Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

I’m Damn Tired Of Bill Burton Who Should’ve Been Fired


I read this paragraph today, with a quote from Bill Burton, the Obama spokesman, to Fox News:

“The convention will offer a series of contrasts and comparisions of the McCain record so voters can see how clearly the choice will be in November,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton told FOX News. “The convention will also introduce Senator Obama to the country, but it will make sure to convey strongly the differences and choices Obama’s campaign presents over McCain’s.”

Wow. Mealy-mouthed explanation right there, Burton. That statement written in the passive voice puts me to sleep. How about this instead, Burton?

“The convention will show the truth behind McCain’s so-called “maverick” record, including all the flip-flops he’s given, especially on torture and off-shore drilling. Voters will know who’s the right person to vote for when they’re shown the truth,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton told FOX News. “The convention will tear down this caricature of Senator Obama that’s been painted by the media with the help of the McCain campaign. The differences between Obama’s campaign and McCain’s dishonorable campaign will be made clear to the voters.”

Obama really should rearrange his press shop, fire a couple of his people on his press team, and work on getting their damn messaging straight, from carrying one of Obama’s lines from the townhall throughout the surrogate appearances (whatever surrogate appearances there ARE) on the news shows, and into television ads for the rest of the week. Obama’s finally using the Phil Gramm story, but it’s kind of too late, given they made a single day’s newscycle usage out of it, and then dropped it for the rest of the summer until now.

Don’t trust the media to repeat the soundbite you want heard from Obama’s townhall. Force the surrogates you have on those shows to repeat the soundbite, and have that carried out in a television ad. 

Don’t be nice. Be mean. Bust the Republicans’ balls on this one—and ball-busting works in electoral politics, trust me. Just tear their lies apart by using the truth about McCain’s character and how that lies out into his policies.


August 20, 2008 - Posted by | Media Strategy, Uncategorized | , ,


  1. Slinkerwink–just want to say HEAR HEAR to your post. I’ve been frustrated with the lack of structure, message, surrogates, etc for MONTHS. I think the O team is focused more on the ground game…but, hey, I think they can do both…

    Comment by KC in TN | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  2. Wow, Slink! Once again, you are right on the mark! I don’t understand why a shake-up in the Obama Team is not happening! I too have been waiting. It’s not just that McCain has been gathering all of the momentum. It’s that the Obama Campaign is suspended or locked in slow motion–moving backwards! Sadly, if anyone does eventually get “fired” anywhere on that team put together by Plouffe, Axelrod & Company, it probably won’t happen until late October–if then!

    By the way, your “re-write” of Burton’s original milk toast drivel is amazing. When oh when will Team Obama hire you?!?

    Comment by Midwesterners | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  3. The celebrity ad could’ve been turned on its ear by recasting it as an attack on the people that came to support Senator Obama.

    “They called your cheers for a better future “silly.” Listen to those cheers–those are cheers for the future I support where we can have energy policy that’s independent from oil-producing sponsors of terrorism, more education funding for our schools, and national health care reform.

    McCain’s advisor, Phil Gramm, called you a nation of “whiners” for saying that you’re being hurt by high gas prices, high increases in your grocery budget, and utility bills at home. They’d rather make you lose faith in the ability to change this country for the better. That’s what McCain’s attack ad is about.

    Aren’t you tired of your hopes and dreams being attacked by Republicans like John McCain? I sure am. That’s why I’m running for President. I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message for Americans who believe in a better future than the one that’s given to them by Bush and McCain.”

    Comment by slinkerwink | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  4. AMEN.

    Comment by icebergslim | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  5. Slink: Please, the American people need you! Your “ad copy” is just as direct and as hard-hitting as McCain’s ads–which just about everybody (except for Team Obama) agrees are working!! How can we get your ideas and “scripts” like this one circulated? I read that Senator Obama DOES read various blogs on the Internet, including TPM. We need him to read yours!

    I do not know what I will do if McCain actually does win this election and we have yet four more years of Republican/Corporate decimation of our economy, environment and globe–like the instigation a of War with Iran, to give just one glimpse into the not-so-distant-future. For the sake of our planet, Slink, HOW can we get the Obama Campaign to pay attention to your suggestions?

    Comment by Midwesterners | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  6. There’s no employment page on the Obama website though 🙂 All I can do is continue to offer constructive criticism, hope like hell you guys will recommend my diary on that on Dailykos, so that it gets attention.

