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Ryan Pick Puts Wisconsin in Play as Michigan Tilts Obama

The Obama campaign considers two of the biggest battleground states targeted by the Romney campaign -- Michigan and Pennsylvania -- to be securely in the president’s camp, a top aide said, while acknowledging concerns about Wisconsin, the home state of Republican Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan.

Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, said that given President Barack Obama’s bailout of the Detroit-based auto industry and Romney’s opposition to it, “I find it hard to believe that they’re going to be able to compete in Michigan.” Messina spoke at a Bloomberg-sponsored breakfast in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Democratic Party’s convention site. He was joined by Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager, and Larry Grisolano, director of paid media for the campaign.

In Pennsylvania, Messina cited a million-person voter registration advantage for Democrats over Republicans. As for Wisconsin, Messina said, “We ought to get past both conventions and figure out, you know, where that state is.”

He said Obama has a strong ground operation in the state and noted that Wisconsin has elected a Democrat the past five times.

Messina’s comments came as Obama campaigned yesterday in Virginia. The president will travel today to Charlotte, where tomorrow he is to formally accept his party’s nomination for a second term.

Tax Reform

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama, said in a separate Bloomberg-sponsored event that the president will work with the business community to reform the tax code if he’s re-elected.

“Let’s broaden the base and increase the base,” Jarrett said. “That’s going to benefit the broader business community.”

Cutter said Obama’s acceptance speech will be both “aspirational” and “pragmatic” and offer some details about his plans for deficit reduction and clean energy, as he tries to reach undecided voters who are asking for a more down-to-earth message than the hope-and-change theme of his 2008 campaign.

“Anybody tuning in or in the stadium or going to a watch party will have a pretty clear sense of what the second term will be about,” she said.

The aides also said the campaign will emphasize tax fairness over Medicare from now until the Nov. 6 election because it is a more compelling issue with voters.

Grisolano said Republicans tried to use their Aug.27-30 convention in Tampa, Florida, to “suspend reality” by misleading voters about how Obama’s policies were affecting Medicare or welfare recipients.

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