April 27, 2008


Now, This Is Campaign Fatigue (Jonathan Weisman, 4/27/08, Washington Post)

If the American people are growing weary of the protracted Democratic nomination fight, they've got nothing on the candidates, their staffs or their staffs' families. A campaign that has stretched more than a year has now reached virtually every state, has seen babies born and staffers married, and has now begun to heat up again.

Fabiola Rodriguez-Ciampoli, Clinton's director of Hispanic communications, arrived in San Antonio on Feb. 15 to ramp up outreach to Latinos in Texas. Two days later, her long-awaited adoption papers came through and she became a mother, working out of an adviser's home with an infant in her lap.

Between the two, the campaigns have logged more than 2,000 meal stops, from Yum Yum Donuts in Baldwin Park, Calif., to the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach -- with pit stops at 15 7-Elevens from North Las Vegas to Raymond, N.H.

The Clinton campaign has sent out 1,572 news releases since the beginning of the campaign in 2007, the Obama campaign 454.

"Sometimes, yes, of course," Obama acknowledged Tuesday, when asked whether he was exhausted.

It's starting to show. "Why can't I just eat my waffle?" Obama snapped at a reporter who sought to interrupt his breakfast with a policy question last week in Pennsylvania. [...]

Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain has pared back his schedule, taken the time to grill ribs for reporters at his Sedona, Ariz., ranch and carefully picked the venues for his public appearances. His would-be Democratic opponents have no such luxuries.

...Karl Rove and George W. Bush had a genuine insight that would be useful to Maverick. Sensing that Americans were exhausted by Bill Clinton's omnipresence and convinced that his talking about everything made it so that nothing he ever said seemed important, they determined to have the President be seen and heard less, in order to restore some cache to his less frequent appearances. They even planned to return to the tradition of having the president actually deliver a written state of the union message to Congress, rather than traipse up there and give a speech that's little more than a laundry list of constituent demands.

This served Mr. Bush and the country well immediately after 9-11, as his speeches had an added drama and weight precisely because he'd not been droning on about things like his underwear preferences for the prior year. But, perhaps understandably, they didn't follow through in the ensuing years because the war had raised the stakes on such events, such that silence might have seemed reluctance.

Mr. McCain probably ought to return to their original plan. Let Americans grow wary of the other two and he'll be the oldest fresh face in political history when he resumes real campaigning this Summer.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 27, 2008 7:23 AM

That's too risky of a strategy. He need not be omni-present to be present.

A once a week speech teasing the Dems while critiquing their policies is probably a better idea.

BBQing with reporters is pretty good, though.

Posted by: Bruno at April 27, 2008 9:51 AM