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Obama team stresses polling

From NBC's Chuck Todd
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE -- Three write-ups in one: Headlines: POTUS comes back to press area, mostly about Camp David; Axelrod gives a quick poll briefing; Gibbs does a gaggle, notes an addition to the schedule, a Thursday trip to Springfield now has a stop in Peoria, Ill., where the president will visit a Caterpillar facility.

So will we see the "How's it playin' in Peoria" headlines galore by Thursday?

Obama meets the press
At 10:04 am ET, 11 minutes into the flight, a coatless president came back to the press part of Air Force One to say hi, scrambling all of your friendly multi-platform reporters.

It was a "nicer ride," he noted from the days of the campaign.

A few questions were asked about how he liked Camp David, where he was over the weekend. It was his first trip there as president.

"You can see during the summer, it is going to be a nice time," Obama said of the presidential retreat.

He added that he looked forward to being able to hit a few golf balls there and maybe playing some basketball.

He noted that daughter Sasha brought a friend, and they had a good time. He also noted that a friend of Michelle's also came and brought her two kids. "So it was nice," he said.

Axelrod briefs on polling
Senior adviser David Axelrod, sans coat as well, came back around 10:20, gloating about the new Gallup poll, a printout he had rolled up in his hand.

He said there was "strong support for this. The Gallup poll this morning reflects everything I've seen the last couple of weeks. … One thing we learned over two years, there is a whole different conversation" being had outside of Washington.

Of the American public, he said, "They aren't sweating the details" of what's in the bill or what isn't. He added, "We've got a good plan to deal with a deep crisis. The American people support it. We are urging everyone in Congress to catch up with the American people."

Gibbs' gaggle
Robert Gibbs came back at about 10:35 for questions for about 15 minutes.

Gibbs quoted their private polling and stressed that it comports with public polling. (The polling, he said he believes, is done by Joel Benenson and paid for by DNC)

"Public polling is ahead of where cable TV is" in terms of conventional wisdom that is going on in Wash vs. the "reality in America," he said. He added, "This is not explaining to Indiana what is going on in Washington; this is explaining to Washington what is going on in Indiana and other places."

Other notable answers: Gibbs played down the need for bipartisan support: "I don't think they [the public] are worried about the final score," referring to the ultimate vote count.

Gibbs joked that with today's town hall in Elkhart, he'd get a chance to compare the public's questions with the press at the prime time news conference tonight.

Also of note, Gibbs confirmed that the president would tack on a stop in Peoria, Ill., before heading to Springfield, Ill., on Thursday.

While most of the gaggle was on the stimulus, there was one question about Russia and Biden's comments on where things stand regarding the missile defense shield.