By Elizabeth DiNovella on November 05, 2012

While Bruce Springsteen wrapped up his new ditty, trying to find words that rhymed with Obama, the President's top advisors briefed reporters this morning in Madison, Wisconsin.

Advisors David Axelrod and David Plouffe, who managed Obama's 2008 campaign, and Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary, were confident the President would win the election.

Axelrod said Team Obama had mapped out many ways to 270 Electoral College votes, and "all those pathways are intact."

"We're not throwing Hail Mary's, and it's a difference between the campaigns," Axelrod added.

Plouffe said that it "was destined to be a tight race."

Dressed in 2008 Obama campaign gear, the three almost started to wax nostalgic, with Axelrod saying they were aware these were the last days of the campaign.

"Tonight, when we're in Des Moines, we'll be right outside of our headquarters when in 2007 we started and nobody gave us a chance," said Plouffe.

"I remember when he called high school leaders who were organizing for him, and they said, 'Can you call me back, I'm in class right now,'" Axelrod said. "There were certain indignities associated with running for President back then."

Gibbs expressed confidence about some swing states. When asked about Pennsylvania, Gibbs said, "We'll be fine." He added: "I feel good about Wisconsin.

I feel good about Ohio."

Axelrod took a moment to stop talking about poll numbers to appreciate the sunny (but chilly) morning. "It's a beautiful day. America's poet laureate is singing songs about the American people," Axelrod said. "What could be better?"

Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison

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If you liked this story by Elizabeth DiNovella, the Culture Editor of The Progressive magazine, check out her story "Ad Calls Congressman Sean Duffy "Cute" in Appeal to Female Voters."

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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