Friday, February 29, 2008

"Best run campaign in American history" -- thanks to volunteers and the internet

Not sure if Mark White is referring to the campaign in Texas, or nationally. What is certain is that the spontaneous, grassroots support for Obama in Texas enabled his professional campaign staff to come in with an advantage, just as it did in Ohio.

Former Gov. Mark White of Texas:

"I'll tell you what. This is probably the best-run campaign in American history, and I've been involved in them since 1976 when I was (Texas) secretary of state," he added. "If this guy runs the country like he's run his campaign, we're all in for a happy surprise."
OR

The Wall Street Journal today:

Sen. Barack Obama's pivotal victories last month in Iowa and South Carolina over Sen. Hillary Clinton were engineered by professional staffers who worked those states for nearly a year. In Texas, the story has been a lot different. 1

His organization in the Lone Star State, which holds its potentially decisive presidential primary on Tuesday, has been "more like a baling wire and duct tape thing," says Mitch Stewart, who is running the campaign here. Mr. Stewart and the first dozen paid Obama staffers touched down in this capital city less than three weeks ago.

The uncharacteristic late start has left the Illinois senator relying to an unusual degree on the groundwork of volunteers such as Ian Davis. The 29-year-old Austin community organizer has been laboring for months with no guidance at all from Obama headquarters. When Sen. Obama's team finally arrived, Mr. Davis handed over laundry baskets stuffed with 20,000 handwritten names of potential volunteers, which Mr. Davis had gathered on his own.

"At the end of the day," Mr. Stewart says, it will be people like Ian Davis "who win this thing."
Of course, internet tools for organizing also played a fundamental role:
As the voting in Iowa and New Hampshire approached, Mr. Davis and thousands of other Texans took advantage of a powerful tool available on the Obama campaign's national Web site, MyBarackObama.com. The system, developed in-house and modeled after an effort created in 2004 by the liberal political action group MoveOn.org, gives campaign volunteers unsupervised access to names and phones numbers of potential supporters nationwide, which campaigns usually treat as proprietary information.

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