Obama’s campaign manager: “We are trying to grow the electorate”




Today’s NY Times has an in-depth look at the spending practices of the Obama and Clinton campaigns for the upcoming week. I did get a chuckle out of Mark Penn’s complaint about the Obama campaign: “they are dumping a lot of money there.” Given the millions his firm has raked in — and where it’s gotten his candidate, Penn is the last person who should accuse anyone of dumping money.

But, that’s not key point of the article. The key point for me actually didn’t make the Times on-line version of the story, I read it in my print edition. It’s about the Obama campaign’s on-going efforts “to grow the electorate.” I did find it on the Barre Times-Montpelier Argus website

Obama has been particularly aggressive in these contests in using Internet tools to identify and turn out supporters, building on tools they have developed throughout the campaign. For example, anyone using the search engine Google to look for Texas caucus locations will see an advertisement from Obama’s campaign listing the caucus sites, and, after a click, inviting people to sign in with their names and e-mail addresses.

Visitors to the Web sites of The Houston Chronicle and The Cincinnati Enquirer were confronted with a moving advertisement that took up nearly half the screen that showed a video of Obama and urged voters to sign up and pledge their support to his campaign.

“We are trying to grow the electorate,” said David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager, referring to the Internet effort. “We have had almost 20,000 people come through our ads looking for their early vote location.”

Growing the electorate is why Obama wins. Traditionally, at this point in a campaign, the get-out-the-vote effort is aimed only at already confirmed supporters. Those folks get harassed over and over with multiple phone calls. That’s what traditional campaigns do. Winning campaigns find new voters, too.

And, the Obama campaign keeps finding new voters. That’s what adds to the numbers. It really is a new generation campaign. Plouffe, Steve Hildebrand and Paul Tewes (who is running Ohio after managing the Iowa victory) and that whole political/field/internet team deserve major kudos. They’re redefining the ways Democrats campaign. They’re using every tool to add support. And, that’s how we’ll win in the fall against McCain.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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