Obama Camp Piles on Ickes for Writing Off N.C.

“I got the disturbing news this morning that Senator Clinton is probably going to write off North Carolina,” said Representative G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina.

He was referring to a quote by Clinton campaign senior adviser Harold Ickes that appeared in the New York Times today, which the Obama campaign responded to on a conference call this afternoon. Ickes said, while discussing Barack Obama’s primary wins in states that traditionally vote Republican in the general election:

"Most of those states haven’t voted Democratic in a presidential since the Johnson landslide over Goldwater in 1964, and we don’t see that changing. They’re great states, but Idaho, Nebraska and the Carolinas are not going to be in the Democratic column in November."

Introducing the topic of Obama’s strength in North Carolina, which holds a primary on May 6 (and is the next primary after Pennsylvania), communications director Robert Gibbs said, “[Clinton] has, quite frankly, denigrated small states, denigrated caucus states and…southern states.”

“We believe this speaks to their weakness in those states as a general election candidates,” Gibbs continued. “The general election map with the Clinton campaign will be quite small.” North Carolina Democrats, he added, want to “not just win the primary race in the state, but put their state in the Democratic column in the country.”

“Senator Obama is putting North Carolina in play,” said Butterfield after Gibbs had finished speaking. “It’s wonderful news for North Carolina.’

“I just don’t accept the notion that North Carolinians are just going to vote against the Democratic candidate,” Butterfield told reporters listening in. “[Obama is] going to bring his message, not only to young people, not only to minorities, but to everyone.”

“We have so much to offer,” continued Buttterfield. “We are a progressive state…Democrats can win North Carolina.”