Obama campaign in Tennessee gears up for tougher general election fight than in 2008

Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 10:05pm


In the days and weeks leading up to Tennessee’s March 6 presidential primary, most of the state will be transfixed on the Republican race, waiting to see which of the four remaining Republican candidates will win over Tennessee voters. After all, Tennessee has been notoriously red in recent years, when it comes to the general election.

A Democratic presidential candidate hasn’t won the state since 1996.

And while the attention will be focused on the Republicans’ heated primary, the Tennessee Democratic Party won’t be sitting back and enjoying the show. In fact, TNDP communications director Brandon Puttbrese said the Obama campaign is already established in Tennessee — and is gearing up for the general election.

“I’m not pretending that Tennessee is going to go for Obama, but I think it’s going to be much tougher in 2012 than it was in 2008,” Puttbrese said.

If nothing else, he said, the Obama campaign will be trying to make it tougher. Last year, Obama made a widely publicized visit to Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis. Vice President Joe Biden has also made several stops in Middle Tennessee for fundraisers over the past few years.

Last month, Obama’s national political director Katherine Archuleta was the keynote speaker at the TNDP’s Latino Summit in Nashville. Obama for America groups have also mobilized in the state’s four largest counties and other counties in Middle Tennessee like Montgomery and Maury.

“We’re not this red state with no return,” Puttbrese said. “[Voters] just need to hear an alternative message. That’s our goal is to give it to them.”

Joshua Clinton, an associate political science professor at Vanderbilt University, isn’t as optimistic for Obama’s chances in Tennessee. He was asked how much money or resources he’d spend in Tennessee if he were running Obama’s campaign.

“I’d probably invest nothing, just to be honest,” Clinton said. “If you look at the dynamics of the race ... if you think back to 2008, [John] McCain won very handily in Tennessee, 57 percent to 42 percent. There were only nine states that McCain had a larger margin in than Tennessee.” 

Simply put, Clinton thinks Obama’s values don’t match up with the average Tennessee voter.

“If you look at Tennessee voters, they are typically more conservative, fiscally and socially, than the average voter in the country,” Clinton said. “That has implications for how Obama has pitched himself and the policies he has pursued. It’s not what the median Tennessean necessarily would do if they were in charge.”

The TNDP said an Obama campaign presence in Tennessee could drive voter turnout and help other democratic candidates on the ballot.

Clinton said, however, it was still unclear whether congressional or House races would be competitive or heated enough to warrant a push from Obama.

“There’s not much benefit [to campaigning] even then, given the nature of the democratic party in Tennessee,” Clinton said.

But the TNDP is still looking forward to an eventful year. They are hosting their annual Jackson Day on March 31 to serve as a kickoff to the general election.

Puttbrese said there was increased interest among prospective delegates to attend the Democratic National Convention, because it will be held in Charlotte, N.C. — a drivable distance from Nashville.  

“The Tennessee Democratic Party has taken its lumps,” Puttbrese said. “So, what we’re looking for is trying to build a stronger, more effective party at the grassroots level. We’re working on ways to aggressively defend our democratic values and certainly build a more inclusive party across all of our constituency and bring them into the fold and really push to bring in new blood.”


30 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 2/19/12 at 11:17

I can remember when TN was a BLUE State. We had more freedom, and people were in control of thier lives, Now, the churches tell the people what to do and how to vote.

By: yogagirl on 2/20/12 at 1:03

@ pswindle - how long ago was that...that TN was a blue state? Wish it would go back to it.

By: spooky24 on 2/20/12 at 5:00

Obama has no chance whatsoever in Tennessee and everyone knows it. Stupid article about nothing.


By: govskeptic on 2/20/12 at 5:51

So could it be that Chip Forrester is really "pswindle" with all these intelligent
quotes and warnings of those awful Republicans within our good state?

By: Rasputin72 on 2/20/12 at 7:19

Obama will carry 54% of the vote nationwide this November. He is a dismal failure at running this country but he represents the majority of Americans. I cannot imagine one of the 47% who pay no income tax voting for anyone buty Obama. I cannot imagine anyone making less than 50,000 dollars a year and no company paid hospitalization voting for anyone but Obama. I cannot imagine anyone who is envious of those that can afford private school education,a college education and a second home in Florida voting for anyone but Obama.

By: Ask01 on 2/20/12 at 7:29

The entire political system is corrupt, leaving voters to select for evil and eviler. (I know, 'eviler' was not a word until now, but why should we allow only politicians liberty to butcher the language and create new words on the spot.)

Seriously, the Democratic party may not have as rough a time as predicted in Tennessee. The Republican presidential front runners have engaged in public political buffoonery causing many in the electorate to question competency.

