June 25th, 2008
04:50 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama campaign manager outlines victory strategy

Plouffe is Obama's campaign manager.
Plouffe is Obama's campaign manager.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Obama campaign manager David Plouffe held a press conference at the Democratic National Committee headquarters on Wednesday to illustrate the campaign’s path to victory in November.

Plouffe said that the primary goal is to hold on to the 20 states that John Kerry won, netting him 252 electoral votes. To win the additional 18 needed to reach 270 for the victory, Plouffe outlined a variety of strategies and initiatives, several already underway.

Check out CNN's electoral map

He emphasized a likely victory in Iowa, believing that the momentum created by the January caucus victory could hold and add seven votes to the Obama column.

Plouffe said that contrary to popular belief, victory in Ohio and Florida isn’t necessary to reach 270 but that they would “fight like heck” for the pair.

He pointed to two previously solid Republican states – North Carolina and Virginia – as examples of states they think can be turned blue, saying they plan to put some of their best staff there and if they win either on top of the Kerry states and Iowa, it’s “game, set, match.”

Watch: CNN's John King takes a look at the battleground states

Despite claiming to not put much stock in many national and state polls, Plouffe noted recent polls in important swing states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio to emphasize the number of ways of reaching 270.

Obama’s 50-state strategy is a centerpiece of his general election effort. Plouffe acknowledged that several core Republican states, like Texas, won’t be in play but said they will staff them nonetheless to help with the large grassroots efforts that have arisen.

He added that word of mouth at the grassroots level – as opposed to just advertising – is very powerful, especially if it’s coming from independents, Republicans or previously inactive Democrats that have decided to work for Obama.

The importance of African-Americans and young people was underscored, especially in a typically Republican state like Georgia that has a big black population that could help Obama take the state, particularly if Libertarian candidate and Georgia native Bob Barr, were to peel votes away from John McCain.

The PowerPoint presentation included a poll that showed 61 percent of Democrats being more enthusiastic than usual about the election, while just 35 percent of Republicans said the same.

Plouffe said that the goal going forward was to play off the enthusiasm to recruit volunteers, solicit donations and – perhaps most importantly – register voters and make sure they turn out in November. He also reiterated the need to educate voters not only about Obama’s personal history, but McCain’s stance on key issues that Plouffe believes will bring swing voters like women to the Obama camp.

Republican National Committee spokesman Alex Conant dismissed Plouffe's predictions.

“Like so much about Barack Obama’s campaign, his campaign manager’s words don’t match reality," he said. "Obama wheezed across the finish line of his party’s nomination, losing the majority of primaries since March 4, including key general election battleground states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Obama continues to struggle with conservative Democrats and independents, and a new poll today shows the race a dead heat.”


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. John J., NY

    How can Obama ask us to give money to pay off Hillary's debts?

    For six months he told us how bad she was and now we are supposed to love her.

    Obama is a millionaire–I'm not-let him pay off her debts if he loves her that much.

    June 25, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  2. Bishop

    Senator McCain,

    Yours is an elitist state of a delusional mind.

    Yours is a brief history of the sleazy tactics of a weasel who offers nothing more than flowery rhetoric and gimmicks for each and every American.

    Yours is the story of a weak candidate who had to have the failed leaders of the control freaks, a.k.a the Republican Party step on, spit at, and toss our core principles out with the trash in order to carry you, their selected nominee, over the finish line.

    We will not forget. We will remember in November.

    Senator McCain, you have a problem

    June 25, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  3. John J., NY

    Arrogance is rampant at Obama headquarters. They would do well to remember that "pride goeth before the fall."

    June 25, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  4. JACK AMES

    Everyone should know Obama does not meet Presidential or VP requirements.It is EASILY FOUND on the web. It seems CNN knows this with all the fact finding and news bloodhounds they have, WHY DOES THIS PERSIST TO KNOWINGLY ALLOW A CONSTITUTIONAL REQUISITE FOR EITHER OFFICE TO BE VIOLATED?

    June 25, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  5. Lone Democrat kid

    OBAMA 08! Democrats will not be cheated again!

    June 25, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  6. Raymond Duke

    Well unless something big happens this year if I was that old boy I would be praying and kissing Folrida and Ohio rearend. I may be wrong but it has been a long time since north carolina and Iowa went democrat. Iowa was won only because it was a caucaus . If it had been a primary held instead of a caucaus Hillary would have won it.It will go republican. Regular people vote in primarys and regular elections. Caucaus is mainly who can turn out the unemployed, drug addicts , college kids etc. Most americans are working and cannot afford to take off the day..North Carolina, forget it . What you seen there is all the votes the democrats have to give. There is not enough blacks in the state to carry it in a general eection with the few liberals who live in the state.

    June 25, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  7. Diego from Florida

    If the democrats cannot win an election in which everything, and I mean everything, from the war, to the economy, to the absolutly low/unispired repuclicans as well as the very inspired/high turn out dems it would tear the party appart. As a democrat and proud Barack Obama supporter I would have to sit down in complete awe if John McCain manages to win this election.

