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Axelrod Previews a Seriously Upgraded Obama '12 Digital Operation

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, April 15 2011

Team Obama has plans in the works to raise the bar it set online in '08, reports Politico's Mike Allen:

President Barack Obama’s fledgling reelection campaign is building a volunteer network with the audacious goal of contacting every single person who voted for him in 2008, as part of a reinvented voter outreach that will be as focused on smart phones in 2012 as it was on text messages last time.

Strategists plan to customize videos and other messages for the iPhones and other mobile devices of targeted groups of voters. They also envision “virtual networks” among supporters’ friends and families, so that millions of people will feel a personal connection to the campaign.

Mobilizing millions of volunteers to reconnect with as many of Obama’s 69 million past supporters as is possible, along with raising money for a re-election fight that could cost as much as $1 billion, will be the major focus this year of the campaign now getting off the ground here. Obama himself will not begin extended barnstorming until 2012.

“We’re setting ambitious organizational goals for ourselves,” David Axelrod, the spiritual architect of both the past and present campaigns, said in an interview conducted above the clatter of Manny’s cafeteria, his hometown oasis. “The idea is to use new technology to pursue the old-style grassroots campaigning.”

Allen's piece goes on to talk of a "huge staff," and fare more sophisticated uses of things like Facebook and Twitter than we saw last time around. Getting that staff together for Obama '12 seems to be a work in progress. Despite noises from Chicago and DC over the last couple weeks of appointments in that field being imminent, we haven't heard any official news. And when you dive into it, what Axelrod's describing is rather generic commitments to upping the game when it comes to new media. But maybe it's saying something that he's getting on the phone with Mike Allen this early on to whet people's appetites for what this iteration of the Obama campaign is going to do when it comes to digital.