Axelrod: "There are going to be no assholes in this campaign."

This is actually a pretty interesting article from Politico that gives a look inside the Obama campaign and the relationships among its members.

Here's the question that has been boggling minds this entire campaign:

How has the Obama campaign managed to maintain an island of comparative calm?

This question is asked in the face of the repeated shakeups within the Clinton campaign, a campaign that was supposed to be vastly superior to the Obama campaign.

The answer:

No Assholes

Now, the Obama Team probably has disagreements, anytime you get a bunch of highly qualified people together, they will clash on some issues. The key is to keep "in house" business out of the media, which is something that other campaigns have not be quite as successful at:

There are certainly disagreements and strains — Obama advisers acknowledge as much, without admitting the details — but rule No. 1 is no fratricidal behavior, which includes unauthorized disclosures to the media. Obama himself on Friday acknowledged the need for the campaign to continually “fine-tune itself.”

Of course, the article goes on to blame Mark Penn for Clinton's woes. I have a problem with this, and here's why. Who hired Penn? Who kept Penn on even when his strategy clearly wasn't working?

Strategist Mark Penn, a veteran of the toughest White House battles of the 1990s, was deeply unpopular and a divisive presence within the Clinton campaign. Obama strategist David Axelrod is the anti-Penn. In the midst of Penn’s demotion earlier this month, one Obama aide in Chicago remarked to his colleagues about the low-key and well-liked Axelrod: “Do you know how lucky we are that he is our Mark Penn?”

I'm guessing the Clinton campaign knew Penn was divisive when they hired him. That's what they WANTED because it apparently worked in the 90s. Unfortunately for Penn, he was blindsided by Obama and Axelrod who decided they wanted to run a campaign that was not based on tearing people apart, but instead on bringing people together.

Also, members of the O-Team were friends and colleagues before they jumped on the Train:

Unlike Clinton’s team, the Obama campaign did not start with pre-existing rivalries. Axelrod and campaign manager David Plouffe were business partners, while Plouffe and Robert Gibbs, the communications director, share season tickets to the Washington Nationals. The staff, many of whom left family and lives behind to work in Chicago, have only each other to rely on in a place far from home.

“We would go to a basketball or baseball game together if we weren’t doing this right now,” Gibbs said. “We are all both friends and colleagues, and I think that is important. We feel we are a cohesive type of unit, not a group of individuals.”

The thing that I, personally, find so impressive about the Obama campaign is the fact that it hasn't changed it's CORE message at all since he started. There was no shuffling of campaign themes to figure out what would and wouldn't work. They don't change the theme with each new state and demographic. This to me also shows that they really believe in their premise that the country is not divided as our politics may suggest, and that people generally want the same things out of life. Obama's campaign, in my opinion, figured out what everyone wanted, and that's a sense of "hope."

And let's not forget the great David Plouffe:

Bad stories annoy Plouffe, but they don’t affect strategy or goals, aides said.

In Plouffe’s world, there should be only intentional leaks, and disputes must be dealt with in-house. Aides say that, from the beginning, the campaign declined to confirm even routine stories by Washington standards, such as personnel moves, because they wanted to release information on their terms — and have prided themselves on following the edict ever since.

Plouffe barely hid his disdain for the individual who stepped out of line when he disputed a Washington Post report last week quoting a Democratic strategist “familiar with the Obama campaign” who said “aides are likely to turn to the controversies” of the Clinton years to hasten an end to the nomination fight.

“That was, I think, an unnamed strategist claiming to have some relationship with us,” Plouffe said on a conference call with reporters. “I can assure [that] whoever was, in an act of puffery, suggesting they had some knowledge of what we're doing, is incorrect.”

Yep, so Obama is not only the coolest candidate, but he has the coolest campaign. They don't melt down at the smallest misstep or "negative press" or anything really.

Less than 24 hours after Pennsylvania voters dealt Obama a sound defeat, Gibbs dismissed any suggestion that a fresh wave of critical analysis would take a toll on the campaign.

“I don’t think so,” Gibbs said, eating mashed potatoes in the lobby of an Indiana University Southeast building, where his candidate just held an event. “I’m sure it is easier to sit elsewhere and say ‘I would do this differently.’ But we feel confident in the plan and we are still ahead, so it is hard to quibble.”

Now, personally, I'm really sensitive about anything said about the Obama campaign because I feel like it's MY campaign, and I'd wager I'm not alone. It's really hard not to freak out about every little thing. One thing I've noticed is that America is already looking to Barack to lead, whether the traditional media wants to admit it or not.

That's why every little thing he does is under such scrutiny.

That's why every time someone does or says something stupid people say "well Obama should give a major speech on this" (personally, I don't want to hear anymore major speeches until he's accepting the nomination in August).

People, I think, really are tired of focusing on the NEGATIVES and want to see the POSITIVES. People want the leader that calls to their "better angels" instead of our evil sides.

Looking at the campaign staff he's put together, I'm excited to see his cabinet who I'm sure will also be full of people that know how to disagree without being disagreeable, and focus on the goals at hand rather than all of the distractions that can divert attention from the real issues.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, if people really were paying attention to these campaigns it would be no contest. Hillary says she wants people to look at it like a job interview, if that's the case she would not get the job. She's embellished her resume, lied to the interviewing panel, and her project (i.e., her campaign) has taken a candidate that was once inevitable and made her practically unelectable.

The Obama campaign has worked it's ASS off to be where it is right now, and that says a lot about a President Obama's leadership capabilities. He's getting things done while playing by the rules. So given the choices, if I were the final decision over who to "hire" it would definitely be Barack Obama. . .


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