Obama camp sees possible win without Ohio, Fla.
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Barack Obama’s campaign envisions a path to the presidency that could include Virginia, Georgia and several Rocky Mountain states, but not necessarily the pair of battlegrounds that decided the last two elections — Florida and Ohio.
In a private pitch late last week to donors and former supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe outlined several alternatives to reaching the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House that runs counter to the conventional wisdom of recent elections.
At a fundraiser held at a Washington brewery Friday, Plouffe told a largely young crowd that the electoral map would be fundamentally different from the one in 2004. Wins in Ohio and Florida would guarantee Obama the presidency if he holds onto the states won by Democrat John Kerry, Plouffe said, but those two battlegrounds aren’t required for victory.
Florida, which has 27 electoral votes this year, gave the presidency to George W. Bush in the disputed election of 2000. Ohio, with its 20 electoral votes, ensured Bush of re-election in 2004 in his race against Kerry.
The presumed Democratic nominee’s electoral math counts on holding onto the states Kerry won, among them Michigan (17 electoral votes), where Obama campaigns on Monday and Tuesday. Plouffe said most of the Kerry states should be reliable for Obama, but three currently look relatively competitive with Republican rival John McCain — Pennsylvania, Michigan and particularly New Hampshire.
Asked about his remarks, Plouffe said Ohio and Florida start out very competitive — but he stressed that they are not tougher than other swing states and said Obama will play “extremely hard” for both. But he said the strategy is not reliant on one or two states.
They’ve changed the electoral math already. No reason for me to believe they won’t continue to. They won a nomination in a way that speaks to this untraditional methodology.
I’m hoping we can deliver Ohio and seal the deal, but it’s nice knowing we may not necessarily LOSE it for him. I think we’ll deliver and you’ll have to stay tuned to learn how. It’s in the works. 😉