President Barack Obama visits Kenny's BBQ with U.S. Army 1st Lt. William Edwards, a 2012 Military Fatherhood Award winner, on Wednesday in Washington. | Carolyn Kaster~AP
Updated: July 15, 2012 3:41PM
The Obama campaign, based in Chicago, has always been working the long game, no matter the tough week past for the president or Mitt Romney hitting the city Thursday to collect $3.3 million from a fund-raiser at the Pump Room.
The vast Obama headquarters in the Prudential Building covers a few acres of space — and this may seem remarkable to folks — there are no televisions in the open floors where most people work, except in the alcove where the communication staff toils.
That means, I’m told, that the staffers remain focused and don’t get rattled by the ephemeral stuff, the constant cable news chatter, the moment-by-moment score-keeping.
Getting away from Pundit City — that’s Washington D.C. — is a reason the Obama headquarters was relocated again in Chicago for the 2012 contest.
Case in point: A buddy in Chicago this week from Washington noted how tough it was to get a hotel room — something about the “neocon” taking place in the city.
My buddy wondered if it was a giant convention of neo-conservatives — when in fact the hotels were full because of the 40,000 expected at the famed NeoCon furnishings trade show at the Merchandise Mart.
As score-keeping goes, Obama lost last week. His gaffe that the private sector was “doing fine” came after the release of the latest fund-raising monthly totals showed Romney outraised him for the month of May.
On Thursday in Cleveland, Obama is sticking with his game plan on the most important issue of the campaign: jobs creation.
He will deliver what is being billed as an “economic framing” speech where he will again talk about his plans — stalled by Republicans in Congress — that could create jobs in education, energy and infrastructure sectors.
Obama wants to sharpen the contrast between his jobs proposals and Romney’s governing philosophy masquerading as a jobs plan.
Obama will say, according to a speech excerpt, that Romney “and his allies in Congress believe that if you simply take away regulations and cut taxes by trillions of dollars, the market will solve all our problems on its own.”
Romney was in Washington on Wednesday to speak to a Business Roundtable Association meeting engaging in a “pre-buttal” of Obama’s Thursday speech.
“If you look at his record over the last three and a half years, you will conclude as I have that it is the most anti-investment, anti-business, anti-jobs series of policies in modern American history,” Romney said.
Romney insulates himself from pressure to discuss jobs — and the risk of being thrown off message, as when he goofed in taking jabs at the hiring of police, teachers and firefighters — in part because he rarely holds town-hall events or a scheduled press availability.
The Romney team, for example, will not disclose his fund-raising stops while they criticize Obama for devoting so much time to fund-raising.
Romney’s Illinois finance committee is going gangbusters; between an event here in May and the reception and dinner Thursday night on the Near North Side — with the tab between $2,500 and $75,000 — he pulled in $5 million from local donors.