Ahead of Barack Obama's visit to Espanola on Thursday, National Campaign Manager David Plouffe talked with local reporters this morning to discuss the state of the presidential race in New Mexico.
Until recently the state has been considered a toss up, but at least one analyst at MSNBC has put New Mexico in the Obama column.
Both campaigns recognize the race comes down to securing 270 electoral votes. Currently, FiveThirtyEight.com projects McCain winning the Electoral College with 288.7 to 249.3 (don't ask me about the fractional numbers).
Plouffee outlined the Obama-Biden strategy to turn New Mexico into a blue state this fall. He believes Obama will hold onto all of Kerry's 2004 "Blue" states, and says Obama simply needs to pick up 18 more electoral votes from Red states. Plouffee believes New Mexico will be a "critical path to winning" those 18 and said he believes voter turnout will be good here because of the open senate and all three congressional seats.
Plouffee says both the Obama and McCain campaigns are focused on "Change" as their main theme in the final 49 days of the election.
He says for the first six months of the year Arizona Senator John McCain talked about "experience," but has shifted the GOP focus to Change [Reform]. But, Ploueffe stated he thinks voters will understand McCain is "out of touch with the American Middle Class" when he says the "fundamentals of the economy are sound."
Additionally, Plouffee says it will be hard for McCain, who's campaign is being managed by Washington insiders and lobbyists, to sell his vision of change to voters because "McCain [who's been in Washington for 26 years] has been part of the problem on the economy and on energy.
Plouffee contends if McCain is elected it will be "four more years of the same failed Bush policies that we simply can’t afford."
Ploueffee talked about how the Democrats are setting up a solid grass roots organization in New Mexico to reach out and persuade independent, Hispanic, Native Americans, and women voters to turn out for Obama at the polls.
Listen to Plouffee outline Obama's ground game in New Mexico, including how he thinks his side stacks up to an All-Western Republican ticket, and how Obama's staff is building a solid organization (with 35 offices in the state). Plouffee also disputes an ABC-Washington Post Poll revealing a 20 pt shift from Obama-Biden to McCain-Palin by white women voters, and says Obama-Biden plan on spending lots of time on the ground in New Mexico throughout the Fall.
Click on the PINK play button (some times twice) to hear Plouffee's discussion with ABQ Journal Political Reporter Jeff Jones, AP's Barry Massey, 770KKOB's Peter St. Cyr, and N.M. Indpendent Blogger Heath Haussaman.
Updated: Read additional reports on this morning's strategy call by the AP's Barry Massey here, LP at FBIHOP here and Heath Haussaman with the New Mexico here.
2nd Update: We just found a campaign video featuring Plouffee's strategy message online.
Plouffe presents a slideshow on the state of the race and the resources needed to win battleground states.