Obama camp: Romney momentum claims a "bluff"
Updated 5:16 p.m. Eastern Time
DENVER - Obama campaign senior adviser David Plouffe sought to knock down claims by the Romney camp that they are gaining momentum and steaming toward victory on Wednesday. Plouffe called those claims "more bluff than reality" and contended that the Romney camp is "overstating their Electoral College situation."
"We think we maintain a lot more plausible pathways to 270 than Governor Romney, who we think essentially has to pull an inside straight in terms of the Electoral College," Plouffe said during a bus ride through Iowa, noting that the President is leading or essentially tied in polls of most battleground states. "Governor Romney's campaign likes to talk about how well they're doing in North Carolina, but we think we're doing a lot better in Ohio and Iowa and Nevada than they're doing in North Carolina."
Plouffe argued that the Obama campaign is "already sitting at a win number" in some of the battleground states, though he declined to say which ones. "I'm not going to call states, but we'd win the election if it were held today," he said. Obama campaign officials have sought to downplay the significance of Romney's rise in the polls following his strong performance in the first of three presidential debates.
Today, Plouffe argued that the bump Romney received was a natural and inevitable tightening in a race that widened artificially in September. "Governor Romney was not going to get 44 or 45 percent in battleground states," he said. "He's a major party nominee in a divided country in a tough economy. He's going to get 47, 48, 49 in a bunch of these states. So that's all that's happened is Governor Romney picked up some of what he lost. We don't consider that momentum."
The president is currently engaged in a 48-hour campaign spree of the sort that candidates more typically engage in during the last few days of a presidential race. Wednesday alone, he is visiting Iowa, Colorado, California, Nevada, and then flying across country overnight to be in place for a Thursday morning rally in Florida. "We're going to pull an all-nighter. No sleep!" the President told a crowd of 3,500 in Davenport, Iowa, after giddily describing his trip as a "campaign marathon extravaganza."
Both campaigns are constantly reviewing data from states where early voting is underway, and Obama campaign officials note that more Democrats than Republicans have been casting ballots in crucial battleground states like North Carolina, Iowa, and Nevada.
"When you look at early vote in Nevada," Plouffe argued, "I wouldn't be surprised if Governor Romney's last trip to Nevada was this week, because it doesn't look good for him. And I think in an honest moment they will say that themselves."
Republicans are leading among absentee voters in Florida, though Obama aides contend that lead is much smaller than the one McCain had at this point in 2008. President Obama went on to win Florida that year once all the votes had been tallied.
And in the crucial swing state of Ohio, Plouffe pointed out that the latest CBS News/Qunnipiac poll shows the President leading by 5 percentage points .
"That's not a small number by the way," he argued. "That's what we won in '08 during a landslide in the state of Ohio -- is by 5 points."
Romney Campaign Political Director Rich Beeson emailed CBS News to respond to Plouffe's comments.
"Three weeks ago Jim Messina was insisting they were ahead in the battleground states and today he is insisting they aren't pulling out of any states," he said. "That doesn't sound like 'Forward' to me. And while the Obama campaign continues to engage in desperate attacks, Governor Romney will continue talking about his plan for a real recovery for the middle class that has suffered under the Obama policies for the last four years."
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