That might seem hard to believe: Obama is facing a tight reelection battle, he trails in fundraising, and many swing state polls are very tight with fewer than 100 days to go. Any time Obama spends in Texas is time he isn’t spending in Ohio. Any staff and money his campaign puts into Alabama isn’t going directly to Virginia. The talk of flipping Arizona and Georgia this year is gone, and Indiana and North Carolina are tough terrain despite 2008 Obama wins there.

But the red state outreach isn’t a mistake or an accident, Obama’s campaign staffers say. They’re not pretending they can win on reliably Republican turf, but they say this is part of a plan they’ll stick to through Election Day.

They’re trying to preserve Obama’s brand as the candidate reaching out to all Americans. They’re worried that just asking for cash in red states without at least making a show of competing there will dampen donations. They’ve determined that when they talk to Latinos in states such as Texas, they’re also heard by Latinos they need in Colorado, Florida and Nevada.

Plus, the campaign is building an interstate grass-roots effort akin to a chain letter, recruiting paid staffers and volunteers in red states who can spread the president’s message in the dozen or so true battleground states via Facebook and other social media, phone calls and even road trips.