November 5th, 2008
04:47 PM ET

Historic, but also textbook

Liz Chadderdon
Democratic Strategist

Yes, this was an historic election. But despite all the records broken and glass ceilings shattered, this campaign was textbook.

Whether you are running for President or City Council there are a few rules that always apply:

1.) The person who raises and spends the most money usually wins.

2.) The campaign that has the best ground operation usually wins.

3.) The campaign that stays on message despite all of the outside influences usually wins.

Barack Obama is an amazing orator and candidate, but he won because he out-raised, out-organized and out-messaged his opponent. Without these tactics it would not have mattered how many terrific speeches he gave.

Editor's Note: Liz Chadderdon is President of The Chadderdon Group.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Raw Politics
soundoff (27 Responses)

    President-Elect Obama did out spend Senator McCain because he had the support of so many that believed in him. The American people has suffered for eight years so the ones that "don't care" and "don't get it" can continue to suffer for your "four years". As for myself and millions of others who "get it" we are awaiting "our four years" with optimism and hope.

    November 6, 2008 at 11:32 am |
  2. Sonya

    This was a textbook campaign but you are under estimating the importance of Barack Obama the man. This couldn't have happened if it was any other person. You can't take a regular person off the street, apply those three rules and have that person win the election. Obama deserves credit. Period.

    November 6, 2008 at 10:45 am |
  3. JT

    Obama bought the election with money. There is got to be an ivestigation to find out where all this money came. ACORN registered people multiple times. I can smell slick operation.

    INVESTIGATION must start.

    November 6, 2008 at 1:32 am |
  4. J.V.Hodgson

    The appalling thing about this is the order of the items, The order should be reversed 3 to 1 and 1 to 3. But having said that the campaign for president should not be allowed to run including primaries for 21 months. 5 months primaries and 4months for the Presidential candidates and cap the spending, and all donations to the Parties even from 527"s whose ads should be vetted by Party committees as sufficiently true to allow airing.
    Money is the root of all evil.
    Finally, pass Federal Laws on voter registration methods and procedures and voting systems, and keep the National voting for candidiates Senate House simple without ancilliary matters on the vote ( gay rights) these can be handled by a separate vote paper or Screen.

    November 6, 2008 at 1:32 am |
  5. Susie

    I for the first time in my 40 some years have been touched to tears by this president elect. He inspires me and makes me believe that things can be better for tomorrow and that he will get it done, and he will strive to follow thru with his promises to the american people. What a proud day. I never thought I could be this inspired. Make it happen President Obama

    November 6, 2008 at 1:31 am |
  6. Donald

    Im 27 Years old from the Hamilton County area of Cincinnati Ohio. This was my first year voting for a presidential canindate. My reason for not voting in the past was that i didn't feel as fi it would really count after teh Bush-Gore Incident and so on. I decided to come out this time a cast a ballot and what do ya know, according to CNN it was my county that was credited with being a large reason for Obamas victory In Ohio. I think my faith in the democratic process has somewhat been restored. GOBAMA!!!!

    November 5, 2008 at 8:24 pm |
  7. Arachnae

    1.) The person who raises and spends the most money usually wins.

    The part you (and the people explaining away McCain's loss as Obama 'buying' the election) are missing is... not just anyone could have raised the amount of money Obama did, on millions of tiny donations from individuals. Both Hillary and McCain had exactly the same opportunity to mobilize and motivate their supporters and yet they failed to create the kind of funding juggernaut that Obama did.

    Obama didn't buy the election – his supporters bought it for him.

    November 5, 2008 at 8:20 pm |
  8. Larry

    How was the Mortgage and Wall Street collapse the fault of the Bush Administration; because the democrats said it was. Who has been in charge of congress for the past two years? When in this election cycle did the economic downturn occur?
    It was the same thing over and over from the democrats, McCain is another 4 years of George Bush, try to count how many times you heard that phrase and the he voted with Bush 99.9% of the time. You keep saying the same thing over and over and not offering anything of your own then eventually people believe what you say. Its what the nazis called the BIG LIE.

    Tell me one thing that obama accomplished as the state snator of Illinois that didn't involve his wife & David Axelrod.