    Comment by slinkerwink | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  7. I myself have just learned how “to do” this “blogging thing!”
    I have spent most of my life being completely “technologically-challenged.” NEVERTHELESS, I definitely will recommend your diaries on Daily Kos, and wherever else I see them. It is the least I can do. Hopefully, the Powers That Be will read your words LONG before November 4th!

    Comment by Midwesterners | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  8. slinkerwink, I hope you realize there’s more you can do. Andrew Sullivan is sponsoring a contest for user-generated campaign ads; even if you don’t have the capability to create the video yourself, write the script, post it here and on DKos, and we’ll Digg the hell out of it until someone who does have video experience is willing to help you out.

    This applies more generally: If something about the campaign is bothering you, don’t just complain, do something about it. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

    Comment by gdh1 | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  9. Please tell me: How do we “Digg” an article when there is no “Digg” sign by/below it? I would love to “Digg” Slink’s diaries–both on Kos and here–but I didn’t think that it is possible other than to merely “recommend” them. Again, is there a way to do this when the word “Digg” does not appear on the screen?

    Also, Slink, I’m sure you, of all people, are aware of Robert Greenwald’s amazing films from Brave New Television. I have never understood from the git-go why the Obama Campaign did not hire & use Greenwald’s staff from the very beginning. Their work is amazing, yet it seems that the only people who see their films are those that actively look at You Tube–in other words, a small percentage of the electorate compared to the large percentage of people who get all their information from the MSM.

    Nevertheless, is there any way that Slink could get “hooked up” with Robert Greenwald’s production company and hope that the Obama Campaign will finally see the light?

    Comment by Midwesterners | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  10. While I agree with Greg’s point about doing something about it, I also agree with Slink’s over-all sentiment.

    Here’s an example: at the townhall meeting a couple weeks ago, Obama mocked McCain over the tire guage thing, saying he was lying about it being Obama’s only energy policy and then going on to say, “It’s like they take pride in being ignorant.” Great line.

    And that was it. No one repeated it. No one even went on the air to call the GOP out for lying that it was Obama’s only energy policy. No press release repeated the talking point. Nothing.

    Since then? The GOP has gone right back to mocking Obama for having an energy policy that calls for “inflating tires.”

    Comment by dansac | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  11. As an Obama supporter, I’m concerned that the campaign doesn’t seem to be prepared for what’s really happening.

    “Campaign Warfare: how the GOP belittles it’s opponents” from the DAOU Report yesterday (8/19)hits on Obama’s vulnerability.

    “How McCain could damage Obama in debates” from the Huggington Post.

    Comment by SharonAustinTX | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  12. Been lurking and reading at dkos for a while.

    In my view, as a somewhat detached and non-partisan observer from the UK, dansac and slinkerwink are amongst the very few there who have valid insights and genuine concerns about how this campaign is unfolding, particularly in its messaging and advertising.

    The ads in particular have been profoundly uncreative, forgettable and visually-stale, timidly failing to generate any buzz and public interest whatsoever. They fail to cut through the grease of the media chatter and seem bereft of punch, novelty and clarity, in my opinion.

    And what really stands out from over here, is the lip service by the Obama campaign to giving as good as they get, yet consistently failing to drive the agenda and hammer home a consistent message.

    And what bugs me is how debate is constantly being shut down by people labelling you as trolls. But your views are being read, maybe not by the right people, but I’m with you completely.

    Comment by UKAnon | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  13. Thank you UKAnon. Really.

    Comment by dansac | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  14. Obama campaign and supporters need to read “Why people should be worried about the polls” on the website. If you’ve not been to this site, it was voted by PC Magazine as one of the best new websites on the internet.

    An excerpt from the article:

    “While some here think everything is going just fine, and that Obama has a secret plan lying in wait, I ask you to think back a year ago. Imagine if someone had told you that the most charismatic Democratic speaker in a decade would be in a dead-heat with a Republican has-been corrupt waffler – you would have laughed in their face. After eight years of George Bush? No way, people are fed up – that’ll never happen.

    “Well, that’s the reality today. This race is a dead heat and is up for grabs both in the national polls as well as in key states like Ohio, Florida, Missouri, etc. Face reality folks – something isn’t working.

    “While some say ignore the polls at this stage, you can’t really do that. To be sure, some polls are worth looking at and some are worth ignoring. How do you tell the difference?”

