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Plouffe speaks at DePauw

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

(Photo)
David Plouffe, President Obama's campaign manager, speaking at DePauw University on Monday, February 2nd, 2009 - Ubben Lecture in Kresge Auditorium.
David Plouffe, the man who managed President Barack Obama's campaign, summed up Obama's win in one statement at Monday night's installment of DePauw University's Timothy and Sharon Ubben Lecture Series.

"It was such a high mountain to climb," he said.

During his presentation titled "Leadership Lessons from a Presidential Campaign," Plouffe reminded the audience how much was working against Obama during the campaign.

"You cannot understand who he is, who we were as a campaign, without understanding how improbable all of this was," he said. "There has never been a bigger political upset in modern political history, maybe in all of political history. It's hard to reconcile that with now he's on the stage, he's been elected president, he's serving as our president -- but two years ago this seemed like something that would have the lowest of odds and a lot of things would have to happen right."

Plouffe opened by saying it was "Good to be in Indiana ... which is blue on that electoral map for the first time in far too long."

In the 2008 election, Obama became the first Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 to carry the Hoosier State. Plouffe said Indiana was "the state we wanted most."

Plouffe said Obama came at his campaign in "a very untraditional way." Obama's tack was to "put together a strict plan and stick to it," Plouffe said, which "made the pundits very unhappy.

"Voters rewarded that steadiness," Plouffe said. "(Obama) was the same person for two years. He had a set message and he was very clear about it."

Plouffe said voters seemed to appreciate the way Obama presented himself.

"People were ready to be dealt with as adults, without the same old snarky political tactics," he said.

Plouffe said Obama's presidential opponent John McCain's decision on Sept. 24, 2008, to suspend his campaign in order to work on the proposed U.S. financial system bailout before Congress may have been McCain's undoing.

"He was going to suspend his campaign and look like the patriot," he said. "But the American people want their president to be able to do more than one thing at a time. We knew people would see through that."

Plouffe said the Obama staff "tried to develop a culture in the campaign."

"We went in knowing we were going to do three things," Plouffe said. "We were going to run a grass roots campaign. We were going to trust each other. And we were going to have some fun."

Plouffe said there were mistakes made in the campaign, such as not focusing enough on the economy.

DePauw sophomore David R. Dietz, president of the university's College Democrats and a volunteer for the Obama campaign, introduced Plouffe to the audience of approximately 700 people.

"This election meant many things to many people." Dietz said. "It showed me that if people work together, they can accomplish anything."

Dietz called the Obama campaign "a well-oiled machine," and said "Some of the best political minds of our generation" worked on the campaign. In his estimation, Dietz said, Plouffe was "the unsung hero" of the Obama campaign.

Plouffe lauded the efforts of young voters.

"I think one of the reason younger voters gravitated to Obama -- some of it was generational -- was they thought he was not B.S.ing them. They thought he was being honest with them and understood the future of the country a little better than some of the other candidates. But I think they also got the sense that as a campaign we trusted them, we believed in them, that in many ways our futures and destiny were tied together."

Plouffe said he first began talking with Obama about a possible presidential run after the 2006 congressional elections. Plouffe has worked on numerous political campaigns since 1990, but the Obama campaign marked his first national campaign.

"People forget that two years ago (Obama) wasn't even announced for president," Plouffe said. "And two years before that, he had been a state senator in Illinois. And here he was going up against the strongest front-runner in our party's history in a time of war."

All the narrow odds never ruffled President Obama.

"From the rockiest moment in the campaign, he was the calmest person in the room," Plouffe said.

Plouffe arrived on DePauw's campus early in the day Monday and held a student forum moderated by professor of political science Bruce Stinebrickner and David Bohmer, director of the Eugene S. Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media. He then went to the Pulliam Center to participate in a news conference.


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i've got to go to one of those ear-eye doctors, cause i hear one thing and see another!

-- Posted by gottokno on Wed, Feb 4, 2009, at 10:06 AM

This missive cries out to be fisked as did this box car full of bunk from one of The One's lackeys.

1st - I would wonder which pundits were unhappy with The Messiah's strategy? Chris Matthews? Perhaps the harpies on the View? The ONLY people even remotely interested in what WASN'T being provided by the awestruck masses of the press, were those frequently bashed pundits at Fox......and the small niche of them on AM radio.