Meanwhile, the GOP has been associated heavily with big business and corporate America, (or is that Amerika?) the reputation of which is probably as low as Congress. Single digit approval ratings, anyone?

I know I'm a broken record, but the economic conditions in the state, and nation as a whole for that matter, could incite the unemployed, underemployed, and frustrated electorate to lash out, targetting those they feel responsible for their plight. Who might that be? Why, the Republican party, closely associated with the business and corporate community.

The entire point of this typing exercise is, if the Republican party does not want to wake up post election to find President Obama still in the White House and the Democratic party having scored major gains. they need to take steps to actually put people back to work and not just play with numbers.

If the Democrats end up controlling the House and Senate as well as the White House, the Republican party and business and Corporate America will only themselves to blame.

Enjoy all those possibilities you fear, sky high corporate taxes, intrusive government regulations, and higher personal taxes on the wealthy executives.

Us po' folks'll save you a spot by the fire. Maybe.

By: conserve12 on 2/20/12 at 8:52

It won't matter if Obama has a stronger presence in Tennessee. All of his flawed policies have failed. And during his first 2 years in office, the Democrats dominated the executive and legislative branches. We have seen the best Obama has to offer. He is Jimmy Carter's 2nd term.....and we all remember what a disaster our neighbor to the south was. He was horrible. Three incumbent Democrat Senators have announced their resignations, those politicians have seen the underlying voter data and know they would lose. The Republicans will pick up a majority in the U.S. Senate and it could be as high as a 60 seat majority. Republicans do have solutions to our nation's problems. Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana governors have shown what their policies can do to turn around states. Wisconsin and Michigan were running deficits. No more. They now all have Republican governors that have stepped up. Tennessee has no reason to go backwards. Conservative values do resonate with the citizenry.

By: Rasputin72 on 2/20/12 at 9:03

ASK01......An excellent commentary,however the Republicans or any other party is unable to put people back to work. Our past administrations and Congress gave up years ago our ability to hold on to what we won after WWII. This is a new day and the poor folks who have never been successful with their own lives are going to be in charge.

I have one wish of Maxine Waters and the 47% who pay no income tax. Go after Goldman Sachs before you come after my money.

By: parnell3rd on 2/20/12 at 9:09

Where are all of the Demobots screaming about $3.54 gallon of gas prices? Remember Chuckie Schummer on live tv blaming President Bush for $1.81 gas prices? Bunch of hypocrites! Aweful quite on how much more money we are all spending on energy, all because of this Administration's policies.

By: Jughead on 2/20/12 at 9:29

Liberals should be covered in maple syrup and thrown into pits filled with fire ants.

Obama burns my biscuit--damn liar who hates America. http://burnmybiscuit.wordpress.com/

By: Ask01 on 2/20/12 at 9:33

You have grasped part of my post Rasputin72. No political party, Republican, Democrat, or any other can create jobs or put people back to work.

I realize and accept that fact as if it was an Einsteinian principle.

The people and organizations who the party's are beholding to however, posess the capability to employ idled workers.

If those corporations and business concerns are not very careful, in my humble, high school educated opinion, I can see those idled workers, also high school educated, reacting at the ballot box to elect whomever they feel will look after their interests. That is the Paul Harveyesque (made up word) rest of the story in my post.
it is not unreasonable nor a huge leap to imagine the Democratic party with a veto proof hold on government.

In a nutshell, if those with the wealth, corporate executives, Wall Street investors, robber barons, whatever, wish to hold some of that wealth, I believe the wise move is to create jobs putting people to work to pacify the masses before those masses take matters into the voting booth.

Just one humble man's opinion.

By: Nitzche on 2/20/12 at 9:59

tennessee must be one of those 7 extra states barry so eloquently waxed about , which must be why he has NEVER come here? he has about as much of a chance of winning Tennessee, as democrats have understanding any other State other than a Welfare state?

By: Jughead on 2/20/12 at 10:04

Obama and his libtard friends have made a welfare state sexy. Why work when you can leech a pitiful existence off of taxpayers?

By: Nitzche on 2/20/12 at 10:14

Easy Big fella,,, you know it is Conservatives that give out that welfare, because they are obviously the problem here?

By: Rasputin72 on 2/20/12 at 10:42

ASK01..........You stated and I stated that Republicans nor Democrats can put people back to work again. That also includes robber barons,wealthy,corporate leaders and etc. People are not flocking to WAL-MART and DOLLAR GENERAL and HYUNDAI automobiles because they are sell American made products they are flocking to these places because the products match their income.

