Campaigning for President 2008: Strategy and Tactics, New Voices and New Techniques

Campaigning for President 2008: Strategy and Tactics, New Voices and New Techniques

Campaigning for President 2008: Strategy and Tactics, New Voices and New Techniques

Campaigning for President 2008: Strategy and Tactics, New Voices and New Techniques


In this important and timely volume, Dennis W. Johnson has assembled an outstanding team of political science and political journalism scholars and veteran campaign consultants to examine the most exciting presidential campaign in memory. Campaigning for President 2008 focuses on the strategies and tactics used by the presidential candidates, the new voices and new techniques used to generate support and persuade voters, and the activities of outside interests trying to influence the outcome. The experienced team of contributors explain how Obama triumphed in the primaries and how Clinton fell short; and how McCain came back from the politically dead. In this fascinating account, the authors examine the brilliant moves, the mistakes and miscalculations, and the tug of forces over which neither campaign had control.


The 2008 presidential election is the subject of this inaugural volume of the Graduate School of Political Management Series in Applied Politics. This volume focuses on the strategies and tactics of the presidential contenders, on the campaign teams and political consultants, and on the new techniques used to identify and reach citizens, and convince them to vote for their candidate.

The authors combine both academic and real-world experience in campaigns and elections, and seek to answer some basic questions about the presidential election. In the opening chapter, I set the 2008 campaign in context of past presidential campaigns and studies on electioneering. Was this marathon campaign, filled with interesting twists and turns, “an election like no other”?

The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 looks at the Democratic and Republican primary races. Tad Devine, longtime Democratic political consultant and former senior consultant to the 2004 Kerry for President campaign, examines the appeal and winning strategy of the Obama team during the primaries. Far behind Hillary Clinton when the candidates first announced, Obama ran a disciplined, strategy-driven campaign that outlasted and outsmarted his primary opponents. Ronald A. Faucheux, a veteran political consultant and statewide officeholder, analyzes the Clinton campaign, which was the clear frontrunner but faltered and eventually lost. Faucheux examines how her campaign misread the primaries. John McCain was the early frontrunner, then his campaign nearly fell apart, and finally came roaring back in the primaries. Tony Fabrizio, former senior consultant to the 1996 Robert Dole presidential campaign, looks at the rocky, but ultimately successful, McCain effort. Political media scholar and former Atlanta Journal-Constitution political reporter Albert L. May offers a case study of the first feeding frenzy of the digital age. He analyzes the Reverend Jeremiah Wright story, looking at the dynamics of solid news, rumormongering, and digital frenzy.

Part 2 focuses on new voices and new techniques in campaigning. Kathleen Barr, deputy director of Rock the Vote, writes about how her organization and others have sought out the sometimes elusive younger voters, who for many presidential election cycles have been less engaged than their elders. Political scientist Anthony Corrado, a leading scholar on campaign financing, and Molly . . .

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