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. Ted

    Remember what the Hill herself said? "Yes, yes, yes."

    Yes we can! If he can't win at least 2 out of IN, OH, FL, MO, MT, AK, NM, CO, NV, VA, NC, or GA, I'm a monkey's uncle.

    June 25, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  2. Targar

    Lets keep it a secret David, Macwar will know what president Obama is doing.

    June 25, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  3. Kick Hillary to the Curb

    David Plouffe= David Axelrod= Barack Obama = SUCCESS !!!!!!!

    June 25, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  4. Roger from CA

    Wow! Now I see some writers are complaining about not following a 50-state strategy (which, by the way, Plouffe in the article says is NOT the case) in favor of focusing on key swing states, leaving out the writers' states.

    Sounds a whole lot like the complaints of Hillary's old followers about Obama and the DNC cheating her out of the nomination, even though all the rules were agreed in advance (including by Hillary!). What??? Are they now blaming Obama for the Electoral College???!?!?

    June 25, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  5. TAB

    Why reveal your strategy to the other team?

    June 25, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |

    To puff:

    You lost your mabrbles, just like the old man, keep on dreaming.

    19th century politics for repubs are dead.

    Keep packing republicans, you created all the mess an america and the world are looking toward Obama, that is a fact.

    June 25, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  7. Ridgeway

    His name is pronounced "Fluff"? How appropriate for Obama's campaign strategist.

    June 25, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  8. mama coo

    In your victory strategy perhaps his camp needs to reign in his supporters on the blogs. The more people read their horrible diatribe against the Clinton's and their supporters the more Clinton supporters resolve not to vote for him. It is hard to believe that Obama continues to attract such horrible people. It truly makes you wonder what type of person he is. His supporters continued attacks on Senator Clinton and her supporters is uncalled for and immature and is a reflection on Senator Obama.

    June 25, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  9. Knoxville, Operation: SNOBama

    Senator Obama,

    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 empty slogans for each and every American.

    Yours is the story of a weak candidate who had to have the failed leaders of the undemocratic Democratic 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, you have a problem.

    June 25, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  10. jp/michigan

    Obama race to the white house has been a fairy tale. He will ride in on the back of mother goose! Like Humpty Dumpty, he will have a great fall and no one will be able to put Obama back together again.

    June 25, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  11. Michelle

    This must be the same guy that came up with the fake seal.

    So, they are taking PA for granted? Guess again.

    PA may be leaning blue right now but it has a good chance to go red.

    PA citizens don't like phonies.

    Obama's hope/change/kumbaya is getting old fast.

    Obama = Bush 3

    Who promised change and unity and was a charmer and talker?
    Bush! And people fell for it!

    Voting for Obama is like voting for Bush.

    June 25, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  12. I'll go with what Nader said . . .


    WOW! How absolutely, positively, unequivocally Nader got that right!
    But not ALL of us feel a "cosmic" white guilt , nor should we. We saw through that ploy of Obama's (or rather, Axelrod, Obama's "brain" ) long ago. Axelrod is a P.R. specialist, and P.R. people (I used to be one) always have to find an "angle" to "differentiate" and sell their product — so Axelrod found HIS product — Obama — to sell, seal, and deliver to the public — and trust me, he gets BIG bucks for that.
    We, on the other hand, have nothing to feel guilty for. We supported and fought for equality, integration, and affirmative action. Now it's time for African Americans to step up to the plate and not remain stuck in some "slavery" scenario a hundred years ago, which generally keeps them bound in the chains of "entitlement."

    June 25, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  13. Phil, FL

    McCain doesn't need to campaign.

    CNN spent over an hour this evening (Blitzer as usual and Campbell Brown), playing every negative about Obama and praising McWarmonger.

    Don't worry Obama. We see thru the fear-mongering.

    "Danger", "Security", "Fear", "Terrorists", etc.

    Not a third time.

    He he he he he

    June 25, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  14. Loretta from California

    Yes, fight like heck for every State. Do not take anything for granted.


    June 25, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  15. Texas Trail Dog


    June 25, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  16. Phil, FL

    James F

    Why should he talk to 17 people (and give McShame free coverage) when he can talk to tens of thousands?

    McShame needs to get you idiods to send him money – oops!! He can't.

    June 25, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  17. Richard

    I have an idea for a new GOP slogan for the fall: George W. Who?!?!?!?? NEVER HEARD OF HIM!!!!!

    June 25, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  18. no mccain

    the only way mccain can win this election,he should apologize for 8 years of bush mess: the irak war, bad economy... and start bringing real good ideas and solutions to every day problems of american people.i don't see that will happen with mccain,so i have to say obama 08-12.

    June 25, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Watch ing Campbell Brown "moderating" Lars Larson/Chris brown conversation. We are in serious situation requiring serious journalists, not social hostesses.. Throwing up your hands and saying "guys play nice" won't cut it. Doesn't anyone in the press realize that Karl Roves comments smack of the "good old days" when you could expose a climbing minority person as "uppity" Please be more insightful in your coverage. We lost Russert, we don't need a continued lack of focus on the REAL ISSUES of this election. WE are in deep trouble here. Financially, environmentally, socially, this country is in fragments. please do not lose the ability to hone in on the facts and inform us so we can make good decisions.

    June 25, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  20. Democrat Going Independent

    When did Democrats start sounding as arrogant as Republican?

    How does a campaign say it wouldn't need a state but fight like "heck" to get it. I think it's safe to say you should have tried harded to get states like MI and FL the first time.

    You change your finance decision because it's "broke." But you wouldn't argure for every vote in MI and FL in the primary?

    That's arrogance at its most bitter.

    Dem going Independent...

    like a lot others

    June 25, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  21. Are you serious?

    CLINTON 08 VP:

    OBAMA (P) & CLINTON (VP) 2008-2014


    "Mr. No Brains"... that's funny coming from someone who supposedly thinks the president can serve a six year term.

    The number of ignorant people on this site never ceases to amaze me.

    June 25, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  22. Mary

    Remember the context that he is speaking in. Everyone matters, there are a few that carry a little more weight.

    June 25, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  23. Captain Obvious


    Obama has Cali – I've seen nothing but bumper stickers for Obama out here. Nothing for McCain.


    Thanks for pointing out the most obvious state in the election.

    What's tomorrow's breaking news, "Obama leads voters polled in New York?"

    June 25, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  24. Marie in California

    If I were Obama, I sure wouldn't count on Michigan.....not after what happened there. My friends and family in Michigan, mostly Democrats, are now solidly for McCain. They don't trust Obama, hate the DNC, and are very upset and disgusted about what happened to Hillary there, especially by the DNC Rules Commiteee.

    No Abomination in the Presidency!

    Former Democrat for Hillary.....now a brand new Republican for McCain!

    June 25, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  25. Don Colony14Author, Mt Prospect, IL

    Obama will win the states with the largest numbers of welfare recipients and government employees... and that's it. The rest of the country, the people who work hard and have to pay the bills, will vote to protect their wallets – after they figure out Obama's main task will be to empty them (with considerable help from Pelosi and Reid).

    Regrettably, the parasites are getting close to outnumbering the producers, so Saint Obama may actually have a chance to send the nation even further down the path to collectivism.

    But if Obama should win in 2008, he'll be eagerly tossed out in 2012.

    June 25, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
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