Obama’s on Offense: Top Field Generals Dispatched To Florida

By Marc Ambinder

(The Atlantic) The Obama campaign’s top two field generals have decamped to Florida, a sign of its confidence that the state, with 27 electoral votes, is tilting toward the Democratic candidate.

Steve Hildebrand, the deputy campaign manager, will oversee operations from Miami, and Paul Tewes, the chief general election strategist, will help supervise the get-out-the-vote program from the campaign’s state headquarters in Tampa.

Tewes, the Obama campaign’s liaison with the Democratic National Committee, arrived today, a colleague said. Both will work with Obama state director Steve Schale, who has put together the biggest field team ever field by a party, Republican or Democratic. There are more than 60 open field offices and more than 100,000 active volunteers. In addition, the Obama campaign is outspending McCain on television in the expensive state by a factor of five to one, records show.

With an aircard, both Hildebrand and Tewes can do their jobs from anywhere, and they will continue to oversee the national operation. Their physical presence serves as a force multiplier effect, letting volunteers and canvassers know that the campaign considers their work vital.

Other senior staff members will be dispatched to other battleground states soon.

Analysis: Not A Defensive Move

Republicans will be tempted to consider the arrivals of Hildebrand and Tewes as a defensive move, but it is not — clearly — since George W. Bush won the state handily in 2004.  Republicans scoff at reports that the Democratic turnout machine is as big as advertised — supposedly more than 300 paid staffers supervise the efforts of the volunteers, but others concede that, in terms of sheer numbers, Obama is outworking McCain.

In some ways, Florida holds mythic attraction for some Obama staffers. Democratic activists everywhere still bear the wounds from the 2000 recount. Florida’s population grew faster than any other large state and then  the rate slowed dramatically as the economy halted. The state is now in a recession — its first in more than a decade. Demographically, Florida is like five states in one, and it’s growing more diverse. 12,000,000 residents are now registered to vote, up about one million from last cycle.

Younger Hispanics in South Florida are casting their ballots for Democrats; young professionals along the I-4 corridor, while sharing conservative sensibilities, are hurting from the economic downturn and blame the President. The era of cheap land and cheap development is over; the crush of national resource competition is on, and not just around the Everglades. Jeb Bush, whose allure exceeded his party, is retired. Republicans are demoralized.

  1. Hank Wilfong said:

    “Senior advisers insist McCain is trying to be such a leader. They note that his daily speeches are devoted heavily to the economy, including taxes and health care, and that he’s been rolling out a series of prescriptions. They complain that McCain’s not getting credit for those and argues that the media holds McCain to a higher standard than Obama, who they contend is getting a free pass.”
    (AOL, 10/13/08)

    McCain cannot be what he is not. McCain has gotta be what he is.

    Supporters say they do not want him to appear as “a bitter old man”. McCain IS “a bitter old man”. They don’t want him to be “related to George Bush and his policies’. McCain IS “related to George Bush and his policies”. McCain IS what he is.

    McCain is a “deregulator”, and not a “regulator”. He favors laissez fair Government policy. He’s a free enterprise capitalist. That is not “bad”. But, it appears to be “out of favor” at the current time.

    McCain has voted on the side of “his President”, 90% of the time. That is not bad. But, it appears to be “out of favor” at the time.

    McCain is not a genius on Economic policy. He’s admitted as much. He’s shown his deficiencies in that area. Anyone who would conclude that this current economy is “sound”, is either from another planet, or does not know much about economic policy. They can write the speeches for him, but they cannot deliver them for him. And, they cannot fill in the holes in the logic that they represent, or misrepresent. See, what they represent, are “out of favor” at the current time.

    Bottom-line, if they had wanted a candidate who had all the prerequisites that they say they want John McCain to have-then they should have chosen another candidate. John McCain IS what he IS.

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