First, "soften" challenger Mitt Romney early with negative TV ads over the summer (the "air war"), then rely on droves of grassroots volunteers to galvanize voters (the "ground game").
It's risky because the big money's already been spent on the summer air war. They're now in the "ground game" phase. And the guy who's overseeing this phase nationwide on behalf of the president is 34-year-old Jeremy Bird who grew up in a trailer park in High Ridge.
Thin and bespectacled, Bird grew up in Missouri, the son of devout Baptist parents. He went on to Harvard Divinity School, where he studied conflict resolution and the role of religion in politics and war.Bird runs the "ground game" from Obama headquarters in Chicago, and it's interesting: They don't see automated calls, mass e-mails and flyers as effective tools.
Rather, they embed themselves in barber shops and beauty salons. They employ shame (with mailers that divulge whether a voter and his/her neighbors actually voted last time). And they've organized themselves into volunteer groups as small as possible, on the notion that if the group is bigger than ten, a volunteer is more likely to think of herself as a cog in a machine and simply quit.
Lizza calls this whole entire grand plan it a "wager" and concludes: "The last leg of the race gives every indication of being very close, and Obama's ground game will bear the full weight of the wager." As will Bird.
Read Lizza's piece here (subscription required; no, we can't give you our password).