Jeremy Bird, the National Field Director of Obama for America (OFA), said on Tuesday that Obama’s winning coalition on November 6 was the result of “the strongest grassroots organization in the history of American presidential politics.” OFA had more than twice as many local offices as Republican Mitt Romney in the targeted swing states, he said.
In those targeted states, Bird said, OFA had 631 offices, compared to only 282 for Romney.
While Republican strategist Karl Rove was raising $300 million for television ads depicting Republican candidate Mitt Romney as a would-be efficient manager of the U.S economy, Bird said the Obama for America operation assembled a network comprised of more than two million volunteers, backed by neighborhood political teams and 2,700 field organizers. The local offices were critical to mobilizing the volunteers, he said.
The title of Bird’s presentation was “Brick-by-brick: The nitty-gritty organizing work that turned out Obama’s winning coalition.” Although he is now the National Field Director for Obama for America, Jeremy Bird is a former community organizer with a history of working in Democratic Party politics.
Some conservatives are still insisting that Obama was elected through vote fraud, even though Romney has conceded the election and Republican consultants are acknowledging the flaws in the “ground game” of turning out the vote. The Bird presentation makes it plain that the Obama campaign simply out-organized the Romney campaign and used money where it was most effective—on the streets.
Bird’s remarks and a slide presentation dramatizing the Democratic Party advantages in the election were delivered at a Center for American Progress (CAP) event called “The Obama Coalition in 2012 and Beyond.”
As panelists openly talked about the success of the “Obama coalition” and what it could accomplish in the future, including in the 2014 congressional elections, they quickly dismissed a concern that the political nature of the conversation could jeopardize CAP’s status as a “non-partisan” and tax-exempt entity.
Funded by hedge-fund billionaire George Soros and other prominent liberals, CAP is considered a virtual front of the Obama Administration and claims to have played a “key role” in passing Obamacare.
CAP’s 2010 annual report, which reports almost $30 million in revenue, notes appearances by CAP figures on CNN as well as MSNBC host Ed Schultz’s taping of his radio show at the CAP radio studio.
The November 6 election came as a shock to many Republicans and conservatives, who believed the polls forecasting a Romney win. On Fox News, Karl Rove and Dick Morris were among those predicting a Romney victory.
The CAP event went behind the headlines of the Obama victory to demonstrate how they did it. Jeremy Bird said that OFA volunteers made 146 million “door knocks and phone calls” for Obama in order to try to get them out to the polls, and conducted a voter registration program that “changed the electorate” by increasing the turnout of minorities and others favorable to Obama. Bird noted that the Obama campaign had another program, Operation Vote, which focused on getting “core constituencies” to the polls.
Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg, senior vice president of Greenberg Quinlan, Rosner Research, mocked the pollsters who had predicted a Romney win and said that the GOP’s most “reliable voters” did not turn out on Election Day. Greenberg said her final poll showed Obama winning the election by four points, close to the actual final margin of 3.7%.
She said that while Republican officials had ridiculed the Democratic Party’s emphasis on early voting, that turned out to be one of the keys to the outcome. Obama won the early vote in such states as Iowa, Ohio, Virginia, Nevada, North Carolina, Florida and Colorado.
Ruy Teixeira, a CAP fellow, was the host of the event and delivered his own report on the election results. “In 2012 President Obama won re-election with 50.9 percent of the popular vote and 332 Electoral College votes,” he noted. “He is the first Democratic president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to win two terms with more than 50 percent of the total popular vote. Unlike Democratic victories of the past, however, President Obama was also able to achieve victory with a historically low percentage of the white vote.”
He said, however, that it is an open question whether Obama and the progressives can deliver on their agenda for the nation and “improve the economic standing of middle- and working-class families…”