David Axelrod Wagers Mustache on Winning Expanded Battleground States

Top Democratic strategist David Axelrod bet his mustache that President Barack Obama will win Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama’s campaign claimed today that Mitt Romney’s campaign is “flailing” in the final days, with senior strategist David Axelrod betting his mustache that Obama will win the newly minted battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota.

Axelrod and Obama campaign manager Jim Messina on a conference call with reporters dismissed the Romney campaign’s late charge into those states, despite persistent polling leads for Obama, as a sign that it is losing in the existing battlegrounds and is increasingly desperate to expand the map.

“It’s break glass time in Boston,” Axelrod said. “I’ve put my mustache on the line.”

Messina said Democrats are piling up big leads among early voters in key battleground states including Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, Colorado and Florida. Axelrod dismissed a question about Obama consistently trailing significantly among independents in polling.

Obama, meanwhile, flew to New Jersey this afternoon to tour storm damage after a meeting with government officials on the hurricane response this morning. He will return to the campaign trail tomorrow.

“We do have an election here on Tuesday,” Axelrod said. “We owe it to people to make the final arguments.”

Obama’s campaign team — and Vice President Joseph Biden — also ripped into ads run by the Romney campaign in Ohio suggesting that bailed-out Chrysler would move Jeep production to China, something Chrysler has strongly denied.

Biden, on the campaign trail in Florida, called the ad an “outrageous lie” intended to scare auto workers and their families.

“What a cynical, cynical thing to do,” Biden said.

Romney running mate Rep. Paul Ryan responded to Biden's charge with a blast of his own.

“American taxpayers are on track to lose $25 billion as a result of President Obama’s handling of the auto bailout, and GM and Chrysler are expanding their production overseas," the Wisconsin lawmaker said. "These are facts that voters deserve to know as they listen to the claims President Obama and his campaign are making."

“In keeping with the Halloween season,” Axelrod said, Romney is trying to “masquerade as a champion of the auto industry.”

“Romney is not going to fool the people of Ohio,” said Messina, noting local coverage in Ohio and Michigan papers reporting GM and Chrysler executives blasting the Romney camp.

Messina also said that the Romney camp is resurrecting the “welfare lie” about there not being a work requirement. “They’re flailing because they can read the polls just like we can,” he said.

Axelrod declined to stake his mustache on Virginia. “I can only bet my mustache once,” he said.

The Romney campaign scheduled a conference call for later this afternoon to discuss the state of the race.