While I wanted to limit the sessions I attended to those that featured more than just one presenter, I decided that hearing about the Obama campaign’s plans for 2008 would be pretty darn interesting. And it certainly was, although my concerns about hearing only one person speak were definitely valid…by the end I yearned for variety.

The presentation was by Parag Mehta, who was very upbeat and had the rah-rah dance down for the Democratic party, which was amusing. He talked a lot about how we need to support Democrats no matter what, which I think a lot of people in the audience disagreed with, including a woman in front of me who was mumbling under her voice during the entire presentation. But it was interesting that he addressed this fact – that Democrats tend to be much less forgiving with their candidates. Like with Senator Obama’s FISA vote, he lost a lot of supporters just from that one vote. He claimed that doesn’t happen so easily on the Republican side.

He mentioned that the Republican party plans to spend one billion dollars on this election cycle. Does this seem asinine to anyone else!? Just think of what 1 billion dollars could do to help repair our country (ironically, helping to fix some of the issues the candidates are evangelizing about), but it’s going to try to brainwash people, and often get people to believe outright lies. Sickening.

Mehta then talked about 2004. He said that one criticism that he had for the way John Kerry ran his campaign was that he talked more about what was wrong with Bush than what was right with himself. Mehta said that we just can’t make that mistake this year, and that it’s the job of the party to criticize the Republican candidate (he showed some videos that do just that); Obama should focus on his own qualifications, which he seems to be doing generally.

There was then lots of talk about McCain’s votes; that he changed his mind about: torture, immigration, campaign finance, Bush tax cuts…old news.
Finally, Mehta talked about how we can win elections, and detailed Obama’s 50-state plan, which is essentially to eventually try to take all 50 states with a Democratic majority (in a nutshell…oversimplifying a bit, of course). He outlined four steps that we need to focus on:

– Take back the white house
– Expand majorities in house and senate
– Pick up governorships and statewide offices
– Build majorities in state legislatures by 2010 (when next map is drawn)

Finally he talked about canvasing, which I think was what he wanted to get to all along. His statistic (and I wish I had written down the actual numbers, but I didn’t) was that talking face-to-face with 14 people, at least 3 times, is like making more than 400 phone calls, or sending out more than 400 letters. Pretty amazing. All in all, an interesting session – more of a reinforcement than an epiphany, but still good.

Next up – some tidbits from the exhibit hall, then break for lunch.