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How Obama Did It and How the Internet Helped Him

When the race for the Democratic nomination for president, Hillary Clinton was well ahead of everyone else in pretty much all metrics. So what happened? How did Obama win - and win handily - at the end?

Karen Tumulty wrote this interesting behind-the-scenes of the Obama campaign for TIME magazine:

How did he do it? How did Obama become the first Democratic insurgent in a generation or more to knock off the party's Establishment front runner? Facing an operation as formidable as Clinton's, Obama says in an interview, "was liberating ... What I'd felt was that we could try some things in a different way and build an organization that reflected my personality and what I thought the country was looking for. We didn't have to unlearn a bunch of bad habits."

When Betsy Myers first met with Obama in his Senate office on Jan. 3, 2007, about two weeks before he announced he was forming an exploratory committee to run for President, Obama laid down three ruling principles for his future chief operating officer: Run the campaign with respect; build it from the bottom up; and finally, no drama. Myers was struck by how closely Obama had studied the two campaigns of George W. Bush. "He said he wanted to run our campaign like a business," says Myers. And in a good business, the customer is king. Early on, before it had the resources to do much else, the campaign outsourced a "customer-service center" so that anyone who called, at any hour of the day or night, would find a human voice on the other end of the line.


Even Obama admits he did not expect the Internet to be such a good friend. "What I didn't anticipate was how effectively we could use the Internet to harness that grass-roots base, both on the financial side and the organizing side," Obama says. "That, I think, was probably one of the biggest surprises of the campaign, just how powerfully our message merged with the social networking and the power of the Internet."

Link (Photo: Callie Shell/Aurora for TIME)

Obama's victory speech: "I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal."

Is this guy the Messiah or what? He's healing the planet and slowing the oceans already!
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"... run our campaign like a business," says Myers. And in a good business, the customer is king."

Leading with a finger in the air. What a novel concept.

This guy is like a combination of Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter; Carter's failed policies with Clinton's spin machine. Yeah, this guy is going places; with any luck he'll be going right back into obscurity.

Hey Barack; say hi to your buddy Tony for me.
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Would someone with his "finger in the air" be one of the only people to speak out against the war at a time when almost everyone was for it? And to do it when running for a Senate seat? He was kinda going against the grain there, and it worked.
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It would definitely be someone who says he could no more disown his racist pastor than he could disown the black community -- then disowns his racist pastor a fortnight later.
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People fail to count for almost half of delagates went to the other candidate? So if hes so much better, hes only better by a little bit. Moreover - her campain kept up with him too.
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Thomas -

Obama won his senate seat because his opponent was embroiled in a massive sex scandal.

And he still voted for the war.
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Shared, do you think it was easy for someone named Barak Obama to beat someone named Clinton? She had far better numbers to start. It was a masterful win and bodes well for the general.

Smak, when did he vote for the war?

Dave, Obama is taking no lobbyist cash. Now the DNC isn't taking any. I'd rather have a candidate that feels more beholden to the electorate than to corporate lobbyists. At any rate, that's not the customer centric idea that worked. What worked was being ready to take the cash and mobilize volunteers.
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Obama managed to run a positive campaign while Hillary tried to use the smear/victimization tactics that won her a senate seat in 2000. Wouldn't it be great if both Obama & McCain kept it positive through to the election and spared us all the usual temper tantrums? I know it's a pipe dream, but it would be nice...
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He is as dumb as Bush. Atleast when Bush makes a retarded statement or has a verbal slip, he will usually correct it after someone in the audience yells at him. Obama as far as we know is the only candidate who wants to invade Pakistan, is a muslim and a christian, with a slight possiblity that he might be a member of all three monotheistic sand relgions, he is also the only candidate who proposes to limit oil profits and has visited all 57 states with the exceptions of Alaska, Hawaii, and one of the others.

Obama is the first halfrican american running for office that has absolutely no ancestry of Colonial Ameran or Caribian Slavery. Obama is an empty suit that will be destroyed by McCain. The only way that he can win is if a third party politician takes enough votes away from McCain for him to get elected with out atleast 50% of the vote. This is exactly what Perot did to Bush and Dole, or what Nader did to Gore.
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Anon. Obama is not a Muslim. He does at least know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite-- something bush and McLame are still having trouble with.

I'm sure Bob Barr would be happy to have your vote. I don't know how anyone could support McSame. You'd have to be crazy to vote Republican after the last 8 years.

Obama was Harvard Law Review editor and a prof of constitutional law at Chicago. You'd better have some pretty bad ass credentials yourself before you call him an empty suit.

