Ploufee: Invesco a Part of Obama's State-by-State Effort

Just Think of It as Swing-State Event Marketing

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DENVER (AdAge.com) -- Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe isn't worried that Thursday night's Invesco Field event will play into John McCain's celebrity trap. And even if it does, it will be worth it for Mr. Plouffe's overall strategy of nailing down support in swing and Western states. While many are focusing on the visual trappings of the event, one of Mr. Plouffe's key concerns is the 20,000 to 25,000 Colorado voters attending the event -- people who've agreed to organize in the state for Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

Mr. Plouffe and campaign Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer spoke here in Denver at an event sponsored by Time magazine, where they revealed the campaign's laser-like focus on swing voters and a state-by-state ground organization.

"This is going to be a close election," said Mr. Plouffe, and "John McCain is a strong candidate." Therefore they're not concerning themselves with post-convention bumps and national polls. "We think about states," added Mr. Plouffe. And the Invesco field event was seen as a good way to make strong inroads in Colorado.

"There was no second-guessing ... it was absolutely the right thing to do," said Mr. Pfeiffer.

The duo seemed confident that despite the tight race, they're going to have a higher turnout than the Republicans in swing states, thanks in part to get-out-the-vote efforts and ground organizations in those states. They expect Hispanic, African-American and young voters will turn out in high numbers. But that's not enough, said Mr. Plouffe. In particular, African-American and younger voters will have to turn out in record numbers. Mr. Plouffe pointed out that two-thirds of those caucusing for Obama in Iowa had never caucused before.

They're also confident that, so far, the McCain team can't match them. "One thing we never run into is a John McCain field organization."

"They chase news cycles," he added. The Obama camp is spending its time and its considerable money talking to voters, said Mr. Plouffe.

They're also introducing Barack Obama to the substantial part of the population that typically doesn't get engaged in politics until well after the convention. That's one reason, he said, that the Obama campaign unleashed a raft of biography ads in swing states after he'd become the presumptive nominee, even in those states where they won.

Both men expressed respect for the McCain team and is assuming it will do at least as well as George W. Bush did in 2004. But Mr. Plouffe said the McCain team will have to do better than that. And while the Obama campaign has far more money than McCain does and they plan to try to outspend him, Mr. Pfeiffer pointed out that the Republican National Committee will bring its resources to help McCain.

They plan on hitting McCain hard on the economy and painting him as a continuation of the Bush administration.

"There's a lot of information about John McCain that voters need to know," said Mr. Plouffe.
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