2nd - this "gentleman" claims Obama was the same man for two years. Riiiiight. I love his principled stands on things like wiretapping and the DC gun ban. And the fact that he got a pass on these and other issues where his resolve was as strident as tissue paper continues to illustrate that which I decried in point 1.

BTW, that message he stuck to for two years is now showing itself to be just more of the same BS that has come from DC for far too long. The left beat the "culture of corruption" drum long and hard to slip their way into Congressional control and lookie what we got for our trouble. More of the same old Washington and Chicago stooges......hell they can't even keep their own personal finances in order....who in their right mind would hand over the keys to the vault containing all our hard earned dollars?

And a PS onto that BTW, we were not at the precipice of the financial abyss two years ago when we handed the power of our legislative branch to the left. They can try to pin it on Bush, but anyone with a dime's worth of knowledge on civics knows who makes the law and who only signs it at the very end. And we ALL know that when one side is promising a whole truck load of freebies, the other side would be stupid beyond measure to not go along.......that is unless they had absolutely no interest in getting elected.

Lastly, I am certainly glad to see that the continuing indoctrination of our youth carries on at DePauw (without the left from their unassailable ivory towers in achedemia and dolts like John Stewart feeding our children crap of the highest order, there may have very likely been a different outcome Nov 4) and that my children will NEVER darken their doors.

You folks are just beginning to reap what you've sown. Were it not my country at stake, I wouldn't mind watching you go down in flames.

-- Posted by Catie's Dad on Wed, Feb 4, 2009, at 11:25 AM

Wow, I detect some hatred. I thought those days were behind us.

-- Posted by Xgamer on Thu, Feb 5, 2009, at 7:12 AM

If you have something to say Xgamer....spit it out.

I don't hate anyone involved. I deplore their actions.

Perhaps instead of snarky BS, you could point to anything I have stated that deviates from the facts in evidence?

-- Posted by Catie's Dad on Thu, Feb 5, 2009, at 7:38 AM

We should all be grateful that we have a president who is attempting to work across the aisle with the other party in order to come up with solutions to the vexing problems we face. Catie's Dad and Smaller Gov are still in the old school: sitting back and firing spit balls, clinging to their vitriol and adding nothing substantive to the dialogue. Perhaps they are taking their cues from Rush Limbaugh, who, in a recent poll, was found to have an approval rating of 21%. I am proud to support my president and both parties in Congress as they shape policy for the good of us all. Thank Heaven that America, and Indiana have, at long last, gone red, white and BLUE!!!

-- Posted by louisvilleslugger on Thu, Feb 5, 2009, at 7:51 AM

Regarding the "continuing indoctrination of our youth" vis a vis DePauw University. It didn't take me long to google the Ubben Lecture series at DePauw. Here are just a few of the speakers that DePauw has brought in to lecture its fine students:

Richard Lugar, Robert Gates, David Gergen, Barbara Bush, Colin Powell, Lynne Cheney, William Bennett (twice), Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. I would venture to say that these leaders were not in on the conspiracy to feed our children anything but the best information and most inspiring ideas that they could articulate.

-- Posted by sneakers on Thu, Feb 5, 2009, at 8:20 AM

""You folks are just beginning to reap what you've sown. Were it not my country at stake, I wouldn't mind watching you go down in flames.""

You are so right Catie's Dad. How could I not feel the love in your comments? Maybe other bloggers comments catapulted my snarky(?) BS.

David Plouffe had it easy compared to Karl Rove. Getting Obama elected at a time we are in was like shooting fish in a barrel. Imagine how hard it was for Rove to convince a nation to vote for "Dubya" twice! It's not easy to exploit the Republican party and the greatest nation on the planet. Invite Rove to speak about that. David Plouffe, ha,,, rookie.

-- Posted by Xgamer on Thu, Feb 5, 2009, at 9:06 PM

"no one is allowed to disagree with the annointed one, for he shall save us all!!!"

