“They are not pursuing a 50-state strategy in the way we did. They are giving them $5,000 a month or $7,500. We had a $60,000 budget per state for tech training and three staffers,” Dean said. “It still exists, but it’s scaled back.”
A Democratic official said the 50-state strategy “played a critical role in building the party” and noted that the DNC continued Dean’s vision but has been using different methods.
As for those red states that he flipped in 2008, Obama has remained surprisingly strong in Virginia, where voters picked a Republican governor in 2009 and ousted three Democratic House Members last fall.
Democrats chose to hold their nominating convention in Charlotte in part because of North Carolina’s battleground status. Wasserman Schultz said Wednesday during a visit to Raleigh that the Tar Heel State is the “heart and soul” of the president’s re-election campaign, according to the Associated Press.
The Republican strategist said the GOP learned something from the 2008 battle for the Democratic nomination between Obama and then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.). The contest lasted through every single state’s primary, allowing the Democrats to register more voters than the Republicans, who had wrapped up their nomination before spring.
“If our primary season goes long and deep, you’ll see a GOP nominee emerge who is well-known and who has infrastructure in these states.”
A White House aide told Roll Call that it will be months before Obama mounts any substantive campaign travel. Until then, the president will “tack politics on the back end” of official business by scheduling nearby fundraisers when it makes sense.
The aide said Obama won’t “engage” the Republican candidates for the nomination until the GOP field is more set.
“We’re keeping the president on the presidential track,” the aide said. “There will be a time and a place for a more intense focus on politics.”
Steve Peoples contributed to this report.