Newsweek Touts Peek Inside Obama 'Juggernaut' in Chicago: 'Even Bigger, Even Smarter, Even More Surprising'
Newsweek's Andrew Romano was given two days inside Obama's re-election headquarters and came out with an article boasting (in the headline) "Team Obama has quietly built a juggernaut re-election machine in Chicago."
"While the GOP candidates have spent the last year parading and pirouetting on Fox News, the president’s team has been quietly, methodically channeling their worry back into the campaign—and creating something, I discovered in Chicago, that will be even bigger, even smarter, and even more surprising than their revolutionary 2008 operation," Romano oozed. He forwarded the spin of Obama chief Jim Messina (and Time’s Michael Crowley) that the GOP debates have been all downside for Obama’s "clumsy" challengers:
Without a primary war to wage, his staff has been able to dedicate the past 10 months exclusively to general-election preparations—a head start not only over 2008 (and previous incumbents) but over a bumper crop of clumsy Republicans who have been too distracted by 2011’s 13 televised debates to bother with old-fashioned chores such as fundraising or field organizing.
Romano doesn't skip over the idea that Obama faces an uphill climb, but he certainly wanted to reward the Obama campaign for granting him the access. "Out in Chicago, an army of brilliant worrywarts is slaving away to ensure that Obama won't lose the 2012 election because of organization or technology -- and thanks to them, he probably won't." Romano addresses the lack of "dreamy fervor" this time (without mentioning the multiple cover stories of dreamy fervor published by Newsweek):
The campaign recognizes, of course, that its new tone is unlikely to inspire the sort of dreamy fervor that first swept Obama into office. Asked about Occupy Wall Street, for example, a prominent Democrat familiar with Chicago’s thinking said he “hope[s] those folks are keyed in to the debate,” because it “would be a really profound mistake” to “assume these problems will be solved somehow outside the political system.” But keying them in (along with the rest of the 2008 coalition) won’t be easy. Which means that the unglamorous, behind-the-scenes grind of maximizing turnout and persuading voters to support the president, both online and off, will be even more important than it was four years ago. Messina says he’s ready. “Our efforts on the ground and on technology,” he promised me, “will make 2008 look prehistoric.”
From what I saw in Chicago, Messina is right to boast. In a dark, distant corner of the office, a team of more than a dozen developers sat on big, bouncy yoga balls, tapping away on the customized black keyboards they brought from home. Many of them had unusual facial hair, or unusual piercings, or both, which may be why I heard someone refer to them as “those guys who look like they’re Occupying the office.”
They're apparently the champions of new "micro-listening" efforts. Romano boasted of Obama's fundraising, which could raise a billion dollars:
Obama’s fundraising brigade hit the million-donor mark in six months flat, or twice as fast as last time around, with nearly half of the campaign’s cash now coming from donors giving less than $200—a much higher percentage than in 2008. Even the corner-office crowd is sticking with the president, at least for the moment: together with the Democratic Nation-al Committee, Obama raised $15.6 million from financial-sector workers through September, more than the entire Republican field. All told, Chicago and the DNC have raked in an estimated $190 million to $200 million to date, which is roughly quadruple Romney’s projected 2011 haul, and analysts expect the campaign could reach $1 billion by November.
Apparently, in all his talking with Messina, Romano missed that Messina called talk of a billion-dollar campaign "bull(bleep)."