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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Campaigns or Media - Who Frames The Message?

George Wenschhof

Money, organization, and message are still the three most important components in a successful political campaign. Until there is true financial reform leading to publicly funded campaigns, without money it is difficult to compete in get out the vote efforts and media ad buys to get the campaign message out to the voters.

However, without a message that resonates with the voters, the campaign is destined to fail. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney discovered this as his vast personal financial wealth was not sufficient to keep him in the race for the republican nomination.

On the other hand, democratic Senator Barack Obama benefited from an early slogan of "It's time for a change" with sometimes the words "in Washington" added to the slogan. Including the voters in the slogan is also very effective as is the case with his "Yes We Can" slogan. You add the charisma of the candidate along with skills to effectively communicate that message directly to the voter and you have a powerful candidate. As a result, the money and the organization continues to grow in the Obama campaign.

With a failing U.S. economy, Americans without adequate health care, a quagmire in Iraq, along with no concern able national energy or conservation program, there is no question that change is what Americans want.

As the front runner for the democratic party nomination, it also means that the Obama campaign will catch the heat from the Clinton campaign. Senator Hillary Clinton is running a close second for the democratic nomination, trailing by 135 total delegates at the moment.

Recently, comments attributed to Senator Obama that he made to attendees at a San Francisco fundraiser about small town voters clinging to their guns and religion and being bitter was jumped on by the media and then the Clinton campaign. Here is an example of the media attempting to whip up a frenzy by zeroing in on semantics instead of the overall message pertaining to the frustration working men and women feel in America today.

The Clinton campaign, almost as if it was nudged by the media, began televising advertisements of Pennsylvania voters who say they are insulted by the remarks made by Obama. To watch, click here.

In spite of these efforts, the recent polls in Pennsylvania show a race that is close (Clinton -50%, Obama -44%) in a state Clinton must win by double digits to give her campaign the boost it needs. Here is a good read in about how the race remains unchanged in Pennsylvania after the much ballyhooed "bitter" comments.

To date, the Obama campaign has stayed on message and it is one that continues to resonate with the voters. The Clinton campaign continues to struggle with message as they take the approach of throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks.

The democratic nomination process continues to be exciting to follow and it will be worth tuning into the debate tomorrow night in Philadelphia at 8:00 PM ET on ABC.

Stay Tuned.

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