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September 2nd, 2008
04:03 PM ET

Obama's high-tech edge is changing politics

Leslie Sanchez
AC360° Contributor | Bio
Republican Strategist

In 1840, a young Whig organizer named Abraham Lincoln wrote the guidebook on political field work. His "confidential" circular advised Whig campaign operatives to "make a perfect list of all the voters and ascertain with certainty for whom they will vote."

Almost 170 years later, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign is demonstrating the wisdom of Lincoln's counsel.

Computers have long since replaced the 3 by 5 cards that for generations were the stock-in-trade of precinct captains in both political parties - green cards for voters who supported your candidate, red ones for those opposed and white cards for the undecided. Every campaign needed to persuade the white cards, get out the green cards on Election Day, and keep a close watch on turnout by the red cards.

Marrying creative marketing techniques with state-of-the-art technology, Obama has taken the voter identification process to lengths nobody could have anticipated just four years ago.

Read more...


Filed under: Barack Obama • Leslie Sanchez • Raw Politics
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. April

    Speaking of technology, I have great concern....Electronic voting machines have been proven to be capable of flipping votes without notice & failing to recognize selections. I want CNN to investigate why there is still no paper trail from electronic voting machines, will they be active in this next election & will every vote will count unlike the last two pres. elections.

    September 3, 2008 at 12:07 pm |
  2. KendraK

    Obama’s aggressive use of technology is just one sign of his natural ability to change things in a positive and productive manner.

    Obama rocks and I support him 100%!

    September 3, 2008 at 10:02 am |
  3. Neil

    Thank you Obama you are a breath of fresh air. By the way sarah palin is not qualified for even being a responsible mother far less president. Who are we kidding Barak or should I say Mr president you have this presidency in the bag.As a proud american I feel the republicans have turned this election into a complete embarassment. Good judgement Mccain Yeah right.

    September 3, 2008 at 2:52 am |
  4. nate

    Even with all of the technology Obama has at his command, he is still in a statistical dead heat with the future President of the US, John McCain. Why is this so? With all of the telepromters, internet, and expensive DNC convention, you would think he would have risen at least 12 points. Unfortunately, discerning voters see through Obama's smoke and mirrors. Obama can utilize all the technology that he wants. It won't make up for his lack of executive experience, far left liberal voting history, and pandering style of government. McCain is truly the best candidate for President.

    September 3, 2008 at 2:47 am |
  5. twiggy

    obama is a visionary; ready willing and able to serve his nation.

    September 3, 2008 at 2:16 am |
  6. Vikki

    You're right you have to admire the campaign he has run. Had others ran theirs as well, they might be nominee. Obama has definitely thought outside the box, to say otherwise is not being honest. That's separate from whom you want to see elected. Seems like someone that intelligent and aligns himself with very intelligent people would want that person in office to correct the mistakes of the current adminstration. But I guess some would say theirs is something to admire. My mom always says, if you have nothing good to say, then say nothing. I say, if you put negativity in the world, you reap negativity. I;ve read some pretty negative comments, and wonder what's to be reaped.

    September 2, 2008 at 11:18 pm |
  7. Annie Kate

    While the Obama campaign builds up its database of names and emails they need to moderate how many emails they send out to these folks. Most people don't like their email addresses stored away and used for "mass mailing" – its considered spam and the sender is generally considered an annoyance. So yes, the technology is great and can enable you to collect many more names than used to be possible but it has its dangers too especially on the question of When is "enough" too much?

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 2, 2008 at 10:59 pm |
  8. Barb

    Obama and the computer people.............what about all the seniors that never had the chance too learn computers.. the people that cant's afford computers , or the internet...........the under priveledged..Obama is so out of touch with the real world, people are starting too see Obama for what he is.............a star with no substance.
    The fact that he couldn t go to New Orleans for all the people that supported him .. we have world leaders that go too other country's under dire threats too their lives and this man uses a threat too his life as an excuse............why didn't his party let him use some of that money his party took from the people to pay for protection.........because he needs it too promote his star status. Does he plan too run the United States from his computer............lol

