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ICYMI: Obama Campaign's Tech Tools of Persuasion Working "Incredibly Well," Says Campaign Manager Jim Messina

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, September 5 2012

Just in case you missed it, the Obama campaign's top campaign managers spent Tuesday morning boasting about their tech and field operations, with campaign manager Jim Messina saying that the campaign this time around is "light years" ahead of where it was in 2008.

"We're going to make 2008 on the ground look like 'Jurassic Park,' Messina told ABC News Anchor Diane Sawyer, who had asked him about the campaign's mobile app. The conversation was part of a panel discussion put on by ABC News and Yahoo News, and featured Messina, Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter, Press Secretary Ben LaBolt, Sawyer, ABC Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper and Yahoo News' White House Correspondent Olivier Knox.

The discussion ranged over many campaign topics, but three quarters of the way through Sawyer honed in on the ground game, referencing David Plouffe's coining of the term in 2008 of Obama's "persuasion army," and the 17 million people "reached online." (The Obama campaign's e-mail list was reported at the end of that campaign to include 13 million e-mails.) She also asked about the app "where you can identify Democrats in the room," and about the campaign's micro-targeting efforts, and whether the Obama campaign could really tell whether "swing voters drink more micro brew than other voters."

(Presumably, Sawyer was referencing the Obama campaign's mobile canvassing app, which was released late July.)

In answer to the question about the app, Messina said that it is "working incredibly well," but didn't provide much more detail. He also said: "We've already hit 150 percent more doors than we hit in 2008. We've registered 147 percent more voters than we did in 2008 at this time," and noted that the Obama campaign's field offices outnumber Romney's in the battleground states.

While the campaign's regular field-operations might be going well, a review by techPresident over the summer of how the roll-out of its Dashboard organizing software was going showed that not all of the campaign's volunteers are having an easy time adapting to the new system.

Messina dodged Sawyer's repeated questions about micro-targeting, merely saying: "Here's what's true: What is true is we're going to give our supporters innovative tactics like Dashboard; like a program they can go load their Facebook friends and we can tell them, of all of their friends what we know about them, and how to reach out to them in ways that no other campaign has ever done before."

Cutter, for her part, tried to dispel any notions that there might be an enthusiasm gap among younger voters this year. Campaign staffers and volunteers returning to college campuses are "organizing the hell out of those campuses," she told Sawyer.

The entire transcript of the event is here.