HUFFINGTON POST
03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Obama Strategist Axelrod: "Can't Help But Be Optimistic"

Speaking to Huffington Post and other reporters just hours before tonight's Iowa caucuses, Obama campaign top strategist David Axelrod said that, "He can't help but be optimistic about tonight's results."

He described the energy bubbling at the Iowa headquarters as "incredible," but refused to predict exactly where his candidate will finish tonight.

"We're in uncharted waters," he said. "We've never in a campaign like this before."

Axelrod expressed confidence that there would be an elevated turnout in tonight's caucuses, saying that the campaign expects 150,000 Democrats. That would be about a 20 percent increase over the 2004 turnout and consistent with polling information that projects a bump of young and first-time voters. Polls that show Obama ahead in tonight's race suggest an increased turnout would be a key ingredient to an Obama victory.

"It's not about poll numbers anymore," Axelrod said. "It's about the hard count going into the caucuses."

He said that he was "not nervous" about tonight's contest, adding, "We've done everything we can. We've put in a maximum effort."

"We've called through our lists and re-called those lists, and scrubbed those lists" so that the campaign can tightly focus on turning out committed caucus-goers.

Axelrod describes the current outlook of his candidate as "very serene."