Lessons Learned from David Plouffe
Posted 4/23/09 by Tiffany Wen
As one of the Visiting Fellows Coordinators at the IOP this semester, I spent last week eating cheese at receptions, pointing out bathrooms in various buildings, and learning a ton from the chief campaign manager of Obama for America.
Here are a few notable things I picked up last week (in case you lived in a hole last week and somehow never made it to any of the 7239847235 events where he spoke):
- The key for any “renegade” to win an election over the “establishment” is to look steadier than the opposition. No gimmicks, no unexpected VP picks. Just a steady, consistent message. The media might get bored, but for people in the normal world who don’t follow MSNBC, the same message over and over again sticks best.
- If it’s not on video, it’s not going to matter.
- The 50 State Strategy is cute, but not the best way to win. At the same time, we can’t rely on targeting just the coasts/big states and still hope to win a national election.
- The purpose of Organizing for America is NOT, contrary to popular opinion, to start campaigning for 2012 right now. It’s to “inform” citizens directly of the President’s plans and to bypass the media filter. The President has actually banned all 2012 talk, apparently. You can choose how much of that to believe. [side note: have you ever visited the Organizing for America website? Apparently, they've not only made a profile for the President on Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter, but also on BlackPlanet, MiGente, My Batanga, and AsianAve. I'm not impressed until they hit JDate.]
- Like the 2004 Bush Campaign, the key to the 2008 Obama campaign was sticking with a small, tight group of advisers. Refer back to #1. Also, when you’re David Plouffe, you can get really freaking good seats to Red Sox games a week in advance. I consider that the ultimate sign that you’ve made it.
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