Beating Obama in 2012 won't be easy, GOP strategist says

Friday, March 4, 2011 6:08 AM
Last updated 6:45 AM
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 ATHENS, Ga. -- Nine months from the start of the 2012 primaries, Republican political strategist Ralph Reed says it's a tossup whether President Obama will win a second term

Ralph Reed  AP
Ralph Reed

"I believe this will be a hard-fought, bitterly contested, extremely close election," Reed said.

The former head of the Christian Coalition, who founded the Faith and Freedom Alliance in 2009 after an influence-peddling scandal and a failed run for lieutenant governor, laid out a road map to win back the White House while speaking Thursday to University of Georgia College Republicans.

If people are working and Obama's approval rating is above 50 percent next year, he'll be tough to beat, Reed said. And even if Obama's popularity drops and the economy stagnates, the Republican nominee will still be up against the best-organized and best-funded campaign ever, he said.

Obama "built the largest, the most effective and the most lethally disciplined grassroots organization in the history of American politics," he said.

Reed said he expects the Obama campaign to spend $1 billion on re-election and outside groups to kick in almost $1 billion more, the most expensive campaign in history.

The electorate in 2012 will also more closely resemble 2008 than 2010, with high minority and youth turnout, as opposed to the seniors, evangelical Christians and conservatives who carried the GOP to victory the past two years, Reed said.

The key, as with any election, will be to find Republican-leaning voters and make sure they show up at the polls, said Reed, who cut his teeth working on the Reagan campaign in 1980 while a student at UGA.

The winning strategy hasn't changed since, even in the era of Facebook and YouTube, new media that the Obama campaign took advantage of in 2008. Elections are still all about finding your supporters and turning them out, Reed said.

"The Internet was simply a means to an end" for Obama, he said. "The end was to bring in millions of volunteers and donors."

The Republican nominee must be someone who can build a door-to-door ground campaign, raise a lot of money and go toe-to-toe with Obama in debates - something Reed said 2008 nominee Sen. John McCain couldn't do.

That candidate could be former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who announced Thursday in Atlanta that he is forming a committee to explore a run for the presidency. Gingrich will have to move quickly to get organized and line up endorsements in early primary states like Iowa and South Carolina, Reed said.

"I like Newt's chances," he said. "He's clearly a top-tier candidate."

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airbud7 03/04/11 - 08:11 am
Donald Trump said he's

Donald Trump said he's "seriously" considering running for the presidency in 2012.

Chillen 03/04/11 - 09:34 am
The socialists/communists

The socialists/communists plan in coming along nicely. Almost 50 million Americans are on food stamps/welfare. 50% or more of Americans pay NO federal income tax.

Why wouldn't they vote for the community organizer? He supports their bad choices and rewards them for making them. He is freeloader eutopia.

burninater 03/04/11 - 12:03 pm
Hey Chillen, try the whole

Hey Chillen, try the whole story next time, rather than a selective, and misleading, talking point:

"But the modifiers here — federal and income — are important. Income taxes aren’t the only kind of federal taxes that people pay. There are also payroll taxes and investment taxes, among others. And, of course, people pay state and local taxes, too.

Even if the discussion is restricted to federal taxes (for which the statistics are better), a vast majority of households end up paying federal taxes. Congressional Budget Office data suggests that, at most, about 10 percent of all households pay no net federal taxes. The number 10 is obviously a lot smaller than 47.

The reason is that poor families generally pay more in payroll taxes than they receive through benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit. It’s not just poor families for whom the payroll tax is a big deal, either. About three-quarters of all American households pay more in payroll taxes, which go toward Medicare and Social Security, than in income taxes."

Chillen 03/04/11 - 12:21 pm
Oh I read the article

Oh I read the article burninator. That doesn't change the facts. 50% of American adults pay no federal income tax. Obama is the King of entitlements & giveaways. The more sheeple, errrr, people in his freebie camp, the more votes he has.

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