Q&A: Top Obama Strategist David Axelrod

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Jason Reed / Reuters

David Axelrod, U.S. Democratic Presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama's chief strategist, leaves following Obama's speech in Canton, Ohio, October 27, 2008.

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You're leading in most polls, can John McCain still comeback and win?

I think it would be foolish to the extreme to ever suggest that a campaign is over until it's over. I like where we are positioned. I think I'd much rather be us than him, I've always believed that he's on the wrong side of history... But it's not over until it's over and the worst thing that we can do is to celebrate prematurely or assume too much.

Are you worried about a Bradley effect? (Tom Bradley was a candidate for governor of California who, despite going into Election Day ahead in the polls, lost the race. Most political analysts attributed the loss to racism that voters would not admit to when asked by a pollster, though in recent years just as many analysts have questioned the existence of the phenomenon.)

A. You know, I don't even know what the reality of the Bradley effect is. It was 26 years ago and I have been around and involved in politics for most of those 26 years and I've worked with many African American candidates...And my experience has been, in the last four years with Obama in Illinois and in the primaries, is that I don't really see the effect. I think the really big story on race isn't the resistance that we're meeting but how little resistance there has been. People have got bigger concerns and we've moved beyond that as a country. So I don't worry about that, what I worry about is mobilizing our voters so that when people come out they understand that in many of these battleground states the race is close. It's not enough to anticipate victory; you have to earn it.

So, are you worried about a repeat of Obama's surprise loss in the New Hampshire primary?

You know, that's exactly the thing and we have to hunker down and redouble our efforts in these last four days.

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