    The author gives a thorough and credible analyses. A MUST READ.

    Obama/Clark ’08

    Comment by SharonAustinTX | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  15. Sorry, the website is No ‘s’.

    Comment by SharonAustinTX | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  16. Good post, slinkerwink —

    Yesterday morning, I went to 4 alarm panic about Team Obama — after the NewsHour, I went to 6 alarm freak out.

    As I see it, the fundamental problem is Obama and his team don’t understand what they are up against — they beat Hillary with their “plan,” but primary etiquette handcuffed the Clintons and prevented them from going nuclear. There are no such restraints in the general, and Team Obama doesn’t understand what’s hitting them.

    The Obama media response feels like a First World War artillery barrage — lots of shellfire, but very little impact. The McCain attacks push all of the psychological buttons they can find, and the entire effort is part of a coordinated campaign to undermine Obama’s credibility. In response, Obama tells the VFW how much he respects McCain, and how he will never besmirch an opponent’s patriotism. When I saw that on the NewsHour, my heart sank — Obama is giving away his moral authority, and doesn’t even realize it.

    It like this — McCain’s attacks on Obama are like the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; in response, Obama says how much he respects his attackers and their patriotism, and what the American People really want is to find the true meaning of the Aloha spirit.

    With all due respect, Senator Obama, you are mistaken — the American People will never vote for a President who won’t stand up and fight for himself. If you can’t defend yourself, how can you possibly defend the country?

    The will be plenty of time to find the true meaning of the Aloha spirit — after the election. Now is not the time — now is the time to FIGHT BACK. If you do not have what it takes to fight back, you will lose.

    The Team Obama Ground Game is a good thing — but unless a candidate achieves air superiority, there will be no ground game.

    Comment by -ck- | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  17. Slinkerwink,
    My first visit here to Strategy’08. Been seeing your, dansac’s et al post on DKOS for a long time and like your enthusiasm and views to stop ‘kitty cat footing around’ !
    I am totally with you on that strategy. As many have said, I hope yours and your compatriots views ‘get through’ somehow to Obama’s people!

    Best to you and the gang here at Stratey’08…

    I’ll be back… ;o)

    Comment by Dave K | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  18. Slink: I was ecstatic to read the notice from you and Dansac today over at the Daily Kos informing everybody that you two were finally going to attempt to set the real record straight by sending out talking points (or press releases) about the election–specifically about Senator Obama and his lying-double-talking-anything-but-a-Maverick-McSlimey-opponent.

    I think that one of the MOST important things to happen today (and perhaps throughout the entire election so far) was McSlime’s tacit support of the draft. WE MUST GET THIS INFORMATION out to young people immediately!! It is obvious that the MSM will try to bury this story like they do to everything that runs unfavorable to the Republicans. But this “story” is way too important for us to let the Republican Corporate Puppets (AKA: MSM) sweep under the rug.

    Obviously, the “easiest” place to disseminate this news is to college campuses–in hopes that it will metaphorically catch on fire! Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of young men aged 18 to 25 who do not go to college as well whom we somehow HAVE to reach!

    Is there anyway you two can write a talking point/press release on the very subject of McCain’s remarks on the Draft? I have been very concerned over the past months that when push-comes-to-shove on November 4th, the “youth vote” will not turn out in as great of numbers as we anticipate. Believe me, I have two college sons–and I know they will vote because THEY know that I will practically disown them if they don’t. However, most young people do not have their parents breathing down their necks about the election; consequently, they may not see the urgency about voting, or getting an absentee ballot, or changing their voter registration to another city/state until it is too late!

    HOWEVER, if young people all over the country actually were informed about McCain’s remarks concerning the draft, I think that the youth turnout for the election would be increased substantially!

    Thanks so much to you and Dansac for doing this for all of us!

    Comment by Midwesterners | August 21, 2008 | Reply

  19. Having worked in politics foralmost 30 years I find Bill Burton’s demeanor awful. Yes, he is there to turn you off to McCain and his running mate. But, give me a break, he turns an awful number of people off just with his gestures. It amazes me that someone in the Ombama campaign doesn’t send him to school for the meanings of gestures and how they come across including his mouth gestures. Give Bill Burton more time and Ombama is sure to lose the election!!!

    Comment by Peggy | September 2, 2008 | Reply

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