The New York Times reports that the prospects for a long, drawn-out Republican nomination fight is keeping the Obama team in good spirits.
“The longer this race goes, the more you’re going to see these Republican candidates try to mortgage the general election to try and win the primary campaign,” said David Axelrod, the chief strategist for the president’s re-election campaign.
The president’s leading political advisers flew from their Chicago campaign headquarters to Washington for a Tuesday morning briefing on the state of the race. It is the latest effort in a series of steps to try to influence the outcome and inject their view into the Republican primary.
The Obama team is increasingly hoping for a long nominating fight. But if an extended battle helped Mr. Obama in 2008 in his primary race against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, why couldn’t it benefit the winner of the Republican nomination?
The difference, Mr. Axelrod argued, is that Mr. Obama did not tack to the left during his fight. The Republicans, he maintained, will have to appeal to the right to win the primary race.
“The longer the race,” Mr. Axelrod said, “the harder it will be to scramble back.” …Caucus, NYT
What Axelrod doesn’t say is that both sides just plain liked Obama as a candidate, even many moderate Republicans. He may or may not have kept any of that appeal, but there isn’t a single Republican candidate who has that kind of appeal for Democrats.