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Obama camp on enthusiasm gap: 'No. Hell no'

Rep. Xavier Becerra talks about the role of Latino voters as well as the enthusiasm gap heading into the DNC.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Enthusiasm gap, what enthusiasm gap? That’s at least what the Obama campaign claims.

On Day One of the Democratic National Convention, a top campaign official said the campaign does not accept the premise that the president has work to do in firing up young voters and Latinos, in particular.

“No. Hell no,” the official responded.

That's despite, as we wrote in First Thoughts this morning, "In the Aug. 2012 NBC/WSJ poll, just 52% of voters under 35 and only 49% of Latinos expressed high interest in the upcoming election, which was down about 20 points for both groups at this same point in ’08.”

Furthermore, key pro-Republican groups generally say they are more interested than those Democratic constituencies in this election on a scale of one to 10. 

Obama Senior Campaign Advisor Robert Gibbs join Andrea Mitchell Reports to preview day one of the DNC.

There's also a reason President Obama has campaigned on college campuses leading up to the convention, talking about student loans and urging students not to "boo," but "vote." 

There's a reason the president unveiled his immigration announcement earlier this year -- more than a year after the DREAM Act failed in Congress. He may believe it's the right thing to do, but Latinos are also a key political constituency. Obama still leads with Hispanics by almost 40 points in the NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll, even wider that the gap that existed with John McCain.

The Obama official, however, cited that the campaign has hit a record level of voter registrations, door knocks and an improved grass-roots operation -- even over 2008. 

“We’re going to make ’08 look like Jurassic Park,” the official claimed, going on to cite that the Obama campaign has 100 offices in Ohio and Romney only has 30; 50 in North Carolina, and Romney has 20.

The Romney campaign would counter, though, that the Obama campaign needs a larger grass-roots operation because of the economic headwinds and polls showing lagging enthusiasm with those key pro-Democratic demographic groups.

David Goldman / AP

Democrats gather in Charlotte, N.C., to officially nominate President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as the party's candidates for the 2012 presidential election.