Ed from North Carolina starts the video by stating, It seems like the last couple of elections that weve had have been almost kind of turning-point campaigns. Gladys from Nevada (picture, above) then chimes in, Im kind of nervous about it. Its like, its coming, it is. 2012 the election. Katherine of Colorado drives the central message home when she adds, I think it needs to reflect the changes that weve seen in the last two and a half years.
Others in the video express their desire to take part in grassroots efforts to assure Obamas victory in 2012. For example, Mike from New York explains, I just saw the energy and hope that he had for this country. Even though I couldnt exactly vote at the time, someday I knew that I would help reelect him. And thats what I plan on doing. Gladys adds, Were not leaving it up to chance.
The start of Obamas reelection campaign comes 20 months before the 2012 elections, months earlier than George W. Bush did for his 2004 reelection bid, reports Politico. Reports over the weekend set the drumbeat for the official launch, which came soon after 5 a.m. on the fourth day of the fourth month, symbolic for the 44th president.
Obama has reportedly begun the process of filing the election paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission. The Blaze writes:
The step was widely expected and planned to coincide with the second fundraising quarter of the year. Filing paperwork will allow the president to begin raising money in earnest for what advisors hope will be a record-breaking haul of more than $1 billion.
President Obama issued an email statement to his supporters:
Were doing this now because the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas, but with you with people organizing block-by-block, talking to neighbors, co-workers, and friends. And that kind of campaign takes time to build.
So even though Im focused on the job you elected me to do, and the race may not reach full speed for a year or more, the work of laying the foundation for our campaign must start today.
Weve always known that lasting change wouldnt come quickly or easily. It never does. But as my administration and folks across the country fight to protect the progress weve made and make more we also need to begin mobilizing for 2012, long before the time comes for me to begin campaigning in earnest.
Much like the video, Obamas email emphasizes the importance of community organizing across the country for the purposes of the reelection campaign: And Ill need you to help shape our plan as we create a campaign thats farther reaching, more focused, and more innovative than anything weve built before.
Obamas message this time around, however, does not focus on promises of hope or change, as it did in 2008, likely because the President has been unable to live up to all of the promises he made, such as ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and closing Guantanamo Bay.
As noted by Politico, Obamas early announcement, coupled with the lack of a clear GOP frontrunner, puts him in a good position for the moment. However, Politico also notes that his reelection announcement is clouded by trauma:
The economy is rebounding but still bad; Afghanistan and Iraq are winding down but Obama has accepted an ill-defined new mission in Libya; and the polls show him in the 42-to-48 percent approval range, basically where hes been for most of his time in the White House.
USA Today reports that President Obama maintains a slight edge in the Electoral College as of now. NBC News notes that the Democrats have the edge in states with 232 electoral votes, while Republicans have good chances in states with 191 votes. As it takes 270 electoral votes to win the elections, USA Today writes, adding, That leaves 10 toss-up states with 115 electoral votes: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
In 2008, Obama won every single one of those states in his campaign against John McCain. Of course, the 2012 GOP contender can make all the difference.
USA Today indicates that Republicans are expected to focus on Obama-leaning states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, while the Democrats are targeting states with growing minority populations such as Georgia, Texas, and Arizona.
NBC News breaks down the electoral votes as follows:
Solid Dem: DC, DE, HI, MD, MA, NY, RI, VT (67 electoral votes)
Likely Dem: CA, CT, IL, ME, WA, OR (105)
Lean Dem: MI, MN, NJ, PA (60)
Toss-up: CO, FL, IA, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, VA, WI (115)
Lean GOP: AZ, GA, MO, MT, NE (one EV) (41)
Likely GOP: AL, AR, IN, LA, MS, NE (four EVs), ND, SC, SD, TX (97)
Solid GOP: AK, ID, KS, KY, OK, TN, UT, WV, WY (53)
With the Democrats preparing for a fight, voters are wondering which Republican will step up to the challenge and when.