Also, I know you feel sorry for oil companies but I really can't sympathize with their pain. They are fleecing us all.
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@ ray ray

The oil companies do not make the majority of the money when it comes down to it. Most of the profits are made by the government by taxes. With Obama in the office those taxes would go even higher and not just on the cost of fuel. Right now there is a thing going though the senate for another tax on fuel.

The government has made it illegal for anyone to try and obtain the billions of barrels of oil in the Rocky Mountains. It is illegal to get the oil off the Florida coasts. It is illegal to collect the oil in Alaska. We have more than enough oil in America to provide us for 1000s of years. The government just make it illegal for ourselves so we can help out by paying the terrorists billions of dollars to kill our own people.

If Obama was to get into office I out right refuse any kind of government health care. I better not be taxed for it or I am out of this country. It will be impossible to have government health care without taxing the people.

Obama = Much more taxes and impossible living for the poorer side of America.
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Second time I heard that he WASN'T descended from slaves. Does he claim to be? What should it matter?

As I said before, this will be a very divisive time in American politics.
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How about BHO post entitled, "How Obama Did It and How the Fawning Media Helped Him"? It's been hilarious to see how the left-wing dupes in the media bent over backwards to protect Obama, and how he'd get riled any time they crossed his line. How many other politicians could get away with, "I've already answered like 8 questions for you guys..." when the questions start getting tough at a press conference? Do you think he'll be any more accessible if he's elected president?

I still can't get over how quickly the media dolts got over all of the skeletons in this guy's closet; Tony Rezko, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Father Pfleger, Michelle Obama (and her anti-white comments), etc... If it were a Republican who had associations like that, the media would be all over that like flies on sh1t, and he'd likely have been forced to drop out of the race. But Obama... A few too many questions before he finishes his waffle, he throws a fit, and the media lackeys back off. It's downright sickening.

He's run his campaign on flowery speeches filled with empty promises of "change" and getting Washington politicians to work together... He's got nothing in his background to show that he's capable of delivering on anything he's promised. If he had an R behind his name, I think even rayray would call him an empty suit.

Note to site admins... What's up with the Cocomment doodad? I get an error trying to post through Safari almost every time, even though my cookies setting is correct.
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Josh, as I understand the plan Obama has put forth, I won't pay any additional taxes but I will save thousands on my health insurance. I work for a small company with some employees with chronic health problems. My premiums are very high. Assuming that you work, you are already paying taxes for other people's health care. I don't even mind paying a little more taxes if I can get something worthwhile in return.

Dave, I don't think Obama is getting a free ride from the media at all. McCain's pastor problems were nasty as well, "Hitler part of God's plan" and "the Catholic church is the whore of babylon" stuff. That didn't get near the media attention. USA Today is running a story today about Obama's "problem" reaching "hard working" white Americans. This after winning the primary in Montana whose whites don't work hard enough to satisfy the media.

Obama did cosponsor the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act with McCain last year. It was signed into law. He's actually done quite a bit of bipartisan legislation. I'm also not concerned about Obama's ability to defect criticism like you are. I think it's awesome.

McCain is the real waffler. I used to respect the man for his stance against torture. I know that shouldn't be worth much. I mean, everybody knows torture is wrong. I figured Republicans might listen to him seeing as how he was driven to insanity from being tortured in Nam. Now he's got a more nuanced stance. He was against torture before he was for it. It's sickening how your "maverick" has come right into the fold to support the same creepy policies that the Bush team implemented.
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Obama is a socialist. Look forward to higher taxes and a "spread the wealth" mentality. Look forward to open boarders and amnesty.
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It's like the Republican blog patrol swoops in any time there is talk about Obama. Hate on and smear Obama all you want with misinformation, but it won't make McCain a better candidate.
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I have a novel idea. instead of flapping your gums and wasting angry hot breath about talking points that you have not looked into, turn of your television and go over the facts. take the time to make decissions for yourself based on what each candidate has laid out as his plan. i thought this was the idea behind voting. i guess i'd neglected the clearly more important chess beating pissing contest or fractured facts and altered quotes.
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LOL @ the notion of Obama being a socialist. I wonder how that flies? Austan Goolsbee is his economic advisor and he is from the Chicago school of economics. If anything Obama is a little TOO much of a free trade fundie for me, but the choice between him and insane McCain is nonetheless an easy one. I can't believe anyone could consider voting for that derelict, fraudulent warmonger.
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That sounds like a good idea Timothy. What they say they will do isn't as good a source for making a choice, IMHO, as looking at past votes, etc.

