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Obama high command projects strength heading into home stretch


Updated 1:23 p.m. ET - President Barack Obama's re-election team emerged Tuesday to argue that the president is in the proverbial driver's seat heading into the closing two weeks of the campaign.

"We continue to feel very good about our prospects two weeks from tonight," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a conference call recapping last night's third and final debate between the president and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

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Messina, along with senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod, argued that the president is well-positioned to win a second term thanks to the strength of early voting in states like Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin and stronger turnout the Democratic high command expects from minority and young voters.

Sen. John Kerry joins The Daily Rundown's Chuck Todd to talk about the differences between the candidates on foreign policy during the final debate.

But Axelrod also acknowledged that his own words might well be a headfake in the end.

"We know what we know, and they know what they know. I'm confident we're going to win this race," he said. "We'll know who is bluffing and who isn't in two weeks."

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"Three weeks ago Jim Messina was insisting they were ahead in the battleground states and today he is insisting they aren’t pulling out of any states.  That doesn’t sound like ‘Forward’ to me," said the Romney campaign's political director, Rich Beeson, in response.

Both the Romney and Obama campaigns are full of bravado headed into the final 14 days of the campaign, each cherrypicking a handful of polls and statistics to argue they have the upper-hand in the election. More independent polls have shown the presidential contest tightening to a horserace nationally, a development that has played out in many swing states as well.

President Obama voiced his concerns over Governor Romney's foreign policy doctrine at a campaign event in Delray Beach, Fla., saying his opponent is "all over the map."

Even the slightest sign of weakness by Obama or Romney is seized upon by the other. When Paul Begala, an adviser to a pro-Obama super PAC, said yesterday on television that the Obama campaign was all but finished in North Carolina, the Obama campaign tried to dispute his characterization.

"We are tied or ahead in every battleground state, and we're not leaving any state where we're tied or ahead," Messina said Tuesday.

The Obama campaign manager also played up their efforts to encourage Obama supporters who might not be the most consistent voters to cast their ballots early in states where that is available.

"Every single day now is Election Day," Messina said.