Interesting that you should call Obama "the anointed one", when, unlike Palin, and unlike McCain, Obama is actually the "elected one". And talk about anointed: your hero, Bush, had to be named president by the Supreme Court, when they ordered the vote counting stopped in Florida, and he failed his first time to even get the majority of voters to cast a vote for him. Sorry,but this guy, Obama,is the ELECTED ONE. Our great political process saw to that, and it wasn't particularly close either. But I can tell you have been drinking the Limbaugh Koolaid. Interesting how people will present themselves as open minded and claim that they think for themselves but then you hear them parrot their great saviors like Rush and Sean Hannity: I believe it was one of them, not you, who coined the name "anointed one". One final thought: you claim that John Stewart is partially responsible for getting Obama elected. Stewart and Rush are both satirists and comedians, or entertainers. If you are correct in assuming that Stewart's jokes put Obama over the top, I ask you: Is it possible that in addition to having better ideas for the country, the Left is funnier?

-- Posted by sneakers on Fri, Feb 6, 2009, at 7:57 AM

The nation will never be united so long as one group (taxpayers) is exploited for the benefit of another (those with their collective hand out). So long as the voice of one group (Americans), is closed out by another (Statists) we will live to see an end to Liberty.

Read your history. This story has been told before. Try 1929 Europe, the parallels are inescapable. The tactics are identical.

This is no longer Democrat and Republican. This is about loosing our country. Does anyone reasonably believe that McCain would be any different?

-- Posted by VonMises on Fri, Feb 6, 2009, at 11:36 AM

First......I cannot listen to Rush, Hannity, AirAmerica, or any of the others. I catch a bit of the news on 93.1 in the morning on the way in but really just for accident traffic avoidance.....but mostly it is mix CD's my wife and kids make for me for the worship music I play at church or I simply talk with my wife. So your strawman has now been toppled.

Second.....Were I to listen to anyone it would do little to influence my judgment......I have been thinking for myself for nearly 35 years now and really dislike ANYONE telling what to do or think.....ESPECIALLY the cornucopia of miscreants and thieves in Washington. Strawman two DOA.

Third.........as far as past speakers at DePauw.....I didn't speak of them. I simply contend with the current crop, this money grubber (nice book deal in the midst of a financial calamity huh?) and the virulent racist Cornell West, I thank the Lord above that my children will not attend DePauw.

An BTW, if you are looking for folks with solid conservative cred to tout as participants in this series that somehow offset those of the left....you may want to try a bit harder than Dick Luger, Colin Powell or David Gergen.

And yes, the students at DePauw are fine young men and women. Never said any different.

Also, that 2x for W still stings I see X. Maybe you might finally find solace that he is gone and can never serve as President again. But then again that's a pretty rational approach.

Oh and a bit more for sneakers..............

You might want to turn off Keith Obermann and read a book or newspaper. While the SCOTUS did halt the illegal way in which the Liberal Fla SC had directed the recount done......4 or 5 independent sources have finished it and guess what....Bush won all those too. So before you crow too much about selected and elected you might want to bone up a bit on your history. Stubborn thing those facts.

And I'm sure even Keith will tell you that Palin was elected Governor of Alaska as well as Mayor of her home town. And John McCain was sent to the Senate by the voters of Arizona. Perhaps it isn't just history you need a refresher in but civics too??

Not close eh? Were all you state true and the Republicans the sole source for all the ills of America in particular and the world in general The Obamessiah should have won in a landslide. He wasn't asked a tough question in 2 years and the love affair the media had with him bordered on spooky or nauseating. Or both. You want to point to a good ole Louisiana butt whippin'?? Ask Wally Mondale what Reagan did to him. He got 3 EV. THREE. He only got three more than me that year and I didn't even run.

That there is an EPIC beat down. 52%.....really.....and with all that the groups like ACORN did.....I am shocked it wasn't a whole lot worse. As should you be. And if Bush had no mandate as the left has decried for 8 years......Obamessiah does either. His "I won" attitude certainly paints an awfully post-partisan picture doesn't it?

BTW, McCain was hardly my guy but I did pull for him in an attempt to stave off what you people are clamoring for in full throat.

You asked if the left is funnier......hardly. I think the adjective you are searching for is dumber.

-- Posted by Catie's Dad on Fri, Feb 6, 2009, at 3:08 PM

after all is said and done, you can roll poo in sugar but it's still po!

-- Posted by gottokno on Fri, Feb 6, 2009, at 7:04 PM

Not sure of the hole cabneit? I am worried.

-- Posted by tjchopper on Fri, Feb 13, 2009, at 9:22 AM


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