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ChatChat - Claudia Cragg

Oct 19, 2010

David Plouffe, author of 'Audacity To Win' (Penguin) is the American political strategist best known as the chief campaign manager for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign in the United States. A long-time Democratic Party campaign consultant, he is a partner with David Axelrod at the party-aligned campaign consulting firm AKP&D Message and Media, which he joined in 2000. "Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory, has recently come out in paperback and in this interview Plouffe discusses the management strategies that he used in the 2008 campaign. He initally issued a video challenge for Obama supporters to buy a copy of his book on December 8, 2009 in order to "Beat Sarah Palin" and her best-selling book for one day.

Plouffe, who talks here with Claudia Cragg, is credited with the campaign's successful overall strategy in the race (primarily against Senator Hillary Clinton) for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, to focus on the first caucus in Iowa and on maximizing the number of pledged delegates, as opposed to focusing on states with primaries and the overall popular vote. He is also credited by The New Republic for Obama's success in the Iowa caucus and for crafting an overall strategy to prolong the primary past Super Tuesday. The Chicago Tribune writes, "Plouffe was the mastermind behind a winning strategy that looked well past Super Tuesday's contests on Feb. 5 and placed value on large and small states." Plouffe also maintained discipline over communications in the campaign, including controlling leaks and releasing information about the campaign on its terms. Averse to publicity himself, Plouffe's control over the internal workings of the Obama campaign successfully avoided the publicly aired squabbles that frequently trouble other campaigns.

In May, 2008, David Axelrod praised Plouffe, stating he had "done the most magnificent job of managing a campaign that I've seen in my life of watching presidential politics. To start something like this from scratch and build what we have built was a truly remarkable thing." After winning the election on November 4, Obama credited Plouffe in his acceptance speech, calling him "the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the . . . best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America.

Plouffe is currently working as an outside senior adviser to the Obama administration. He also signed with the Washington Speakers Bureau to give paid speeches and plans to engage in non-government consulting work. In May 2009, Plouffe delivered the Convocation address at Cornell University. In January, President Obama asked Plouffe to “give some extra time” to focus on the mid-term Congressional elections in November 2010.

(Apart from being made universally available, free, in this podcast, many of these interviews are conducted for and are broadcast on KGNU Denver-Boulder. This is a public radio station, like all public radio stations in these hard economic times, in need of listener funding and support. Kindly consider making a donation to KGNU, however small, to the station (NOT to Claudia Cragg) to continue to make air broadcast  of this work possible).