Trouble already: Why so many no-shows for Obama's campaign kickoff?
[SIZE="1"]By ANDREW MALCOLM[/SIZE]
WANTED: A new presidential campaign advance team that can count. Contact Obama for America headquarters in Chicago.
Of all the times to blow the political optics, it was to be the first "official" campaign event on Barack Obama's billion-dollar reelection campaign. A huge rally in Columbus, Ohio, capital of such a key state this fall that Republicans have never won the White House without it.
We say "official," of course, because Obama has never really stopped running for reelection since Aretha Franklin's last note on the Capitol steps Jan. 20, 2009. Nor has Obama let up campaigning since he announced his reelection bid more than a year ago.
So, Saturday's kickoff was to begin in Ohio and then take Air Force One to Virginia, another once-red state that Obama would like to re-snatch in 2012.
But, alas, all of the excitement that was being staged for the media was over-shadowed by the 4,000 or so empty seats in Columbus. The obvious lesson in Political Advance 101 is: Always pick a setting that's too small for the crowd you expect. Better to have some angry people clamoring to get inside from outside than the media snapping photos like the one above that screams ZZZZZZZZ.
Mitt Romney learned this lesson several weeks ago when he assembled a decent dining room crowd for his major economic speech in Detroit. But his team plopped them down in the middle of a football field in a stadium seating 70,000. Obviously, the Obama campaign isn't reading news coverage of their opponent, hopefully over-confidence.
We were going to publish the complete text of the president's alleged "opening" remarks, but we changed our minds. Talk about going through the motions. It's the same yada-yada he's been peddling at his record-breaking number of fundraisers.
We read it so you don't have to: 3,930 words recounting how he never said change was easy, he's already done a lot to fix America, he needs to do more to cement the transformation of this country and this campaign will be harder than the last one.
The most interesting part of the event was actually not Obama's. It was Michelle Obama's. She campaigned in 2008. Remember, that was the first time she'd ever been proud of her country. But this time she's been pushed even more front-and-center. She's making her own cross-country swings of political fundraisers.
And Saturday she was the poised warm-up act for her husband. Except instead of a couple endearing stories about Barack, she actually gave her own speech. It was about 1,500 words-worth that wandered off into her own childhood and her father's life of hard work and how he always paid his bills on time and how that's what's really at stake this year.