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June 08, 2008

Obama Plans 50-State Strategy Politics

People talk about the long, hard-fought Democratic primary season having been good for McCain. On the surface that seems true, but the primary campaign also pushed the Obama team to build organizations (and raise money) all over the country. The NYT reports that those organizations are now gearing up to take it to McCain in a number of Republican strongholds. NYT:

Senator Barack Obama’s general election plan calls for broadening the electoral map by challenging Senator John McCain in typically Republican states — from North Carolina to Missouri to Montana — as Mr. Obama seeks to take advantage of voter turnout operations built in nearly 50 states in the long Democratic nomination battle, aides said.

On Monday, Mr. Obama will travel to North Carolina — a state that has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in 32 years — to start a two-week tour of speeches, town hall forums and other appearances intended to highlight differences with Mr. McCain on the economy. From there, he heads to Missouri, which last voted for a Democrat in 1996. His first campaign swing after securing the Democratic presidential nomination last week was to Virginia, which last voted Democratic in 1964.

With Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton now having formally bowed out of the race and thrown her backing to him, Mr. Obama wants to define the faltering economy as the paramount issue facing the country, a task probably made easier by ever-rising gasoline prices and the sharp rise in unemployment the government reported on Friday. Mr. McCain, by contrast, has been emphasizing national security more than any other issue and has made clear that he would like to fight the election primarily on that ground.

Mr. Obama has moved in recent days to transform his primary organization into a general election machine, hiring staff members, sending organizers into important states and preparing a television advertisement campaign to present his views and his biography to millions of Americans who followed the primaries from a distance. [...]

While the lengthy, contentious Democratic primary fight against Mrs. Clinton exposed vulnerabilities in Mr. Obama that the Republicans will no doubt seek to exploit, it also allowed him to build a nearly nationwide network of volunteers and professional organizers. While early assertions by presidential campaigns that they intend to expand the playing field are often little more than feints intended to force opponents to spend time and money defending states that they should have locked up, Mr. Obama’s fund-raising success gives his campaign more flexibility than most to play in more places.

It's easy to forget what an overwhelming advantage Hillary Clinton had when the campaign began. Obama and his team are enormously effective organizers, as John McCain is about to find out. I love that Obama is going after red states, that he's not content to play for 50% plus one. The bigger the victory, the longer the coattails. This is going to be fun.

Posted by Jonathan at June 8, 2008 04:33 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb