NORTH LITTLE ROCK — President Barack Obama's re-election bid in Arkansas got under way here Tuesday with the opening of his state campaign headquarters.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK — President Barack Obama’s re-election bid in Arkansas got under way here Tuesday with the opening of his state campaign headquarters.
Jim Messina, Obama’s national campaign manager, praised the crowd of about 100 at the event for their support and said their work would pay off in November.
“This is not about Barack Obama … it’s about you,” Messina said outside the Obama for America state headquarters at 201 West Broadway.
“It’s about all of you coming together to run the best grassroots campaign,” he said, noting that many of those in the crowd were involved in getting former Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton elected president in 1992 and re-elected in 1996.
“We’re gonna win this,” he said. “We’re going to have four more years to do all the changes you know we’ve got to do.”
While the vast majority of those at the grand opening were supporters of Obama, a few people representing Occupy Little Rock stood in the back and held signs criticizing the president.
“I’m down here to hold (Obama) accountable,” said Ryan Mascoe of Little Rock.
Mascoe waived to passersby before the event and held up a sign that said “More war, more corruption and lies. That is not change.”
Mascoe said many people think Occupy Little Rock only supports liberal causes and he wanted people to know the group tries to be nonpartisan.
“We bring heat to both sides,” he said.
State Sen. Linda Chesterfield, D-Little Rock, and Rep. Tracy Steele, D-North Little Rock, were the only elected state officials seen at the grand opening ceremony. Also in the crowd were former Gov. Jim Guy Tucker and Herb Rule of Little Rock, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for 2nd District Congress.
Rule said Obama’s campaign has a lot of work to do but he thinks the president can win Arkansas in November.
Obama lost to Republican nominee John McCain in Arkansas in the 2008 presidential election.
After Messina completed his speech, a few people holding signs in the back began chanting opposition to Obama, but they were quickly drowned out by supporters chanting “yes we can,” Obama’s campaign slogan in 2008.
The opening of the campaign headquarters occurred on the same day that a poll by Talk Business and Hendrix College showed that Obama was losing support among independent voters in Arkansas.
The poll, conducted Monday, found that 74 percent of independent voters in Arkansas disapprove of the president’s job performance, as do 93 percent of Republicans. Among Democratic voters, however, 72 percent said they approve of Obama’s job performance.