- The Washington Times - Friday, February 21, 2003

Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe vowed yesterday to raise enough money for the party's presidential campaign in 2004, but said it will be impossible to match the Republicans' fund-raising skills dollar for dollar.
"We will have enough money to do what we need to do in '04," he said. "But I'm not sure we will ever be competitive with the Republicans on money. We don't need as much money as the Republicans. We have the issues on our side."
President Bush is expected to raise two to three times the more than $100 million he raised in his 2000 campaign, and will likely forgo federal matching funds that limit a candidate's spending, as he did two years ago.
Mr. McAuliffe said yesterday that the party's eventual nominee may want to do the same thing to keep the campaign on a level playing field. "They should look at that as an option," he said.
In a briefing for reporters at the opening of the Democratic National Committee's three-day winter meeting here, Mr. McAuliffe laid out an elaborate high-tech campaign plan for the next two years in a bid to deny Mr. Bush a second term.
At the heart of the DNC campaign plan is an elaborate database initiative called "DataMart" that will be able to identify and send campaign messages to millions of voters selected on the basis of their demographic and consumer profiles from a storehouse of 158 million names.
The DNC showed how their computer programs have been fashioned to identify prospective Democratic voters such as single and working women and environmentalists in key states and districts, even precincts, where an election can be decided by a few thousand or even a few hundred additional voters.
In a strongly worded attack on Mr. Bush, whom he called "a disaster on domestic issues," Mr. McAuliffe said that his party was not aggressive enough in last year's elections in its voter identification and message-outreach efforts.
"Al Gore got 500,000 more votes than Bush, but 2002 was a wake-up call for us. Our polls were wrong. Something happened that turned some very, very close elections against us," he said.
The White House and the Republicans outmaneuvered the Democrats in several critical areas, including voter turnout, fund raising and "multilevel" message distribution to key constituencies and interest groups, he said.
"The message to our party is that we have to dig deeper than we have ever done before," he said.
In a slide-show and computer presentation for the DNC's state chairmen and other committee members, Mr. McAuliffe presented the new digital strategy yesterday that he said would expand the party's voter base, strengthen its message delivery and increase its donor list.
In addition to DataMart, the DNC is installing what it calls its "Demzilla" database of prospective supporters to build its donor lists and identify activists to work on campaigns. Another part of its effort is based in part on the Republican Party's ability to send out "multilevel" messages to voters through a variety of techniques, from e-mails to direct mail to telemarketing.
Mr. McAuliffe denied statements by DNC official Donna Brazile that the Republican Party was making inroads into the Democrats' black and Hispanic base. "I am confident that we will continue to get the same percentages of the Hispanic and African-American vote," he said.
Asked about recent attacks by Democratic-leaning journals against the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of the eight Democratic presidential contenders, Mr. McAuliffe said, "He would be treated as fairly as any other candidate. We support all of them."


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