The Audacity to Win

The Audacity to Win



The Audacity to Win

David Plouffe’s book The Audacity to Win offers an inside perspective on the 2008 presidential campaigns. He is able to do this because he was Obama’s campaign manager at the time. The book details how President Obama’s campaign team chose to move away from the conventional methods of politics to try something different. The change in direction was a welcome idea since America was also yearning for a change. The team managed to realize significant results amidst many challenges. The author highlights the importance and significance of emerging technologies in helping the people spread the messages they wanted and in helping the campaign team to reach as many people as possible. The campaign was directed by people from all racial divides and all walks of life. Each of them was instrumental in the success of the campaign. The author discusses how the team was able to overcome the limitations of traditional media, especially in times when the known media was filtering messages. They were able to do this by using Internet-based technologies such as social media, websites, and YouTube among others.

Plouffe discusses how the campaign differed from others, and how President Obama forced the other candidates to reevaluate their strategies. He notes the difference in preaching the political message as it was then. Obama did not focus on political retaliation and other methods of attack. In addition, he was not interested in dividing people. President Obama was able to draw in the independents and the undecided voters. He provided Americans with facts and information and he gave them the freedom to decide for themselves. This was a major transition from the traditional ways of campaigning. The author highlights the successes that the team gained as well as the challenges they were able to overcome.

Much of what happened during the campaigns is now known to many, and it has been utilized again. The author offers advice on how to run a successful political campaign. His team was able to achieve the unthinkable through hard work and collaboration. They were able to see a different perspective of the situation. Obama was facing off with a candidate who had many funds and the direct support of a former president. However, he was able to raise record funds within no time through small donors. Previously such a move was not considered strategic in political campaigns.

Plouffe also offers some personal details. He notes the strain that the campaign had on his personal life. He spent most of the time running the campaign and he even had to use the bathroom when talking on the phone so that he could not wake up his wife and son. He was also concerned initially for the president. He noted how Obama was not able to let go and to trust others. He did not want the staff to take more responsibility. The author had to convince Obama to trust others more to run the campaign for him. Obama was of the view that he could do everything better, and he wanted to do it all. Plouffe had to convince him to take a step back.

Plouffe’s book is engaging to read, especially because of the inside details he offers. He writes with an easy flow, and he does not use complex language. However, he could do more to explain the complexities involved in the campaign process for the sake of the readers who may not be familiar with America’s elections and campaign process.


Plouffe, D. (2010). The audacity to win: The inside story and lessons of Barack Obama’s Historic Victory. New York, NY: Viking Press

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