For example, McCain doesn't come out on his website and say he voted against a bill that would clearly make waterboarding illegal. And it doesn't say that he had spoken out against waterboarding before. In fact he used the issue to take the high ground against Rudy in the primary. (beats chest, pisses really far.)
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Who wants to be informed? This is politics after all! Informed people just get in the way of the circus act.

Just to make sure (some aren't versed in the subtle ways of sarcasm) I'm kidding. Timothy is absolutely right.
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If anyone's gotten a free ride from the media, its McCain. He's an aggressive, belligerent old jerk. He calls Asians gooks, and his wife a c*nt. Congressmen come out in droves to say that he's unstable, and likely to go off on anyone who crosses him in the slightest. I've had enough belligerence in these last 8 years to last a lifetime. I could use a level-headed statesman for once, who by all accounts is a good man. I'm voting Obama.
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"Obama was Harvard Law Review editor and a prof of constitutional law at Chicago. You’d better have some pretty bad ass credentials yourself before you call him an empty suit. "

Damn straight.

Not to mention a state representative for years.
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And Obama never wrote a single article for the Law Review. Most of his time as a representative was spent avoiding votes.

Obama has no past achievements, and he changes his policy positions daily. He's an empty suit.
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Yeah so I'm sure he got elected president of Harvard law review for absolutely no reason at all...*rolls eyes* Those stupid Harvard students! He fooled them all. And Evil Pundit has the whole world figured out from his mobile home and pickup truck.
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It's sad to find so many closed minds on a quality blog. Obama attracted the people with the most education. What does that say? To me, it means he's the thinking person's candidate.
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If you assume that everyone who doesn't like Obama has a "closed mind", then you're the one with the closed mind.

I don't see a lot of critical thinking going on among his supporters. They ignore or dismiss his background, his record, his associations and his many stumbles, lies and backflips on the campaign trail. I'd say Obama is the faith-based person's candidate.
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@rayray: So Obama CO-sponsored a bill with McCain; big flippin deal. You say "he’s actually done quite a bit of bipartisan legislation"? Let's see a list, and show that it's meaningful legislation. Good luck on that.

You also say you're "also not concerned about Obama’s ability to defect criticism"... (I'll assume you meant "deflect criticism".) But the point is that anyone who aspires to the presidency can't blow off the media the way that Barack has and expect to get away with it for long. Tough questions are part of the job. If he doesn't answer them, there are always aspiring Woodwards & Bernsteins waiting in the wings to take him down. The man seems to have the patience & tolerance of a spoiled two year old. And the belligerence of a surly teenager at times.

I think it’s awesome that you're so naively innocent. I'll give that about six months of an Obama administration before reality sets in and you see how much of a stuffed shirt he really is.

@jonk thinks that because Obama's got an economist on staff that he can't be a socialist? That's laughable. A leftist is a leftist, and Goolsbee wears the colors proudly. He's been working for the DNC, and that speaks volumes about his ideology. From what I've read of him, he sees nothing wrong with the income redistribution the left is always pushing. Obama is on record saying that he understands that lowering capital gains taxes ends up increasing tax revenue (a Reaganomics concept, by the way), but he plans on raising them anyway, out of "fairness". I haven't heard a reversal on that, so either Goolsbee agrees with him, or isn't paying attention to what Obama says. I think it's the former.

And just for the record, don't assume that because I don't like Obama that I'm a McCain fan, because I'm not. McCain is almost as much a leftist as Obama, but if the choice I have for a vote is between him and Obama, McCain is the lesser of the two evils. Either way this next election goes, we're still gonna have a rough ride the next few years.
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This is actually a half baked report from Karen T.
Democrats' strength this campaign has been the internet. It's not Obama's figuring out how important it is or how to maximize it's utility that has lead to his phenomenal fund raising.
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"You’d have to be crazy to vote Republican after the last 8 years."

Because ALL Republicans are the same?

I guess under that type of thinking all Democrats cheat on their wives and have sexual relations on the job and lie under oath.

Of course I'd never make such an absurd statement.

This country will stay at a standstill until the political party zealots (Left and Right) stop with their dividing the country in half by demonizing anyone that simply doesn't belong to that particular person's party.

That is what I'd love to do away with the same Lame two party system we've had.

I know some political zealots that would rather see America fail under the "other guys side's" leadership than for it to prosper under it. It should be what is best for the country as a whole, working together no matter what "side" you are on. After all both sides have about the equal amount of losers. Politicians are Politicians. If you think of Clinton OR Bush as a hero then you haven't been paying attention. We need better options. The two we have now stink.
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Now he doesn't need to pretend niceness anymore:

I could say "Told you so"... but we shall wait and see
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