Obama campaign hoping to re-enlist '08 supporters

March 8, 2012 12:02 am

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CHICAGO -- With a "chief scientist" specializing in consumer behavior, an "analytics department" monitoring voter trends and a geek squad of dozens huddled at computer screens editing video or writing code, the sprawling office complex inside One Prudential Plaza looks like a corporate research and development lab -- pingpong table and all.

But it is home to the largely secret engine of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, where scores of political strategists, data analysts, corporate marketers and Web producers are sifting through information gleaned from Facebook, voter logs and thousands of in-person visits to reassemble and re-energize the scattered coalition of supporters who swept Mr. Obama into the White House four years ago.

Mr. Obama has already begun reprising his election-style speeches of 2008, attacking Republicans and defending his record. And his team is ready to begin a major election-year advertising blitz at a moment's notice, as the Republican nominating contest appears to be drawing to a close.

But a huge part of the Chicago effort is dedicated to less flashy, yet potentially vital, behind-the-scenes work to address some of Mr. Obama's more hidden political challenges.

Many small-dollar donors who gave early and often in 2008 have failed to rematerialize, slowing the campaign's fundraising (though officials say they have no doubt that they will at least raise the $750 million they did then). Some volunteers who went to work enlisting friends and neighbors have been turned off by unmet expectations and the hard realities of partisan Washington, though the Republican attacks on Mr. Obama this year have helped bring some back into the fray.

First Published 2012-03-07 23:37:20

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