    November 5, 2008 at 8:03 pm |
  9. Judy in AZ

    Ms Chadderdon points out exactly why Obama will bring the kind of talent we need domestically and internationally:

    1.) The person who raises and spends the most money usually wins. – In the past the Republicans have always outspent Dems, so why is this a major problem now? Sure it was a lot of money but let's think how this monetary skill may well bring something we need – imagination and success – to our national problems.

    2.) The campaign that has the best ground operation usually wins. – Well, gee, forgive me if I would like to think that the United States could and will have the "best ground operation" compared to our enemies and to lead our allies.

    3.) The campaign that stays on message despite all of the outside influences usually wins. – Well, duh....why shouldn't be glad to have a guy who can stay on message???? Seems a pretty good skill considering the problems we face domestically and internationally.

    Ms Chadderdon argues that: Barack Obama is an amazing orator and candidate, but he won because he out-raised, out-organized and out-messaged his opponent. Without these tactics it would not have mattered how many terrific speeches he gave. Well, gee, why shouldn't the United States have the best orator who can out-raise, out-organize and out-message his opponents? It could only be good for all of us Americans.

    Thanks you Ms Chadderdon, in your ignorance we can find wisdom.

    November 5, 2008 at 7:58 pm |
  10. Annie Kate

    The experience that President-elect Obama got from community organizing gave him an edge in his campaign in organizing the campaign, knowing the power of a good ground team local to the areas – the very experience we said wasn't experience that really meant anything was part of what won him the Presidency. A little ironic isn't it?

    I hope he will take us and our country to a better place for us all. Its a journey we all need to happen.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    November 5, 2008 at 7:53 pm |
  11. Angela

    This election showed that the Republican camp has lost a great deal of the young population. Palin was a poor choice, and McCain's campaign suffered greatly for this error.

    This election was won by the "common man/woman" , and the least educated sector of our population... hmmmm... Look at the demographics of the Obama voters. Makes you think...

    November 5, 2008 at 7:37 pm |
  12. jim

    Barack Hussein Obama won the presidency by out spending Mc Cain. He basically bought the presidency. Unfortunately, the American people have to suffer for 4 years before he can be thrown out of office.

    November 5, 2008 at 7:35 pm |
  13. Ron San Bruno Ca

    Thank you President Obama, for your Textbook Campaign .

    November 5, 2008 at 7:24 pm |
  14. lampe

    I know all who supported Obama, are very happy, and they should be. But, to keep making remarks about McCain\Palin, is not helping matters any. Did you not learn anything from Obama's speech last night? He talked to McCain\Palin supporters, and told them, that he understood their feelings, and that he was going to work just as hard for them. Now, you all can keep up the hate, or you can try and let the hurt feels go away on their own. Can you all honestly say, if Obama had lost, you would not be feeling miserable today?

    November 5, 2008 at 7:22 pm |
  15. Rich

    I checked out this blog to find out what was being said...I am not shocked (especially with you Mary V.). What I found in this election was a profound loss in a portion of the American people of thier respect for integrity, judgment and the importance of character (the rest were misled or allowed themselves to be). This all started when character issues arose with Clinton that were excused for political reasons and has culminated with the selection of a man that had personal associations that I cannot imagine most people would allow themselves to be in the same room with. I mean no disrespect to those who have decided not to critically think for themselves when it comes to our leaders. But it is true that McCain was not the answer either. The best this country has to offer will probably never venture into politics again. That is a shame. Additionally, journalism has been lost to politics and report only what they want you to hear. If you don't believe this now that this election is over, I challenge you to research deeply on Obamas' background from childhood to present. If you are not shocked and at least concerned then my earlier comments stand and this country has a painful future ahead...and I feel sorry for you and your family. I hope one day you see how wrong you have been. But, maybe I am wrong and I do pray that Obama succeeds for the sake of our country. Today he is my President to be but I will be holding my breath.

    November 5, 2008 at 7:06 pm |
  16. John H. Corona Ca.

    Agreed. Whether you voted for President Obama or not, you can't deny the fact that this is a great day to be an American. The people of this country have spoken and for the first time in our history, we are not German Americans or Mexican Americans, we are not African Americans, we are all just Americans. It brought a tear to my eye watching Jesse Jackson who marched so long to the beat of Martin Luther King's drum, realize that his words and "Dream" had come true. I'm not ignorant enough to believe that this is the end of racism and predjudice in this country, but it's one Hell of a start.