    Show some respect people, and accept reality, not matter where you lie on the political spectrum, right now Barack Obama is easly winning the race. As it has been pointed out in this site, even IF Obama lose Virginia, and even IF Obama loses North Carolina, he would also have to lose Florida, Ohio, Pensylvania, Missouri, Iowi and Michigan all of which, if you use impiricall evidence and average the polls, Obama is currently winning. As I said before, if McCain sticks to a "decent" level of attacks against Obama I as a liberal, democratic, Obamas supporter would have to stand in awe if McCain somehow managed to win this.

    say hello to third politician in American history, who transcends politics, Barack Obama.

    this election I honestly think this

    June 25, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  8. CHICHI FROMMICHIGAN DETROIT

    GOOD STRATEGY, PLEASE REGISTER AS MANY VOTERS AS POSSIBLE, I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE DONATION BUT IS IT GOING TO HILLARY?. IN MICHIGAN HERE EVERYBODY IS VOTING FOR OBAMA IN THE HOSPITAL I WORK. IS THIS GONNA BE A LANDSLIDE?

    June 25, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  9. CHICHI FROM MICHIGAN DETROIT

    GOOD STRATEGY, PLEASE REGISTER AS MANY VOTERS AS POSSIBLE, I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE DONATION BUT IS IT GOING TO HILLARY?. IN MICHIGAN HERE EVERYBODY IS VOTING FOR OBAMA IN THE HOSPITAL I WORK. IS THIS GONNA BE A LANDSLIDE?

    June 25, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  10. Alice in Florida

    Ted, I guess you're a monkey's uncle because NO WAY will he EVER win Florida or Michigan

    He already stole our votes, remember? Fool me once.............!

    PUMA!!!!!!

    June 25, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  11. Nikole

    MAMA COO- People blogging is not Sen. Obama's problem. Anyone who votes out of spite should have their right to vote revoked. Look at the issues, figure out who you are most aligned with and vote. You don't make a decision based upon someone you don't know and will never know, making a comment you think is "mean".

    June 25, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  12. REPUB OF LA.

    NO-NO-NO-OBAMA
    GOD BLESS AMERICA ~!!

    June 25, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  13. James Doe

    Not sure what everyone is so upset about. If Al gore had simply won his state, Tennessee, or his President's, Arkansas, it would not have mattered how many hanging chads were counted or not counted in Florida.

    I think people are angry because they realize that the election is more of a game than it out to be; essentially, it is a contest to see who can get 270 electoral college votes by putting together the right combination of states. We've seen what the populist strategy of winning the most popular votes gets you.

    Just like the magic number was 2028 in the primaries (until the FL/MI compromise) and one candidate recognized that if you won delegates in caucuses in places your opponent thought were not traditionally battlegrounds, you could build an insurmountable 100 delegate lead that meant you really just had to split all the rest of the way. The same applies now. You could win Florida or Michigan and come out on top, or you could win over 3 or 4 smaller states that add up to the same magic number while your opponent is busy pouring money into "traditional battleground states" and focusing less on the 3 or 4 smaller ones that add up to the same number of electoral college votes.

    Lets stop being angry and just recognize that this is the game being played disguised as an election for the most powerful position in the world.

    June 25, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  14. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    GO PLOUFFE GO.

    YOU ARE THE BEST.

    June 25, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  15. David Goldman for OBAMA

    MAN, PLOUFFE YOU ARE MY HERO.

    June 25, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  16. Ilona Proud Canadian

    mama coo

    I don't know about the other Barack Supporters, but, I beg to differ!
    The Barack Supporters did not, is not, and will not , attack Senator Clinton. In my opinion, you really have this in reverse. It was Hillary's Supporters and Campaigners, who ATTACKED BARACK WITH EVERYTHING INCLUDING THE KITCHEN SINK. Their MUDSLING ATTACKS ON BARACK WAS SO EXTREME, THAT NOW JOHN McCAIN IS USING HILLARY'S LIES ABOUT BARACK.

    Do you really know how disgusting this is? FOR YOUR VERY OWN DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE TO ATTACK YOU WITH VILE LIES, THAT NOW THE OPPOSITION IS USING THESE SAME LIES TO THROW IN YOUR FACE?

    Give me a break, mama coo, but you must surely be A REPUBLICAN IN A DEMOCRAT'S CLOTHING. PLEASE go back where you came from!

    June 25, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  17. 58 old white ladies for OBAMA

    PLAUFFE , SMART, YOUNG & A GREAT SMILE.

    WE AMERICANS HAVE SOME GREAT YOUNG

    PEOPLE IN THE GAME. WE WILL BE OK.

    June 25, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  18. BK

    Obama reminds me of Bush. He ran on change and lost every debate and still got elected. Obama said that he would debate John McCain any place any where. Now he is backing out because he does not want the people to know he is an empty suit. He just wants to do rallys where you can't ask questions. I get tired of watching him read his prepared speeches. Maybe his speechwriter should run for president instead of Obama.

    June 25, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
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