[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/27/dnc.unity.jpg caption="Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, addresses the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Tuesday."]John King | Bio
CNN Chief National Correspondent
Think of the convention as a family budget: over four days, you have to make tough decisions about how to allocate your resources – in this case balancing the competing needs of unifying the party, more thoroughly introducing Barack Obama, and making the case against Republican John McCain.
So far, there is a mix of "spending" on all three of those goals, but the amount of resources dedicated to unity is telling.
The Obama forces contend, probably with good reason, that those in the convention hall will leave Denver united. But with polls still showing a high percentage of Clinton voters either backing McCain or declaring themselves undecided, the Denver investment in unity is aimed at winning back those watching at home who wanted a different outcome here.
Top Obama aide David Plouffe says there are many reasons to be hopeful despite polls showing essentially a dead heat. "We have more room to grow," is Plouffe's take. By that, he means McCain has the support of most Republicans already locked up, and that in camp Obama's view most of the "available" voters out there are either Democrats still not at peace with Obama as their leader and, again in the Obama camp's view, Independents who side with Democrats on most of the big issues.
There is ample polling data to back Plouffe's take.
But those same polls show lingering doubt about Obama's values and experience to serve as commander in chief.
Given those challenges, Scott Reed, who managed Bob Dole's unsuccessful campaign in 1996, looks at the Democratic convention as the halfway mark and says: "they are spending a LOT of capital on unity."
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