David Plouffe: Here's how we'll win Fla
The Buzz chatted today with senior Barack Obama adviser David Plouffe about the state of the race in Florida. The RealClearPolitics average shows a dead heat, but Plouffe feels good. He's expects Obama will improve his big margins in Miami-Dade, and among Hispanic voters statewide. The growth of the Puerto Rican population in central Florida is a key element.
"We think we've got a point or two advantage in Florida. We like what we see in terms of absentee ballot requests, not just the D's versus Rs, but importantly how the independents have requested," Plouffe said. "It's going to be an extremely close race. It's going to end up in a range I think of two or three points at the most. We think the exchange we've had over Medicare is one that we profited from in Florida. We believe we've done a good job under tough circumstances of registering voters in Florida. The electorate of 2012 is not going to be to electorate of 2010 obviously and we think it's going to closely resemble 2008..."
"...We think we can drive a pretty big gender gap in Florida, we think can do better with the Latino vote than we did in 2008, which is a big piece of business down there in Florida. We think we can drive up some margins in Miami-Dade. We think this Medicare debate's been a good one for us in Florida...The policies that contributed to the recession (Romney) wants to go back to and in many cases double down on. I think as people are feeling a little better about the economy, that's going to be a very, very powerful message - that he's not some safe choice here. There's a risk involved, and if you're a member of the middle class or a senior citizen we believe you're going to pay the burden for what Romney wants to do, which is this top down economic policy."
Despite polls showing Romney gaining ground or even leading in battleground states since the last debate, Plouffe said the race fundamentally remains the same. After a rough period through September, Romney's support was artificially low, he said, and undecided voters leaning to Romney moved to him as expected.
"The president is not going to win states like Ohio or Nevada or Florida by six, eight, 10 points. It's just not going to happen.... The race is where we always thought it would be, which is we've got a small lead or tied in a bunch of battlegrounds,'' Plouffe said, arguing the the remain undecided votes are more likely to be more evenly divided between Romney and Obama.
"If he goes into the election trailing by a point or two in battleground states he's not going to win them. He's got to be either tied or in the lead, because they're not going to break disproportionately against the president," said Plouffe.
He declined to say what happened to the president's debate prep work before last week: "The president yesterday said he had an off night, and I don't expect that to be repeated."
Rich Beeson, political director for the Romney campagn, responds: “Since the debate, we’ve seen a 63% increase in volunteer hours, a growing enthusiasm gap that continues to favor Governor Romney, a strengthening of our already strong ground game, and we’re seeing the effects of this in polling numbers across the battleground states. What the Obama campaign didn’t tell you is that we are leading or even with them in early vote in key states across the country – FL, NC, CO, NV, and NH. Our early vote numbers are outperforming voter registration in battleground states, demonstrating the strength of our ground game and the excitement for the Romney/Ryan ticket. Not only are we keeping pace with the vaunted Obama machine, but we believe our ground game will put us over the finish line on Election Day.”