    November 5, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  17. Tom

    Obama won in my opinion because his campaign was a well oiled machine. All of his policy speeches were clearly explained and very intellectual. Also, the tone of all his speeches were exactly the right tone for the given time. McCain seemed like he was all over the place...very unpredictable man. You never knew exactly what he was going to come up with on any given day. Everyday a different attack. I also think Obama spent more time attacking the issues (as you should) and not attacking the person as McCain did.

    It seems like at the end of the campaign, McCain had turned into a traditional politician with his attacks and that is what cost him. I thkin we are in a new era where no one cares about how "slick" of a politician you are, but how real you are and their potential to execute decisions and policy.

    November 5, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  18. Cherise

    I work for a senator and these statements are so true. This year's elections were marred with an unprecedented amount of negative campaigning in our island district. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in our bid for a sixth consecutive term due to all of the above.

    November 5, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  19. sammi jr

    please lets stop reffering to president obama as the first african american president and just simply call him president obama of the united states of america , he is above all an american first, i'm very proud to see that my vote counted for the first time god bless america
    sammi jr

    November 5, 2008 at 6:09 pm |
  20. Charisse Van Horn

    I wonder if the textbook needs an update-
    Barack Obama's campaign also sent out more Emails, sent more text messages, had more You Tube Videos, and Facebooked more than McCains.

    November 5, 2008 at 6:01 pm |
  21. Frieda

    $600 million was spent to get the White House back. What's next $1 billion for the next election cycle.

    it's sad day in a way when no one cares that public financing is dead in America.

    I want to know if Obama had the same amount of money as McCain, could he have still won this? hmmm

    November 5, 2008 at 5:54 pm |
  22. Paula (Indiana)

    Well... I guess every bubble eventually gets burst by someone. So is this person saying McCain and Palin would have won if all things had been equal?

    November 5, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  23. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    True......... BUT........ the other factor in President-elect Obama's win, and a .....BIG WIN .......it is! Is that we, the People, clearly and decisively rejected the politics of lies, hate, fear and division of the Republican-far-right! The Karl Rove "playbook" FAILED. Thank GOD!

    Had McCain kept to the high-road, had he been the statesman rather than the attacker, he would have gained millions of Independents!

    Had McCain not made the poor decision to pick Palin, a woman with little experience in the World (yeah this counts!) and little education (this counts too) he may have had at least a good chance.

    But no, McCain choose to take the low road, to demean, lie, fear-monger and spew division. Clearly the vast majority of Americans rejected the vile campaign of his.

    Having supported McCain in his 2000 primary against Bush, I did not know "who" this "McCain" was, but I did not like the man!

    November 5, 2008 at 5:40 pm |
  24. javier

    I found it a bit odd when critics argued the fact that Obama spent so much money for his 30 minute ad. I learned in jr. high that the candidate that spends the most money usually wins. What is wrong with this or why was this even brought up by the Republicans? I think Republicans were bitter because Obama's campaign had more than enough support financially, politically, and nation-wide than McCain. The (poor) people have spoken. All because Bush left this country in ruins.

    November 5, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  25. Melissa, Los Angeles

    Obama won because he didn't get into the mud slinging that McCain promised he would not do.

    November 5, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  26. xtina, chicago IL

    Especially your No. 3 point. Obama said the same stuff over and over again. McCain grabbed at the various side issues such as Wm Ayers, so that his speeches were different every time. Barack repeated key points, didnt' really add stuff (except the working while on welfare clarification) . 56 million conservatives should be praying for Obama to succeed and wishing our new President well. If he will reach across the aisle as he promises and if he'll appoint conservatives to his cabinet as he promises, that will be good.

    November 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  27. alice iin texas

    Sorry but her comments are ignorant. It's not that neat and tight.
    What attracts us is the hope of change.
    You can have a lot of money and strategists and assume you know statistically what will happen. You are dismissing what happened.
    People have HOPE. We are so diverse and yet have a commonality. We actually have someone that isn't so tainted by politics/money and believes in the common man.
    We have a lot of rich people in this great country but we have so many more working people that haven't been stained by greed or gain and just want a part of the American Dream.

    Let me b employed and I will contribute to this great nation, as my family has always felt privileged to do.

    November 5, 2008 at 5:10 pm |