No one can create a job in this country unless there is demand for the product they sell or if prospective employees are willing to work for minimum wage. There is no demand by the masses for products that exceed the price point of their ability to pay. That includes you......

One must understand that this is a world economy created by years of liberal mis-understanding of our economy. 1945 to 1980 is no more and will never be again. I again re-iterate that I hope the poor who will as you say vote for more welfare and government subsistence go after the Goldman-Sachs and their counter parts before they go after those successful people who earn between $250,000 and 750,000 dollars a year.
These people are not wealthy they are just outside the limits of poverty.

By: Left-of-Local on 2/20/12 at 12:52

::eyerollatthinyveiledracists:: Moving on.

By: Ask01 on 2/20/12 at 12:54

Rasputin72, I only offer a viewpoint.

I am not a prophet by any stretch, but I like to think I understand people.

The teeming masses are often not swayed by logic. Appearances and perceptions become, for many, "fact" no matter the real facts.

History teaches that desperate times can, with the correct catalyst, drive all manner of change.

That is the only message I am trying to impart. I have been insulted, ridiculed, and demeaned on other boards for trying to get the point across. The French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and even the rising to power of the National Socialist Workers Party in Germany were sparked in some way by the dissatisfaction of the 'peasants' or average people.

Extreme, perhaps even over the top examples? Yes, but I seem to be unable to capture folks attention any other way.

I'm done. I am tired of being a voice crying in the wilderness. I have outlined fairly straightforwardly, and logically, I believe, a possible scenario with some historical precedents.

All we can do is wait and see what type of world we awaken to the day after the election.

Thanks for an enjoyable discussion, Rasputin72, have a great day.

By: pswindle on 2/20/12 at 5:58

In 1996, Clinton/Gore won TN. We had two Democratic Senators and several Democratic Representatives. I'm not sure what really happened, but the churches took over the lives of the people, and it is like they are brain-washed. The white men want to limit the activities of women. We have gone back to "Barefoot and Pregnant." If Rick get his way, the women will go back a century or more.

By: govskeptic on 2/21/12 at 6:09

The only appearance by the President will be for a fundraiser and that will only
be in desperation if they can come up with someone to sponsor such! Of
course, the party irregular will make a minimum donations to keep their names
on the "Friends List", but the lost margin this yr in Tenn might be 15%!

By: Rasputin72 on 2/21/12 at 8:20

ASK01.......I do not agree with you but I you make a very good rebuttal.

By: Eye Nose & Now ... on 2/21/12 at 10:51

Obama is a great President and Republicans should just gives him four
more years instead of campaning against each other and him. Ahem!

By: Jughead on 2/21/12 at 10:57

Obama is a Muslim-loving Marxist who wants to destroy capitalism. He hates America and wants to turn it into a ghetto welfare state.

We should all be very scared. Obama represents the beginning of the end of America.

By: oldgulph on 2/21/12 at 12:43

Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.

National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state. Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don't matter to their candidate.

And votes, beyond the one needed to get the most votes in the state, for winning candidates in a state are wasted and don't matter to candidates. Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

With National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere would be counted equally for, and directly assist, the candidate for whom it was cast.

Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in the current handful of swing states. The political reality would be that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the country.

By: oldgulph on 2/21/12 at 12:45

In 2011, 83% of Tennessee voters polled agreed that "The presidential candidate who gets the most votes always should be the winner,"

Every political demographic group across the state favors changing to a system driven by the popular vote, the poll showed.

When Republicans were asked, "How should the President be elected, by who gets the most votes in all 50 states or by the current winner-takes-all system?" 73% of them favored the popular vote.

Of all Democrats asked the same question, 78% favored the popular vote system.

When respondents who agree with Tea Party values were asked, 72% of them preferred the popular vote.


By: oldgulph on 2/21/12 at 12:47

The National Popular Vote bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via nationalpopularvoteinc

By: pswindle on 2/21/12 at 5:06

If that had been enacted, we would have had a President Gore and not Bush. Maybe, you have a point.

By: peanut11 on 2/21/12 at 5:39

Hopefully people understand what huge gap exists between the words from Obama's mouth and the grim reality. Just do your homework people and read the numbers.

Good articles on www.ariespost.com

By: yogiman on 2/22/12 at 5:57

There's also good articles on www.commieblaster.com/ineligible/index.html, peanut11. That is, unless you're an Obama fan.

By: GUARDIAN on 2/22/12 at 9:15

You evil leftist fleas think Tennessee could ever be a blue state when you are running a liberal progressive communist for President. LMAO please hold your breath till that happens. GUARDIAN-GOD, COUNTRY, FAMILY and FRIENDS. The American Way.

By: pswindle on 2/22/12 at 9:39

The evil of the GOP is forever present.