7:15 pm ET
Here are extended excerpts from my Tuesday background interview with three senior Obama campaign officials at their Chicago campaign headquarters, in which they talk about the Denver debate, the message wars, the rationale for the Sesame Street ad, TV money, battleground ground games, and more.
Perhaps most strikingly, they play down how much the debate shook up the race and/but acknowledge that it helped Mitt Romney rev up his base.
I’ll give away the ending here:
HALPERIN: So, are you any less confident of winning than you were two weeks ago?
OBAMA ADVISER 1: We’re as confident as we were. We’re confident. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be tight. But, I think with that, we have more routes to win than he does.
HALPERIN: What is your message to, as David Plouffe would say, the bedwetters in the Democratic Party, who are all concerned about the debate and what it’s done to the public polling? What would you say to them, the professional Left, bedwetters, whatever you want to call them?
OBAMA ADVISER 1: We weren’t geniuses last week and we’re not stupid this week. It’s going to be a tight race. We’ve always said that.
OBAMA ADVISER 2: And in the battleground states we continue to have more pathways than they do to 270 electoral votes. And we just got to close.
Read the full excerpts here.