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Thread: Let's talk campaign strategy

  1. #1
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    Let's talk campaign strategy

    Take off your partisan hat (not easy for many here ;) ) and play campaign manager. Pick a side and tell me the 2 or 3 things you do next.

    If I'm the Obama campaign...

    1. I 100% focus on comparing Biden to Palin. The problem the Dems are having is that Palin has been pitted against Obama as the Republicans try to say "Our VP is actually more qualified than your Presidential candidate." Obama does well in the polls against McCain....keep that comparison going. I think you need to keep an apples-to-apples comparison and put the veteran attack dog with deep foreign policy experience in Biden against Palin who could look like a rookie on foreign policy.

    2. Hillary has to be the secret weapon in slamming Palin. Wait a couple of days and then bring out Hillary to say that, "Sarah Palin is a woman....and that's about where the similarities end. Anyone who supported me and thinks that Palin is a viable alternative couldn't be more wrong."

    3. The Republicans seem to have balanced the appropriateness of an appearance by a sitting President at his party's convention with the awareness that Bush is a polarizing figure. The got him on and off, not even in-person, very early in the convention. Obama has to continue associating Bush and McCain, comparing the voting record, and calling it a continued legacy. It is sad but a fact that the best strategy for the Dems is to run against a guy who isn't even running.

  2. #2
    If I'm the McCain campaign

    1) I immediately highlight key issues where McCain and Bush diverge (mainly on spending, stem cells, torture, education, etc). In the middle of the press conference, I say "sure, there are issues we agree on - he's right on x, I'm with him on y" then go back to the differences. I point out that Obama either knows or doesn't know about the differences, and suggest he must be either disingenuous or clueless to campaign against McCain as "4 more years of Bush." And I finish by saying "he's choosing to campaign against President Bush because he thinks he can beat President Bush in an election. I guess he doesn't think he can beat me."

    Its an issue that needs finesse, because he can't alienate the base by attacking Bush - but he desperately needs to move the discussion away from "4 more years". The combination of calling Obama clueless, disingenuous or cowardly will prod Obama to shift away from the comparison, or to have to justify continuing to use it in light of the actual differences

    2) I keep the comparisons as Obama-Palin and McCain-Biden. Not only does that play to the ticket's strengths, but it highlights that the real competition for McCain, from a knowledge and experience perspective, is at the bottom of the Obama-Biden ticket, and allows them to keep downgrading Obama's experience by linking him not only with Palin, but with the VP position.

    3) I immediately begin rolling out specific plans on energy, the economy and foreign policy, and highlighting them with multiple interlocking commercials. You can't convincingly attack Obama as all flash and no substance without putting out substance yourself

  3. #3
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    [QUOTE=jetstream23;2726047]Take off your partisan hat (not easy for many here ;) ) and play campaign manager. Pick a side and tell me the 2 or 3 things you do next.

    If I'm the Obama campaign...

    1. I 100% focus on comparing Biden to Palin. The problem the Dems are having is that Palin has been pitted against Obama as the Republicans try to say "Our VP is actually more qualified than your Presidential candidate." Obama does well in the polls against McCain....keep that comparison going. I think you need to keep an apples-to-apples comparison and put the veteran attack dog with deep foreign policy experience in Biden against Palin who could look like a rookie on foreign policy.

    [B]2. Hillary has to be the secret weapon in slamming Palin. Wait a couple of days and then bring out Hillary to say that, "Sarah Palin is a woman....and that's about where the similarities end. Anyone who supported me and thinks that Palin is a viable alternative couldn't be more wrong."[/B]

    3. The Republicans seem to have balanced the appropriateness of an appearance by a sitting President at his party's convention with the awareness that Bush is a polarizing figure. The got him on and off, not even in-person, very early in the convention. Obama has to continue associating Bush and McCain, comparing the voting record, and calling it a continued legacy. It is sad but a fact that the best strategy for the Dems is to run against a guy who isn't even running.[/QUOTE]

    And here she comes!

    [url]http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/09/05/obama-camp-to-deploy-high-profile-female-surrogates/[/url]

  4. #4
    For the Dems...

    Barring a (perhaps inevitable) gaffe from her, Obama should ignore Palin. She is primarily talking to the GOP base and there is really no need to engage her in the fight for swing voters that he and McCain will be waging over the next 60 days.

    Palin should be dealt with primarily through femaile surrogates, because the GOP has already tipped its hand that it is eager to play the identity politics card. (See the Jon Stewart segment on this for hillarious examples.) Hillary Clinton should lead the charge by pointing out --with 100% accuracy-- that Palin's views are the polar opposite of everything Hillary believes in. Since the dems have a deep bench of powerful women surrogates --Clinton, Sibelius, McCaskil, Napolitano, etc...-- this really shouldn't be hard to do.

    Obama's focus should be primarily on the economy and foreign policy, which virtually every poll suggests are the two major issues to voters. And in every speech he should point out --with 100% accuracy-- that there is absolutely no difference between the McCain and Bush positions on those issues.

    In terms of electoral strategy, Obama will have a financial advantage and a very wide map. I would spread McCain thin by making him defend states like Indiana and North Carolina that Republicans usually take for granted.

    If I'm the Republicans...

    They need to find a way to make their new "McCain=Change" campaign credible. The way to do this is to highlight the issues where he diverges with Bush. (Two immediate problems: On some of those issues (like tortute, for instance) he essentially agrees with Obama, making it hard to make a campaign issue out of, and (2) on the biggest issues of the campaign, he does agree with Bush.)

    I would use Palin as the base energizer, putting her only in front of friendly partisan media like O'Reilly, Rush, Hannity and as a stumping weapon in red states. She can fire up turnout among the GOP partisans. Her issue positions are going to make her a nonstarter with swing voters, I think, but she can be an asset on the right and, perhaps, can give McCain cover to emphasize some of the stuff his base hates about him (like his plans for immigration reform and global warming) that moderates will like. When Palin debates Biden, pray.

    In terms of electoral strategy, the map is grim. McCain is not currently leading in a single Kerry state, and he is tied or trailing in Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Virginia -- four major states Bush carried. He needs one big takeaway.

    Were I McCain, I would basically pick one big blue state where Obama looks vulnerable and go all out there, carpetbombing the state with ads and personal appearances. Most likely, the opportunity is in Pennsylvania or Michigan.

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