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The Rise of Barack Obama. Indecision 2008. Profile: Barack Obama. Age: 49 (Aug 4, 1961) Current Occupation: President of the United States Previous Occupation: Junior Senator for Illinois Years Served as Senator: 3 Party Affiliation: Democratic Party

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The Rise of Barack Obama

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profile barack obama
Profile: Barack Obama
  • Age: 49 (Aug 4, 1961)
  • Current Occupation: President of the United States
  • Previous Occupation: Junior Senator for Illinois
  • Years Served as Senator: 3
  • Party Affiliation: Democratic Party
  • Education: Occidental College; Colombia University (Political Science with International Relations BA); Harvard Law School (Juris Doctor)
  • Spouse: Michelle Obama
  • August 23 2008 – Obama chooses Biden as his running mate.
  • August 26 – Obama confirmed as Democratic Party Nominee.
  • September 26 – October 15 – Presidential Debates.
  • 4 November – Barack Obama becomes the President-elect of the United States of America.
how he won fundraising
How He Won - Fundraising
  • Obama’s campaign did not use Matching Funds which would have restricted his spending. He privately financed all of his campaign.
  • Using Matching Funds would have limited Obama to $84.1mn between the convention and polling day.
  • He raised more in the first quarter of 2008 than any other candidate ever. A total of $133,549,000.
  • Most of the donations to his party were small donations of up to $200. Another broken record.
  • His campaign made use of the internet as a primary source of fundraising.
  • Obama’s campaign also outspent the McCain campaign significantly due to Matching Funds
how he won dubya
How He Won – Dubya
  • By 2008 Bush had become one of the least popular Presidents in the history of the USA with approval ratings of about 27%.
  • The Obama campaign linked McCain to Bush whenever and wherever possible. E.g. During the first debate Obama mentioned Bush 21 times.
  • Obama highlighted his opposition to unpopular Bush era policies and decisions such as Iraq and the economy.
  • The Obama campaign also referenced figures from Congressional Quarterly showing McCain voting for 90% of all Bush’s bills between 2000 and 2007.
how he won hope change
How He Won – Hope & Change
  • Obama’s campaign focused on hope and change as its key themes. E.g. Iconic Obama poster with “Hope” beneath.
  • Obama linked McCain as “more of the same” whilst positioning himself as the candidate of “change”.
  • Obama’s rhetoric centred on bipartisanship in Congress and raising its approval ratings which garnered him more support than McCain.
  • Argued in favour of change as opposed to experience, the McCain argument.
how he won campaign
How He Won - Campaign
  • The Obama campaign was very well organised and made much more use of new media – the internet – than McCain’s campaign.
  • Obama’s campaign centred on bringing groups of many ethnicities, ideology and ages together through his nonpartisan approach.
  • The Obama campaign had so much money that it could advertise anywhere, everywhere and as many times as it liked.
  • Made reference to Biden’s experience in the Senate and Foreign Policy – Obama’s weakest policy area – whilst emphasising Palin’s inexperience in everything.
how he won palin effect
How He Won – Palin Effect
  • Centred media attention and campaigns on Palin’s inexperience and her “I can see Russia from my house” ideology.
  • Hypothetical fears of McCain becoming incapacitated during his term and Palin then stepping in scared voters.
  • Controversies surrounding Palin such as her daughter’s pregnancy seriously damaged McCain’s campaign and strengthened Obama’s.
  • During the VP debate Biden came across as the more statesman-like and better equipped candidate for the job.
how he won two term itch incumbency
How He Won – Two term Itch/Incumbency
  • Only twice since the Civil War has the electorate voted in a President from the same party as the President who has just completed two terms.
  • Last person to do the above was George H. W. Bush.
  • McCain not helped by George W. Bush’s unpopularity.
  • The Republican Party had left the US and the economy is dire straights. A record budget deficit and a seemingly unwinnable war did not play well for McCain.
  • Therefore chances of McCain succeeding were low.