MEMO from Obama for America

TO:                 Interested Parties
FROM:           David Plouffe
DATE:            January 28, 2008
RE:                 State of the Race Post South Carolina

After four contests, Barack Obama has earned the most delegates – a fifteen pledged delegate lead over Senator Clinton – and a clear lead in total vote casts from the four early caucuses and primaries.

The South Carolina result was particularly striking because of the breadth of the win. Obama won every income group, carried all but two counties, and did well in every age category. Once again, Obama’s message of change and his ability to bring new people into the process helped produce record turnout in the fourth consecutive contest.

We are well situated for the 22 states and American Samoa on February 5.  We have staff in all 22 states – in some cases dating back to September. We are advertising in most of the states with mores states to be added this week, and have a vigorous mail program.

We believe our voter contact efforts dwarf those of the Clinton operation – in every state, every day; we are methodically building support and volunteer capacity.  All the campaigns had large staffs in the first four states.  That won’t be replicated in all 22 states on February 5th.  As a result, the campaign with the strongest grassroots volunteer presence enjoys an important organizational advantage. The Clinton campaign is utilizing a large volume of impersonal voter contact – robocalls and paid ID calls – but we do not see the kind of intensive precinct, town and Congressional District-based organization that we have built in all of the states.

Our goal on February 5 is quite simple – amass as many delegates as we can and in that process put some state wins on the board.  Because of the sheer number and the diversity of the contests on February 5, we do not believe there are or should be “bellwether” states.  The Clinton campaign has already begun to signal that they will cherry pick some states to demonstrate success, but as the Clinton campaign often says, (except when it is talking about success in Florida and Michigan) “This is a race for delegates.”  At some point early in the morning of February 6th there will be a black and white evaluation of how each of us has done.  The whole picture will tell the story.

We believe we are in a strong position in many states right now.  Yet, even in states where Senator Clinton enjoys a lead, in most cases she is far below an eventual “win” number, not to mention that we are starting to see some of her soft support being shed as voters in these states really start to engage in the decision in front of them – a dynamic we saw play out in the early states.

We believe that it is unlikely that this contest will be decided on February 5th; therefore we are also organizing and planning for the rest of the February states.  We have or will have staff in all nine of those states by mid-week.  In the post-February 5 caucus states we have been engaged in intensive voter contact and organization building for some time. We believe these states offer real opportunity for Senator Obama and believe if February 5 is roughly a split verdict, we can win the majority of the states and delegates over those next two weeks.

Our strong donor base provides us sustainability, allowing us to be financially competitive - if not superior – heading into the rest of February and March.  In he last two and half days, we have raised over $4 million online alone.

So while the Clinton campaign will likely wave shiny baubles in front of the media to try and divert their focus to certain states – or non-events like Florida – we will stay focused on doing as well as we can in each of the 22 states on February 5th and preparing for the nine states that come in rapid succession in those following two weeks.