By Politics Magazine
What was the greatest strategic mistake made amongst any presidential campaign thus far in this cycle?
"Hillary Clinton's neglect of caucus states. Obama had a strategy based on winning as many delegates as possible in every place possible. There is no doubt in my mind that Clinton could have won several of those caucus states and negated some of the press and momentum that Obama picked up."
"On caucus night in Iowa, Hillary stood on stage in front of Madeline Albright, Bill Clinton, and other old white people from the past. Obama was in the middle of throngs of young people of all colors screaming his name. It could not have been a clearer example of the contrast between the two - he is the future, she is the past. Whoever on the Clinton campaign put that shot together should have been fired."
"Team Clinton's modeling their fundraising to concentrate on over forty-five year olds who could max out donations and not prepping for post Super Tuesday caucuses were fatal errors. Imagine how much money they would have raised if they had maximized fundraising with small and younger donors using new technology."
"The Clinton campaign totally underestimated Obama's ability to appeal and run a grassroots, caucus type of campaign."
"Clinton has been the worst on message discipline. Whether it has been 20 different messages or 20 different versions of experience, the problem remains the same - what is her message? She found her voice in New Hampshire and then promptly lost it again. Now her message after Texas and Ohio is, ‘See? He isn't immortal.' Is that a message?"
"The Clinton campaign not going negative on Obama early enough. They were foolish to think his voter appeal would diminish as the campaign went along."
"The greatest mistake was Obama being drawn into a protracted debate about racial politics"
"Hillary has run a horrible campaign. For someone with almost 100 percent name recognition, unlimited money, and the whole Democratic machine behind her, she has run like a new person on the scene. Now she and her campaign are in panic mode and it's affecting how the campaign is run. The fact that she didn't plan beyond Super Tuesday will be her demise."
Of the three major campaigns (McCain, Obama & Clinton) which campaign's strategy has impressed you the most and why?
"The Obama campaign has impressed me the most, but not necessarily in positive terms. The campaign has been very good at spinning the media, which is especially willing to be spun on issues of race, character and forthrightness as it relates to the Clinton campaign."
"Clinton has been the most impressive. She fought back from two near death experiences - Iowa first and then Texas and Ohio."
"Team Obama's use of new media, and their targeting gave them an important edge. They organized and fundraised with people under forty-years-old and with smaller donors. They understood that voters born after the civil rights laws were more available to Obama than voters born before World War II. They made few mistakes including aggressively going after caucus states."
"Obama has been better organized on the ground than the other two, as shown by his huge win in Iowa. He has also been better with message discipline until the recent Rev. Wright flap. The test will be if he can get back on message now."
"McCain is the most impressive. This guy was dead in the spring but totally revamped his campaign, with no money, and stuck to his guns even when unpopular with the base and was the only one left standing. An amazing performance."
"While Obama's speeches don't reflect how liberal he really is, they inspire independents, Democrats, and even some Republicans. Slowly but surely the message of hope got him ahead of Clinton, and now she will have a tough time recapturing the top spot."
"Back in December, McCain adviser Rick Davis laid out his candidate's strategy in a video for all to see. It's impressive that the campaign was being forthright about its strategy and ultimately still pulled it off."
"Strategically, Obama's ability to completely deflect any criticism and appear above politics has been the most impressive until recently. The problem is that this is politics and you can't just be a nice guy."
--Campaigns & Elections Politics Magazine; courtesy of Frank Leidermann, Acting Editor