WASHINGTON---My analysis of the Obama campaign announcement Monday that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will accept the Democratic nomination in Denver’s Invesco Field, a 75,000-seat outdoor stadium—rather then the smaller indoor Pepsi Center where the rest of the Democratic convention will be held in August:
*Obama will create a visual statement of being a leader of a movement that the McCain campaign cannot come close to replicating. I envision on the front pages of newspapers, covers of magazines, first screens on web sites, a photo taken from a blimp of a full stadium with a circle over a tiny figure on a stage with the headline, “The Next President?”
This morning, I asked Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, who is a top advisor to presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) how they could top this sort of political psychological intimidation show of force at their Minneapolis-Saint Paul conventionl this September. Fiorina, at a reporters’ breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, said she was not worried. I suggest she should be.
“John McCain isn’t going to go into a stadium and talk to 70,000 people. You all know that. It is not his personality,” she said. “Barack Obama and John McCain are very different people. …..There is no need for John McCain to try and be more like Barack Obama. In fact, I think that would be a disastrous mistake. …..The one thing I know from my own experience in leading people, in communicating with people, is people do recognize and appreciate authenticity.”
*Is there a down side to Obama once again showing off his charismatic mega- drawing power, letting Republicans complain Obama is sizzle, not steak? Not really, because Obama has so many arrows in his organizational quiver. Obama will be running his national and Colorado campaign on many levels at the same time. Invesco Field will be a spectacular example of Obama’s macro-aspirational track. He will also have the resources to do shoe-leather grassroots and netroots organizing and loads of television ads. Which brings me to…
*The Invesco Field will allow the Obama campaign a valuable data mining opportunity.
The Obama campaign is putting Colorado in play. President Bush beat Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) by only five points in 2004. By offering free admission to a historic event open to non-delegates, the Obama campaign will be able to require that people register for their tickets. That way, the campaign will capture the names, address and other information from people to be used to contact them later. Oprah Winfrey drawing giant crowds stumping for Obama in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina earlier this year was to some seen as a great way for Obama to get publicity and reach out to female voters—but Winfrey’s gigs were used as a data mining bonanza for the campaign.