How Obama Won

Campaign strategists decided early on to own the economy and to define the Democrat as a change agent.
By Rebecca Smith Hurd,  Newser User
Posted Nov 10, 2008 4:23 PM CST
Obama's campaign advisers decided early on to define their candidate as a change agent, the anti-Bush.   (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – Barack Obama succeeded in his bid for the presidency because he became the anti-Bush, Ryan Lizza writes in the New Yorker. Campaign advisers agreed early on to keep it simple: own the economy and emphasize bringing change to Washington. Little did they know how well the financial crisis and John McCain would ultimately support that goal—and help turn the Illnois senator's newcomer status into an asset.

Obama steered the effort to emerge as a great candidate. Key turning points: clarifying his message before Iowa, agreeing to meet with leaders of hostile nations, hiring a young communications staff, rejecting public financing, and staying true to himself. "He somehow managed to emerge intact, after navigating two years of a modern and occasionally absurd Presidential race," Lizza notes, adding that on Election Night, Obama "seemed to be saying that he was going to figure out how to be a great President," too.