Obama on the hunt

Charlie Burr

It's been a good week for Barack Obama.

Thursday saw a rally in Hillary Clinton's backyard with more than 24,000 people attending, the largest this year by far.  Yesterday, Newsweek reported that Obama's organizing in the early states is gaining traction with Obama now leading in Iowa, and outpolling Clinton by eight points when first and second choices are factored into results.  And late last night, the campaign met their contribution targets of 500,000 individual donations from more than 350,000 donors. By any measure, the success of Obama's grass-roots driven fundraising respresents a stunning accomplishment. 

There are less than five hours left in this reporting period for the campaign.  I just gave Obama another contribution, and encourage others who want to see our best hope for a transformational politics join me here.  Now's the time to keep up the momentum: a dollar today is considerably more valuable to the campaign than after midnight.

The New York rally, grass-roots fundraising numbers, and lead in Iowa aren't the only important developments this week.

Obama skillfully counter-punched after the Clinton camp used the former President to raise the same doubts that Republicans raised about him fifteen years ago:

"I remember what was said years ago by a candidate running for President."  He said, “The same old experience is not relevant.  You can have the right kind of experience and the wrong kind of experience."

"Well that candidate was Bill Clinton.  And I think he was absolutely right."

Obama toughened his lines on why "playing the game in Washington" was detrimental, tying those who taut their beltway credentials to the deaths of thousands of American troops in iraq.

"There are those who say we they can play the game in washington. Well we shouldn't be playing a game when young men and women are dying in the battlefields of iraq," Obama told the crowd. "We don't need the kind of experience that leads people into war."

And Obama laid out a thoughtful civil rights agenda and plan to revamp our Justice Department:

But on top of the strong and lofty rhetoric that has become a trademark of Obama’s “hope” and “change” message, the Illinois senator used his forum today to present a list of policy proposals to tackle today’s civil rights shortcomings. His approach is five-pronged: (1) rid the Department of Justice of “political cronies” and instead staff the civil rights division with qualified attorneys; (2) create a voting rights division within the DOJ to track and prosecute voter fraud and intimidation; (3) recruit more qualified public defenders by providing college and law school loan compensation as incentives for new attorneys; (4) close the disparity between punishment for crack-cocaine and powder cocaine; and (5) review mandatory minimums, offering first-time, non-violent drug offenders the chance to serve their sentence in rehab instead of jail, when appropriate.

Also, he picked up an important, but under-the-radar, endorsement of the former chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, Gordon Fischer, aggressively courted by all major Democratic candidates:

"Like all Democrats, I am desperate to win the White House, and I am absolutely convinced that Sen. Obama is the candidate who has the best chance against any of the Republicans in the field," Fischer said.

Fischer went on to suggest front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York would be a less effective general election candidate, who would not do as much to help other Democrats down the ballot.

"It's not enough to just get Democrats out. You can't just sort of gin up your base," he said. "Senator Obama is clearly the best positioned candidate to bring along some independents and even some Republicans."

Four hours and twenty-eight minutes left.  Contribute here.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)

    Excellent summary Charlie!

    Barack is on a roll.

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    the best part is that he is leading or close in Iowa (depending on the poll), and hanging tough in NH. as Davoid Plouffe wrote, the primary is a sequential critter. do well in Iowa, you have momentum for NH. do well there, and the voters in the next states start to think you might be the one to vote for. conversely, fall short of expectations in the early going, and you're toast. we'll see. 2008 is not going to be a normal election year. the new primary format throws so many things into the unknown -- and we still don't know what the hell is going to happen with Florida.

    to me, more than any polls, is that Obama hit his funding goal of 350,000 donors -- a day early. his support is incredibly broad, and that indicates something unusual is going on. if it's enough to overcome Clinton's name, her husband and the MSM's decision that she's the Crown Princess; well, we have a long way to go. it's a big challenge, but we have a great candidate. (not to mention she also has to hold off a second excellent candidate in John Edwards.)

  • Big Barton (unverified)


    I realize that you did not base your argument that Obama is building grassroots support, particularly in swing states, on a single poll. But I still feel obligated to observe that the Newsweek poll you cite is almost meaningless given its margin of error among likely Democratic voters of +/-7%. Besides, factoring in both first and second choices is not a helpful metric in a first-past-the-post system.

  • Jim Nam (unverified)

    Hey Charlie,

    Thanks for your encouraging words, hardwork, and support in the northwest. We are doing everything we can out here to make sure we spread the message of hope and change.


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    Hey Jim--

    Keep up the good work out there, and congrats on getting Fischer on board. I'd love to come out there for the caucus, but am looking increasinly unlikely to make it out, unfortunately.

    Best of luck with the "Judgement and Experience" events.

  • (Show?)

    Big Barton--

    The poll demonstrates momentum in Iowa, and shows that the state's trending in the right direction for Obama. One candidate -- John Edwards -- basically never left after 2004 and the other top-polling candidate is a pretty known commodity after eight years as First Lady. It's Obama who is still introducing himself and has the greatest room to grow, which is what the poll is reflecting.

    <h2>Also, first and second choices actually do matter in Iowa. It's a caucus state, and folks get eliminated as the evening progresses. Second choices can determine the eventual winner. Plus, if one of the top three candidates starts to slip during the next few months, of course second choices are going to be important.</h2>

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