David Plouffe isn’t your typical political operative, but Barack Obama’s campaign manager is the genius who’s winning the ground war and the media contest. He’s obsessed with crunching numbers, the commander of a “nerd army,” and knows how to stay understated until it's time to strike. The New Republic takes his measure.
Plouffe mastered Iowa by digging into demographic nitty-gritty, then ran the primary calendar as though every other state were Iowa, even subverting conventional wisdom on Super Tuesday. But his real triumph was making the pledged delegate count the gold standard, leaking documents to reporters until he, not they, was dictating what counted as victory.