Analysis- For Obama, it’s the U.S. economy, again

“I’m eager and active to do it again now — even more so,” said McAuliffe, who has been involved in Democratic fund-raising for two decades, mostly for Bill and Hillary Clinton.

McAuliffe said in an interview that Democrats will have to work hard to energize voters like in 2008 when the party raised a record $750 million and helped propel Obama to victory.

“There were momentous shifts in people wanting to come out for the first time to vote and we have to work hard to recapture that moment again,” said McAuliffe, who was chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination until Obama defeated her.

McAuliffe and Clinton supporters quickly rallied to Obama’s side, which is something they are ready to do again, he said, though he has no formal role in Obama’s campaign.

“Raising money, building grass roots organization,news on politics, getting state directors in place. That is what the president is focusing on,” he said.

Obama’s campaign also needs to focus its messaging on the economy, especially in swing states, McAuliffe said.

“Right now there isn’t a coherent economics message coming out the Republican Party. I think the Tea Party is creating havoc for the Republican Party. That is going to continue right up through 2012,” he said.

In key states like Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, Obama needs to point to his economic accomplishments, McAuliffe said.

“It is going to be all about the economy,” he said, adding that the campaign needs to show people “here is what we inherited, here is what we did, here is what we will do in the next term, and here is the comparison to what the Republicans offer.”

McAuliffe, who raised $565 million in his role as DNC chairman, said Obama will raise a “significant” amount this time around, but dismissed talk it could reach $1 billion.

“That’s the craziest thing cartoon porn I’ve ever heard,” he said.

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