David Plouffe: The Spindoctor Who Got President Obama Elected. Who Will Save Obama in 2012?June 14, 2011 No Comments
In Novemeber of 2009, roughly one year after President Barack Obama stunned the world with his miraculous climb to the White House, I had a lengthy discussion with one of President Obama’s key presidential campaign strategists, David Plouffe. David Plouffe was the architect behind Obama’s entire presidential campaign. Plouffe, along with his then-partner David Axelrod, mapped out and handcrafted President Obama’s entire journey from his initial bid for the Democratic nomination, through the nail-biting primary race that left Hillary Clinton eating dust, to Obama’s battle against John McCain and the formidable Sarah Palin.
In President Obama’s victory speech, he cited David Plouffe with incredible gratitude, stating, “And to my campaign manager, David Plouffe, the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best — the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America.”
But was it all just fluff and clever public relations strategy, or did America vote for the right candidate for President back in 2008? With David Plouffe now out of the picture, who will save Obama in the 2012 race against the blood hungry conservative movement?
Here are some interesting excerpts from my interview with President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign strategist, David Plouffe. They shed some interesting light on the approach of that 2007/2008 campaign:
PR.com: When it came to the Iowa caucuses and the work you put in with staff and volunteers on the ground, was that a big gamble for you, or was that a no-brainer as far as you, David Axelrod and Barack Obama were concerned?
David Plouffe: We thought the only way to win was to win Iowa. In that way it wasn’t a gamble. It was a necessity. The gamble was betting that a number of people who have never attended caucuses before would turn out. And that played well. I write in the book that, that was what our strategy was predicated on. I think a lot of commentators in politics didn’t think it was possible, certainly to the degree we were able to do it. We were counting on people who had never been at a caucus before. We put our fate in their hands. That was a gamble and that certainly was something that defied convention.
PR.com: It can really be used for any business or organization, but I like where you said, and I’m paraphrasing a little, “How do you compete with a more established brand without taking their customers? You create new ones.”
David Plouffe: That’s exactly what we had to do, and by the way, Barack Obama wanted to appeal to people who had sort of checked out of politics or hadn’t been involved. But the truth was this was a necessity for us. We had to do this because we would not have been able to win Iowa with the people who would have normally turned out. And that became exactly what we did. And that’s what we did several times, in the general election as well. We were not going to compete with Coke-a-Cola, you know? We had to essentially commit people to try… well, I’ll leave the analogies alone (laughs)… but we had to get people who drink sports drinks or juices. We weren’t going to win the cola war.
PR.com: What were the other campaigns’ reasons for not putting as much work into Iowa, specifically Hillary Clinton?
David Plouffe: Well I think she ended up spending as much, or more than we did and she appeared a lot, but we started organizing earlier because nobody knew who Barack Obama was, really, so we had to. We thought that Iowa was our make or break state. John Edwards spent even more time there than we did. I think Hillary Clinton perhaps got started there a little bit late. We organized every community in Iowa because we thought that to win we really were going to have to gain and build support in every corner of the state, and from unlikely sources. For instance, we organized every high school in Iowa. That had never been done before with the caucuses
For an inside look into the strategies and intimate stories behind President Obama’s presidential campaign and journey to the White House from the man who took that journey with him, READ MY ENTIRE INTERVIEW WITH POLITICAL STRATEGIST DAVID PLOUFFETags: 2012 election, Allison Kugel, Barack Obama, David Axelrod, David Plouffe, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Obama presidential campaign, political interview, political strategist, political strategy, PR, PR.com, President Barack Obama, public relations, Sarah PalinBooks, Celebrity Interviews, General, Politics