WASHINGTON -- "We ask you to reorient your thinking."
If you want to understand how Barack Obama is looking at the general election, that line, spoken today by campaign manager David Plouffe, is a good place to start.
It's the same ethos that Obama's campaign has expressed from the beginning: They will not be bound, they say, by the results of prior elections, the habits of candidates past, or conventional wisdom about presidential politics and how to win the White House.
Plouffe, briefing reporters here today on the status of the campaign, shed light on Obama's aggressive, nation-wide plan of attack into not just battlegrounds but also reliably "red" states. The first strategic goal, he said, was to hold onto the states -- and the 252 electoral votes -- that John Kerry won in 2004. But he also made clear they will play to win in states they deem "tossups," including some that will surely raise eyebrows -- Georgia, Alaska, Montana, Indiana, and North Dakoka. (To see the PowerPoint slide show, click here.)
"Our strategic orientation here is to play offense," he said, citing plans for massive voter identification, registration, and turnout efforts.
Plouffe added that, unlike past Democratic nominees, the Obama campaign was not going to "wake up on Nov. 4 worrying about one state." That, at least implicitly, suggests that Team Obama isn't necessarily counting on Ohio and Florida, which have long been considered must-wins.
"Obviously we're going to fight like heck to win Ohio and Florda, and we think we've got a good chance to win both," he said. "But there's a lot of other ways to get there, too."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.