HUFFPO: Journalists in Washington, D.C. got a chance to take a crack at Chief Obama Campaign Strategist David Plouffe Wednesday during a briefing he delivered at the DNC on the state of the general election race. The overriding theme of his address was confidence. Outlining the campaign’s top priorities, Plouffe told reporters that, in addition to feeling good about their chances to hold onto the 252 electoral votes won by John Kerry in 2004, the campaign believes it has the financial resources, organizing strength, and candidate appeal that will help them contest over a dozen battleground states that together boast 199 electoral votes.
That part of Plouffe’s power-point presentation [see above] included Alaska, Nevada, Montana, North Dakota, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Ticking off those states one by one in rapid fashion — citing recent statewide polls, which Plouffe described as more useful than the national polls that routinely grab headlines — the campaign manager repeated one phrase time and again: “we are enormously competitive.”
Plouffe also indicated the campaign’s intention to “reshape” the electorate by registering hundreds of thousands of voters out of demographic blocks that Obama performs well in, such as “young professionals” and African Americans. Noting that voter drives in smaller states could grow the campaign’s overall vote share and propel them to victory, Plouffe mentioned renegade conservative Bob Barr’s third-party campaign as a possible factor in making the race tighter in Georgia, taking as much as 4 percent of the vote “mostly out of McCain’s hide.” MORE
MO DOWD: This was Rove’s take on Obama to Republicans at the Capitol Hill Club Monday, according to Christianne Klein of ABC News: “Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.” Actually, that sounds more like W. The cheap populism is really rich coming from Karl Rove. When was the last time he kicked back with a corncob pipe to watch professional wrestling?
Rove is trying to spin his myths, as he used to do with such devastating effect, but it won’t work this time. The absurd spectacle of rich white conservatives trying to paint Obama as a watercress sandwich with the crust cut off seems ugly and fake. Obama can be aloof and dismissive at times, and he’s certainly self-regarding, carrying the aura of the Ivy faculty club. But isn’t that better than the aura of the country clubs that tried to keep out blacks? It’s ironic, and maybe inevitable, that the first African-American nominee comes across as a prince of privilege. He is, as Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic wrote, not the seed but the flower of the civil rights movement.
Unlike W., Obama doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder and he doesn’t make a lot of snarky remarks. He tries to stay on a positive keel and see things from the other person’s point of view. He’s not Richie Rich, saved time and again by Daddy’s influence and Daddy’s friends, the one who got waved into Yale and Harvard and cushy business deals, who drank too much and snickered at the intellectuals and gave them snide nicknames.
Obama is the outsider who never really knew his dad and who grew up in modest circumstances, the kid who had to work hard to charm whites and build a life with blacks and step up to the smarty-pants set. He might be smoking, but it would be at a cafe, hunched over a New York Times, an Atlantic magazine, his MacBook and some organic fruit-flavored tea, listening to Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks” on his iPod. MORE