    September 2, 2008 at 9:22 pm |
  9. Robert

    I am from Illinois and have been for 50 yrs. I had never ever heard of Barry Hussein Obama until he decided to run for President let alone having a high tech edge, what a joke. CNN try to be less liberal ( I know its tough for you Socalists) but when you mention Palins husbands DUI 20 years ago please also mention Obamas cocaine and pot addiction from 20 years ago. When you question if a woman with 5 children is capable to be Vice President, ask Obama if he is capable to be President with a working wife and 2 children. How come we never hear the libs talk about Kennedy's alcohol abuse and killing Kopechne? Or the biggot pastor Barry attended his diatribe for 20 years, or the Dem party's association with a former KKK grand poobah? Barry's affiliation to a home grown terrorist? Why didn't you people come to Tim McVeys rescue since you support Mr. Ayres? And now you attack Palins child. At least she didn't cross over to your party of baby killers.

    September 2, 2008 at 9:15 pm |
  10. DougH

    Larry - Cite one poll that ever showed Obama loosing that seat at any point in the election to any of the opponents. Come on. He was the favorite from the start. No gimmicks required.

    September 2, 2008 at 8:58 pm |
  11. Texas Girl

    all im going to say is. No More Of The Same and Obama is about CHANGE. and that is what this country need, and I look forward to seeing him glide straight to the White House. Yes We Can

    September 2, 2008 at 8:47 pm |
  12. Larry

    We interrupt your online video game to bring an important message from your leader.

    September 2, 2008 at 8:33 pm |
  13. Larry

    Will we ever see obama again, or only on a google video?

    September 2, 2008 at 8:32 pm |
  14. Lisa Hollands

    I think it's great how Obama is sending out text messages & emails (to those who have signed up, myself included!); this – despite what one thinks of him – is really proof that he wants to make the "average American" a part of his campaign, and a part of history!

    September 2, 2008 at 8:24 pm |
  15. Michael J. Arch

    The republicans are also on-line so this complaint or what ever you want to " Label " it is a double edge sword .

    It is not just those on the computer who are " writing " about who they like the most . People are talking person to person out in the community . Obama is very well organized so I can see the same kind of proper leadership in the White House from his administration ...

    September 2, 2008 at 8:09 pm |
  16. Larry

    Lest we forget how Obama 'won' that Illinois senate seat; not thru a moral high-ground 'I'm a better candidate', but by using a legal loophole in which names were to be cursive. That shows he is more interested in winning than in doing the right thing.

    September 2, 2008 at 8:04 pm |
  17. Pat M

    I guess that's why so many Luv Obama. He's not only an Orator, he's a High Tech Savy Politician, a Compassionate man, a fighter for the less fortunate and the middle class, an Ivy League Graduate, Ranked 9th in the country, a Magna Cum Laude, Harvard Law School Graduate, eight years in the Illinois state Senate, Elected to the United States Senate and an amazing Campaign Organizer!

    The smart guys always come in first.

    September 2, 2008 at 6:03 pm |
  18. Chris

    It's called forward thinking–this use of technology. It is also creative and brings the voting solicitation process to an entirely new level.

    September 2, 2008 at 6:01 pm |
  19. Larry

    There is not a computer network system that cannot be hacked; ak the pentagon. Cybercrime is a reality. How do we know that the information supplied over the internet to obama's people is secure and cannot be accessed by hackers in other countries. How do the supporters of obama know that their info isn't being shared with other groups for profit? How do you think hackers steal identities? Where is the investigation by cnn on this topic?

    September 2, 2008 at 5:52 pm |
  20. Susan

    How dare the CNN Obama PR machine (formerly known as journalists) criticize Gov. Palin's governing experience and worship at the feet of Obama, who has done almost nothing but run for office for the last 5 years. She has governed 700,000 more people for two more years than Sen. Obama has ever governed. And while she lacks foreign policy experience, so does every governor we've elected. And so does he, unless you call his recent posing with foreign leaders "experience". She has shown more leadership, done more to change things, and managed a multibillion dollar budget. What has he accomplished in the last 5 years other than spending 4 of them running for office, first as a Senator, and then almost immediately for President. He hasn't done a his job in the Senate for two of the 3 years he's been a Senator. How dare he and other Obama supporters criticize her experience. And she's running for VP, not President.

    September 2, 2008 at 5:42 pm |
  21. Michele

    You may not like him, but he has run a helluva campaign! A++

    September 2, 2008 at 5:27 pm |