The Obama and the McCain campaigns seemed to agree on one thing Wednesday: Barack Obama is ahead.
In Washington, Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, laid out for reporters an aggressive, confident—even cocky– strategy for a Democratic victory in November. He said the campaign sees 18 battleground states, including some traditional swing states—Ohio, Iowa, Missouri–but many that have been reliably Republican for a long time, including Alaska, Montana, North Dakota and Georgia. In assessing each state, Plouffe made the case that Obama is competitive or slightly ahead.
Barack Obama listens to a question during a news conference in Chicago Wednesday. (AP)
“We have a fantastic organization” in Alaska, he said, in a typical assessment. In Virginia and North Carolina, there are lots of unregistered black and young professional voters who would vote for Obama. Explaining Indiana, a state that has routinely voted Republican, he said, “This is a place where we ask you to reorient your thinking.”
Plouffe said that the campaign considers just four states that Democrat John Kerry won in 2004 to be battlegrounds: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. The rest of the states on the Obama battleground list were all taken by President Bush. John McCain will be playing defense, Plouffe argued, while Obama makes inroads into the GOP heartland.
He went on to review polling on women, Hispanics and independents. Guess what? It all looks good for Obama.
Not only that, but Obama’s campaign is so confident, so organized and so well-funded, that it will mount organizations in all 50 states, with volunteers in non-competitive states making phone calls into swing states and helping down-ballot Democrats. For instance, in Texas, Plouffe said, the Obama campaign can help elect Democrats to the state legislature, which will draw new congressional districts in 2010.