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Obama for America

"Obama 2012 Strategy Briefing" +
  6:14 web video from April 25, 2011.

Jim Messina, Campaign Manager: Hey everybody this is Jim Messina, President Obama's campaign manager in the 2012 campaign.  You know as the President does his day job, he needs all of us around the country to take the reins of this grassroots operation and build this together.  And as you have that conversation at the local levels through the "I'm in" campaign we have a set of shared beliefs and shared values that we'll use to bind us together and that we'll use to build this campaign.  So as we start I wanted to take a minute to give you our strategic framework for the campaign, and tell you where we think things are today and the challenges that are in front of us.

So let's go.  Here's how we're going to win.  Expand the electorate.  Build something new.  Grow the grassroots.  Measure our progress every single day.  And fight for every single vote.

[Click... How we win: Expand the electorate]  Look at the last election, for example.  [In] 2008 you all did this and changed American politics forever.  New people who signed up to vote for the first time ended up voting for the President by 38.69 to 31.  That made real differences in very close states across this country.  We've got to do that again in 2012. 

[Click... Keep the expanded map]  2004 election results.  Looks pretty red, doesn't it?  Looks pretty bleak after that.  A lot of us woke up the day after 2004 and thought to ourself, has the country gone away from us?

[Click... Keep the expanded map]  Now look at 2008.  Look at all the blue states.  In many ways it goes back to what we talked about earlier — a lot of new voters, a lot of first time voters; we persuaded a lot of people to come over to our side; we expanded the electorate.

[Click... Why 2012 will be different from 2008]  Why 2012's going to be different than 2008.  Let's talk about a little Supreme Court case called Citizens United.  You've all heard of this, but what it has done is fundamentally change the way campaigns are funded.  Outside GOP groups from fundraising, zero, almost zero dollars in 2008.  $70 million in 2010 when the Republicans took over the U.S. House of Representatives.  They've already announced $120 million campaign to defeat your President.  We have to compete with that, we have to understand it's going to be there, understand that what you all are going to build will be even stronger than that.

[Click... Why 2012 will be different from 2008]  This is not 2008.  We've got to assume every single day that we need to build something new, better, faster and sleeker.  Republicans are going to be fired up to take on President Obama, and so we all and all of you out there have to take the reins of this thing and really build it together.

[Click... How we win: Build something new]  [The] 2008 campaign was the most special thing a lot of us have ever been a part of.  But if we just run that same campaign, you know we stand a good chance of losing.  We've got to run a new campaign that's connected to the grassroots, that spends a lot of time talking to folks neighbor to neighbor, person to person, voter to voter.  Let's be very clear.  This campaign is only going to be as strong as the grassroots. 

[Messina on camera]  That's what the President believes, that's what the Vice President believes, it's what you all believe.  It's why 2008 was so special.  But in 2012 we have the opportunity to make 2008 look prehistoric.

[How we win: Build something new]  To do it at a bigger scale, to do it with new technologies, to do it at the grassroots, on the doors, on the phones, on your computers, a whole bunch of different ways and really reinvent this campaign.

[Click... Grassroots will build to the election]  Grassroots will run this campaign.  The first thing is to launch this.  The "I'm In" campaign is very much important.  All of you saying, Hey, I'm in, and having one-on-one conversations with your friends, your colleagues, your neighbors, people on your Twitter feeds, your Facebook, your email lists, and having a real conversation about what this campaign should be, what it looks like in Wisconsin, what it looks like in Iowa, what kind of issues should we talk about, what the President means to folks — I think that's very important. 

The second thing is listening and planning.  We're going to have a series of listening sessions across the states [on camera] where we just shut our mouths for a little bit and listen to our folks.  You all built this.  You all were the smartest, wisest campaign in American history in 2008; you have a lot to teach each other as we built this.  The next session will be planning.  We need to build a plan that works for 2011, and at the end of the year we'll go re-plan again, make sure we're ready, and go after it hard in 2012. [off camera]

And third is building the teams.  This is the thing you build last time that was unlike anything in American political history.  We need to build neighborhood teams.  We need to build teams online and offline that really combine to be the grassroots outreach arm for the President that he can't do.

And the fourth of course is contacting voters, having the discussions with them, persuading them that Barack Obama's the right thing.  those discussions aren't going to just be on the doors; they're going to be viral, they're going to be online, through text, many different ways that we're going to invent together in the next year.

[Click... How we win: Measure our progress]  This is the thing I'm passionate about.  This campaign has to be metric driven.  We're going to measure every single thing in this campaign.  You can hold us accountable; we can hold you accountable.  We're going to measure our door knocks, our phone calls, how many people sign up, our e-mail lists; we're going to measure everything.  I'm going to make people here measure political outreach calls.  We ought to measure, control and adapt everything.  If something's working, we're going to go do a bunch of it.  If it's not working, we're goig to go throw it out.
We ought to not be wed to any single thing that we've done before.  We ought to just measure, grow, and adapt.

[Click... How we win: Work for every vote]  Every single day when we wake up, we ought to [got to?] know that this campaign's going to be won or lost by a single vote in the precincts.  You know what you all built when you started out down 30 points in the polls in 2007 ought to be how we do this.  We ought to not act like an incumbent.  We ought to act like an insurgent campaign that wakes up every single day trying to get every single vote we can.  So every single day we got to go and scratch and claw for those votes.

[Click... What you can do now]  Let's talk about what you can do.  Go to BarackObama.com, go to Facebook, and sign up to be in on the campaign.  And ask all of your friends and family to do the same thing.  Donate $5 or 10 to help us get started.  We're going to have field offices and staff across the country, and to get that started we need your help.  Then take the conversation offline.  Talk to your friends, talk to your neighbors, talk to your colleagues [on camera] and start the conversation.  That's going to be the conversations that win this election, door to door, person to person, water cooler to water cooler.  Let's start this thing together to build the biggest grassroots campaign in American history.


Notes: In this video/PowerPoint presentation, campaign manager Jim Messina, speaking to supporters, sets out the need to run a "new, better, faster and sleeker" campaign in 2012; in fact he envisages building "the biggest grassroots campaign in American history."  "If we just run that same campaign [as in 2008], you know we stand a good chance of losing," he states.