POLITICS
03/24/2013 03:25 pm ET Updated Mar 25, 2013

Jim Messina: Obama Campaign Had Its 'White-Knuckle Moments' (VIDEO)

A little more than four months removed from steering President Barack Obama's reelection bid to victory, 2012 Campaign Manager Jim Messina opened up on Sunday about some bumps in the road.

Appearing in an ABC News web interview, Messina revealed the two "white-knuckle moments" that he saw the campaign endure.

“I think [it was] after the August debt-limit crisis, and August 2011 where our numbers were, you know, historically low, and then of course after the first debate when everyone was very, very concerned,” he said. “Even then I believed we would win, both times, but there were definitely some white-knuckle moments.”

The first event Messina alluded to took place two weeks after Obama and GOP congressional leaders reached a deal to avert a doomsday summer 2011 default. Gallup polling found that Obama's approval rating dropped to 39 percent from Aug. 11-13 of that year, marking the first dip below 40 percent during his presidency.

Messina's latter reference was to Oct. 3, 2012's first presidential debate in Denver. Obama's performance was deemed by many as lackluster at best, with some of his more loyal voters leading the disappointment charge.

HuffPost's Jon Ward caught up with Karen Essex the day after, a fifty-something Obama supporter in Wisconsin, who said the president's showing was enough to hit the "off" button on her television.

"I watched the first ten minutes and then I had to turn it off, because I didn't really think Obama showed up to debate it," Essex said. "Romney did show up. I actually turned it off."

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