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

Obama campaign manager outlines victory strategy

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/25/art.plouffe.ap.jpg caption="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. Man With A Plan

    David Plouffe and David Axelrod are a great team. They worked their magic on the primaries. Of course it helps if you have a great candidate.

    Obama 08

    June 25, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. J.S.

    It's so nice to know that some American voters casting ballots in the 50 states are NOT needed by the Obama campaign–so much for UNITY. Us unneededs just might have relatives in the states that are needed - might try to influence them just a tad

    June 25, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  3. Don in Florida

    I hope they can do it. I'm there. I will be volunteering here in florida to help register and bring out the vote. I will also volunteer to man a polling station. Florida is going blue! 🙂

    June 25, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  4. Carl

    People are so stupid. Go ahead and vote for Obama and remember the old saying "LOOK OUT FOR WHAT YOU WISH FOR".P.S. McAmnesty isn't any better.
    I am voting third party.

    June 25, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. Man With A Plan II

    I have a feeling his dance card is going to get full very soon. Hope he stays until Barack's re-election.

    June 25, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  6. Grant McLachlan

    Wow, McCain is really desperate. Obama is ahead by nearly 8% of the popular vote, and will have about 330 electoral votes by November 4.
    Go ahead McCain, do your worst!

    "I will not veto any beers"
    Talk about stumbling, McCain!

    June 25, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  7. Doris,Memphis,TN

    David, I will triple my donations when Hillary's debt is paid.
    Barack has an October surprise for the Republicans.
    Get Ready GOP! This is the BIG ONE!

    June 25, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  8. LMS

    This is great....but is it really a good idea to be putting this out there so that the Republicans know exactly what Obama's strategy is???

    June 25, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  9. Lovely in VA

    Come on down to Virginia Barack!! WE are going to turn this state blue, NO doubt about it.

    And to Shane above, we don't need OH and FL to win but that would be nice topping on the already baked cake!!

    Watch that electoral map turn pretty shades of blue in the next couple weeks.

    June 25, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |


    June 25, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  11. Ula Nejad- Sacramento Ca

    Let me just add something here. It would be interesting to see if Obama's lucky charm of idol Lord Hanumman. Interesting stuff. Check it out! Iran is calling on Iranians to follow the ideals of the infallible daughter of Prophet Mohammed.

    June 25, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  12. The Three Davids

    This campaign is about the three Davids in the O Team:

    David Plouffe
    David Axelrod

    And the David (Obama) who's going to slay the Goliath (McCain) with our votes in November.

    June 25, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  13. DJ in TX

    to Belle – As much as I'd like to believe you, I don't think Senator Clinton would help much in those states. Senator Obama is already leading in the polls in FL (agreed there is time), but those other states have been solidly red for a while.

    Even though know (or at least know the Clinton name), they still don't know Senator Obama. WV and KY were red even with Bill Clinton.

    June 25, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  14. wiser

    No experience, no original ideas, no judgment. NOBAMA!

    Democrats for McCain!

    June 25, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  15. Anita from Arizona

    I totally agree with Alex in TX, These are people who need to feel comfortable with voting for Obama. Talking about those states as if you don't need them is not good. It can be taken the wrong way. Be in the mindset that we need everyone on board to achieve our goal for change. Gees, is this "STICK YOUR FOOT IN MOUTH WEEk" Both campaigns are doing that a lot this week.

    June 25, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  16. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    Many more states are in play this cycle, and with the money Obama is raising from small donors, for the first time in a long time, we will be able to compete in the money race with the fascist party of the right.

    This Obama tidal wave way very well swamp the USS McSame!

    Obama/Nunn in 2008 and beyond!

    June 25, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  17. Vinai Thummalapally

    Plouffe will be the last one to be disrespectful to any one or any state.
    I know he is just looking at different scenarios of how the Electoral College votes will likely tally up. The Obama campaing's predictions turned out very close during the primary cycle, and I suspect a repeat this go around. McCain is in for a surprise!

    June 25, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  18. Knoxville, Operation: NObama

    Wow. It's one things to lead the delusional in chanting for change without telling them what you've ever done to effect any real change, but to have strategists who are as delusional as your cult followers is a true wonder.
    Good luck, Barack. You're gonna need it.
    Your enablers had to step on, spit at, and tossed our core democratic principles out with the trash in order to carry you over the finish line.
    You had to show a level of duplicity throughout the nomination process that actually rivals that of George W. Bush in order to weasel your way off with a nomnination that you did not earn and do not deserve.
    Well, millions of Democrats will never forget what you did to our party. We will never forget what the failed leaders of the party did to our principles in order to ensure your selection as their–not our–nominee.
    We will remember in November.
    Count on it.

    June 25, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  19. Terry, NJ

    Yeah, ignore states and people.. You keep thinking everyone believes Koolaid is a nutrional yummy drink and see where that gets you. Hopefully not elected in November. Talk is cheap Obama. You may have lots of money, but that doesn't always win a state as you saw with Hillary. Pick Hillary as your VP so that people who vote for those with experience will vote for your campaign to add to those that voted for you simply because of your speeches on ideals that continued little ideas to make ideals happen.

    June 25, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  20. Rave

    Excellent, Obama has the top notch people in his crew with the best ideas to move this country forward to a properous future.
    Obama has the best judgement and I hope he doesn't pick Hillary as VP.
    OBAMA (2008 -16) / AL GORE for VP

    June 25, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  21. sharon

    Obama is doing very well regardless of all the Clinton soothsayers. o Obama!!!!!!!!

    June 25, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  22. James F

    I don't believe the polls about any of this. You are going to find that most McCain supporters aren't looking for a new rock star. Obama is scared to death of McCain. That is the real reason that he won't agree to community meetings that are unscripted. He just does not have the capability to handle something like that. His camp knows very well that they have to cater to captive audiences. Then he can spin and twist to his hearts content. He is flip flopping so much that he should try out for the olympic team. Never in the history of modern politics has there been somebody that feels he is so entitled that he can just spin away and we are all too stupid to see how many times he changes direction. What a con artist! I think it's all going to backfire.

    June 25, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  23. Stephanie in PA

    Alex Conant, your illogical comment just illustrates the fact that you are shaking in your boots like most McCain supporters, and rightly so. Barack Obama inspires and excites Americans to a degree that many of us have never experienced during an election. John McCain doesn't have that in him. I have to go now to attend an Obama volunteer meeting. I live in Pennsylvania and haven't seen one McCain sticker or sign, but many Obama signs. Barack will take PA in November!

    June 25, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  24. Allan

    No matter what obama not going to win .

    June 25, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  25. pam Eugene OR

    Sounds like a plan to me.
    I gave the HRC today for the first time ever. I did it because Barack asked me to. I won't do it again but I helped pay down her self inflicted debt. Please Obama supporters just give her a few bucks so they can all stop whining. Hillary's 18 million supporters aren't even will to give her $1 each. They have a lot of excuses why not
    Money will go to DNC
    Money will go to Obama
    Admit it! You ardent Hillary supporters are chaos voter wow would never give Hillary a dollar. If you really support her why are you reducing her to begging for money?

    June 25, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
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