The Early Days of Hope & Change (Part 1)

As the organizations reach their crescendos, it's hard for many to imagine that these mammoth enterprises were once scrappy start-ups. The most often-asked question I get about my 2008 experience is, "What was it like inside the campaign?" People also want to understand our secret to "running such a tight operation."

There is often surprise about my description of the early days. In my past writings and during a recent talk at California State University Northridge, I've shared my memories from those times.

Here's a moment in 2007:

The Migration To Headquarters

The 11th floor of the downtown Chicago high rise, only days ago empty and silent, was now being overtaken by complete chaos as staff began to move in from temporary office locations. We were still mostly strangers to each other. Phones and computers were being installed by Sam Falkoff, known by many of us as “Sam the Red Sox fan” since we all had yet to learn last names. He tried his best to fulfill his duties while taking care not to intrude on the staffers who feverishly worked to get their newly assigned work areas put together.

As soon as folks were up and running they were off and running, scurrying past each other and moving quickly between desks to get answers to pressing questions. There was motion to be sure; progress, on the other hand, was still difficult to discern. This is always a challenging time in a campaign. Like any good business, you would ideally like to have key systems and personnel in place before you launch. But our campaign was still very much unformed and struggling to catch up to the high volume of inquiries and demands that had been generated from our candidate’s announcement just weeks before that he would run for president.

Also, view this clip from C-SPAN's coverage of Lessons from the 2008 Presidential Campaign.

 

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