Early voting, Sandy impact presidential election

Homes in Bethany Beach, Del. are surrounded by floodwaters from superstorm Sandy on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. Officials said Bethany and nearby Fenwick Island appeared to be among the hardest-hit parts of the state. (AP Photo/Randall Chase)
Randall Chase

President Obama spent the day Wednesday touring storm-wrecked New Jersey and Mitt Romney gave a toned-down appeal on the stump, and on Thursday, National Journal correspondent Major Garrett said the the presidential campaigns have been put on "pause" because of superstorm Sandy. He added, however, that "the underground work" of the campaigns continues, as the election looms just five days away.

Garrett pointed to Obama campaign makeshift call centers in swing states like Virginia and Ohio campaign workers making phone calls by candlelight. "The storm takes up a tremendous amount of media space, but where it matters most... the campaign continues," Garrett said. "All of that ground game stuff still goes on unabated."

The Obama campaign is "supernaturally confident about the president's ability to win the election," Garrett added. He pointed to the fact that they know who their voters are and what metrics they must hit in early voting in order to win.

Garrett said Mr. Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, told him that "If everything we understand about this election is wrong, we're going to lose. If we think we're right, we are right, we're going to win."

As both sides are currently boasting about their get out the vote numbers in early voting, Garrett said both sides are "arguing over who's winning the narrative." He said the Obama campaign said they are on target for where they want to be and the Romney campaign says they are doing a better job than Republicans in 2008.

"Doing better than John McCain is insufficient. John McCain did virtually nothing in early voting," Garrett said of the 2008 Republican presidential candidate.

As up to 40 percent of people are expected to vote early this year, the Obama campaign hopes that by Election Day, their early vote lead will be large enough in New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada and perhaps even Florida to "carry those states over the finish line."