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Obama ground game won't transfer to 2016, aide says

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The Democratic Party’s nominee for president in 2016 won’t be able to count on the President Obama’s vaunted ground organization, which analysts say was one key to his re-election victory Tuesday night, a key adviser to the president said Thursday.

David Plouffe, a top White House aide, said the ground operation all stemmed from voters enthusiasm for Mr. Obama as a person and a candidate, and that kind of relationship with voters can’t simply be transferred to the next candidate the Democratic party nominates for president.

“We just can’t transfer this,” Mr. Plouffe told reporters on a conference call Thursday. “…All of the door-knocking on Election Day, the contributions and the phone calls made is because they believed in Barack Obama.”

In the final week of the campaign, political analysts questioned whether Mr. Obama’s efficient ground game could overcome the enthusiasm of GOP rival Mitt Romney’s supporters, which showed up in poll after poll in the days preceding the election.

But the president returned his Democratic base to the polls in higher proportions than he did for his historic 2008 election, with young voters, women and minorities all approached or exceeded their support of Mr. Obama four years ago.

In the end, Mr. Obama’s turnout operation overcome what polls said was lower enthusiasm for the president and his handling of the economy.

Election night returns unfolded very close to the way the Obama campaign’s models predicted.

In describing the ground game, one Obama campaign official described to reporters a conversation he had with a top field director on Monday. Republicans had tweeted that they knocked on 75,000 doors in Ohio on Sunday. Not to worry, the field director replied, “We knocked on 376,000 doors.”

“That’s my team,” Mr. Obama said, when the discussion was later conveyed to him.

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About the Author

Susan Crabtree

Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at scrabtree@washingtontimes.com.

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