All candidates can learn from Obama campaign's voter outreach success, Grayson says

12/03/2012 06:55 PM

Perhaps the most effective strategy for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign was the most basic of all: Knowing the voters.

Trey Grayson, director of the Harvard University Institute of Politics and former Kentucky secretary of state, said his biggest takeaway from last Thursday’s “2012 Campaign Decision Making” conference at Harvard was that the Obama campaign’s network so thoroughly penetrated communities.

Grayson recounted how Jeremy Bird, field director for the Obama campaign, explained that one local coordinator in Ohio had been establishing and bolstering contacts in her community for the last five years while her counterpart for Mitt Romney’s campaign had arrived just a few months before the election from out-of-state. (Bird actually hinted at this during his remarks to Kentucky Democrats at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.)

Thursday’s conference, which attracted some of the biggest names among political reporters and campaign strategists from all the presidential campaigns, lifted the veil on some of the inside strategies used in 2012. Here’s the Pure Politics interview on Monday with Grayson about it:

The event was open to the press. But under the ground rules, they couldn’t write about anything said in the sessions until the Institute of Politics released its official transcripts, which it did Monday at noon.

You can see the highlights and listen to the audio: here.

Still, Buzzfeed’s Zeke Miller talked with some of the attendees and participants — which was fair game — and reported that Republicans viewed the session with Democratic strategists like David Axelrod as “going to school.”

Miller later posted a follow-up with eight new insights about the presidential race learned at the event.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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