"There's national polls that are all over the place," Plouffe said. "I think there's a poll coming out every hour that'll tell you what you want to see. This race is going to come down to eight or nine states. We think the president's in good position in those states."

Asked where the president was in the best shape of the closely contested wing states, Plouffe said it was "like choosing between your children," but acknowledged the campaign felt particularly good about Ohio. 

"It's clear the Romney campaign understands that they've got big problems in Ohio," Plouffe said. "We've had a clear and sustainable lead there for a long time. Gov. Romney's opposition to saving the American auto industry is one of the big problems there."

Romney campaign political director Rich Beeson characterized the race in a different way in a memo circulated to reporters Thursday, arguing " a steady upward trajectory among key voting blocs indicates a close race, but one that is unmistakably moving in Mitt Romney’s direction."

And in a statement Friday, Romney spokesman Ryan Williams called the Obama campaign "in a state of denial" over the candidates' agendas for the next four years.

"But Americans already know what the President will deliver if he’s given another four years in office: skyrocketing debt, fewer jobs, and higher taxes on middle-class families and small businesses," Williams said. "Mitt Romney will take our nation in a different direction by delivering a real recovery with 12 million new jobs and higher take-home pay for American workers.”"

The senior Obama adviser was also asked about Romney surrogate and former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu's suggestion that former Secretary of State Colin Powell had endorsed the president because of race. Sununu, who hinted at that possibility in a television interview Thursday night, later walked the comment back.

"John Sununu says things kind of in the Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJuan Williams: Trump gives life to the left Kennedy retirement rumors shift into overdrive Pompeo to outline post-deal strategy on Iran MORE category, it seems like, from time to time," Plouffe said. "I think I'll let Gen. Powell speak for himself about why he endorsed the president. He said on both domestic and economic issues, as well as foreign policy issues, very strong things to say about the president and some criticisms about where Gov. Romney would take the country."

Plouffe was asked if Sununu's comments were intended to drive a wedge between the president and working-class white voters.

"I think Colin Powell's comments about why he's endorsing the president probably are going to be impactful with all voters. And so, no, I think that's more just kind of nuttiness from their side," Plouffe responded.