White Sox — and I was monitoring the game during debate prep and, somehow, there was a malfunction on my computer and the sound went off. And Senator Obama was in the middle of answering a question and said, “Did somebody say something back there?” I slammed my computer shut and it fell off the table so I’m going to be a little more discreet about my baseball watching during…
HALPERIN: And now you have an iPad.
AXELROD: Exactly. They have more discreet devices to follow.
Watch the mini-interview below: