Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

To capture Florida, Barack Obama thinks, acts, spends big

Al Gore lost Florida by 537 votes in 2000, and John Kerry by 281,000 in 2004. The Barack Obama strategy to win Florida in 2008 is pretty basic and relies on big spending and big enthusiasm among supporters:

1. A massive voter mobilization effort to register and turn out a good chunk of the 5.1-million eligible, unregistered voters, and mobilize the nearly 1-million registered African-Americans and 18- to 29-year-olds who did not vote four years ago.

2. An equally huge, volunteer-driven effort to win over the roughly 20 percent of undecided Florida voters who won't make up their minds until well into the fall.

"John McCain is going to own the George Bush economy around his neck in this election. He was central to its architecture, he was one of its fiercest defenders in America. Florida has lost more jobs over the last year than any other state in the country," Obama's national campaign manager, David Plouffe, said Friday in Tallahassee, sounding decidedly unintimidated by the Florida GOP's proven get-out-the-vote machine, given the intensity of Obama's support.

"It doesn't take much. If our … supporters are turning out at a rate of 74 percent, 75 percent, 78 percent, and McCain's are turning out at 68, 70, 72, that doesn't seem like a big deal, but it is the whole ball game," Plouffe said. "Bush had an advantage over Kerry because of their intensity. … We think McCain is going to have trouble replicating Bush in 2004."

History on our side, Republican leader says

On the other hand … there is no state that has better mastered getting out the votes for Republicans.

“We don't take Florida for granted, but we do have a good history here. Even though we're outnumbered in this state, our voter turnout effort has been extremely good in Florida," Republican National Committee chairman Mike Duncan said in a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

"Florida once again is the epicenter of the political universe. … We're very confident that Florida continues to trend as Republican, going back to Jeb Bush, Mel Martinez, Charlie Crist, of course the President Bush elections. We've got a good mature organization on the ground."

Both candidates point to grass roots numbers

The McCain Florida campaign reports that more than 200 locations across the state participated in a "McCain Nation" national organizational conference call last week that featured Cindy McCain and Rudy Giuliani. Verifying such grass roots activity is tough, but it may or may not be reassuring to Republicans that Florida McCain supporters consistently dismiss the Obama campaign's claims of activity as smoke and mirrors or outright lies.

But for what it's worth, some numbers to mull: 185,000 — the number of Obama campaign calls claimed over 48 hours as part of a challenge to make 50,000; 10-12 — the number of Obama field offices expected to open across the I-10 corridor in north Florida; 1,100-1,200 — the number of neighborhood teams in place out of 1,500 planned to organize up to seven voting precincts apiece; 179 — the number of grass roots organizing events planned for Obama this weekend in Florida.

Al Gore

Lost Florida by 537 in 2000

John Kerry

Lost Florida by 281,000 in 2004

Barack Obama

What will it take to win Florida?

Winner of the week

Gov. Charlie Crist: The end of Amendment 5 would be a gift to the governor. He can continue his vague talk of fighting to cut taxes, without the risk of seeing it fail at the ballot box or actually explaining how he'd balance the books if it passed.

Loser of the week

Sen. Mike Haridopolos: With the Amendment 5 tax swap bumped off the November ballot, you might think Haridopolos, its chief opponent, the big winner of the week. Wrong. He's Buzz's loser because unless the Florida Supreme Court puts the measure back on the ballot, the ambitious Melbourne Republican loses a great opportunity to raise his statewide profile campaigning against it.

To capture Florida, Barack Obama thinks, acts, spends big 08/16/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 8:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays make Hechavarria trade official

    Blogs

    Here is the release from the team ...

     

  2. Jones: Will Tampa Bay hit a Hall of Fame dry spell now?

    Lightning Strikes

    Marty St. Louis may lack the Hall of Fame stats, but two scoring titles, an MVP award and clutch goals should count for a lot. (Dirk Shadd, Times)
  3. SeaWorld shares drop Monday to 2017 low after disclosure of federal subpoena

    Tourism

    The Orlando parent company of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks saw its stock drop 3.5 percent Monday to $15.10, its lowest price of this year.

    Killer whales perform at Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld in Orlando in 2011, before public pressure was placed on the theme park company to curtail its orca shows.SeaWorld has since announced an end to the traditional killer whale entertainment  at its theme parks. [AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack]
  4. Update: Scientology cancels planned mock FBI raid on downtown building

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — The Church of Scientology planned to film a mock FBI raid on a downtown building Monday afternoon, but the actors and cameras never showed up to the location disclosed to the city.

    According to Clearwater Police, the Church of Scientology plans to hold a mock FBI raid at 3 p.m. Monday at this vacant building at 305 N Fort Harrison Ave. Police announced the raid in advance to alert the public. They said they did not know the reason for the event. [Google Earch image]
  5. Support for gay marriage surges, even among groups once wary

    Human Interest

    NEW YORK — In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey.

    People gather in Washington's Lafayette Park to see the White House lit up in rainbow colors on June 26, 2015, the day the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage legal. In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey released on Monday, June 26, 2017. [Associated Press]