My name is Mike Moffo. In 2008, I was the deputy national field director for the Obama campaign. I started off as a field director in the early state of Nevada during the primaries and then moved on and had various different roles before joining in the general election in Chicago. As sort of, ultimately I was the liaison between our vast national field program, with almost 4,000 staff and millions of volunteers across the country, and our media and digital teams, who were blazing new trails and doing a lot of new, innovative things. So, I focused on a variety of innovative projects that we called special projects back in 2008. And since then, I now live in Edinburgh and I worked in the digital strategy and public affairs space. >> Could you tell us a little bit more about how the 2008 campaign unfolded? How did the Obama campaign team and your group in Chicago, why were you so successful? >> Well, there's a variety of reasons. Even now eight years later, I think in some ways we see things more clearly and in some ways it's less clear. The various contributing factors. One of them was that, we were the underdog starting off in the race. Going against Hillary Clinton and a large field of very experienced formidable opponents in the Democratic primary. We had no choice but to be innovative. We had no choice but to raise money online, which had been done before, but not to the degree that we had to mobilize the grassroots donations. We needed to rely on our grassroots volunteers to mobilize for voter contact, phone calls, door-to-door canvassing. We needed to rely on designers and creatives and musicians and artists from outside the campaign to lend their creativity. And these are the things where we look back on the campaign and we attribute those unique contributions and the way that we were able to put them to work to our victory. But a lot of people forget that when we started, we did a lot of those things because we needed to do that to make up the gap of, where we were starting out, as just a first term Senator who had only recently come from the State Senate in Illinois. It was on the back of probably another, certainly another big factor was President Obama, then Senator Obama's personality and his particular set of values. The unique upbringing that gave birth to those values. And his incredible ability to communicate. So, that was the engine that kind of got people interested, that inspired people along the way, so that the campaign could then harness those massive amounts of people that were willing to stop what they were doing, stop their lives, or at least press pause and kind of join in what became, what started as a campaign and certainly became a movement. >> What role did social media in particular play in the campaign? >> Yeah, we look back on social media, I think, with a magnifying glass in 2016, even in 2012, the re-election campaign, social media was much more established, and just the number of users, the amount of engagement, the value of the companies and the digital, the social media platforms had really exploded by the time 2012 rolled around. But back in 2008 and 2007 when the campaign began social media was still in its nascent, I mean unless you were in silicon valley and were a real early adopter, I mean, several of us were already using these platforms but it was not a tried and true method to reach voters or to mobilize volunteers. And so because we were doing it and because we had a very strong digital team led by Joe Rospars and Megan Phillips. And then, a separate, a division that was part of that social media team lead by Scott Goodstein. And Scott was constantly pushing us and pushing the campaign to make use of, what at that point were really emerging platforms. So it's tough to say when you look at the numbers, what was the impact? I would say that of those things, the text message, SMS campaign was one that was a real breakthrough for us and really had tangible benefit. I'd say the Twitter and the Facebook, it contributed to the brand Obama, and it contributed to the enthusiasm and the engagement that we had, but at that time it was nothing like what it is now. Even in 2012, we were matching voters from the voter file to see if they were registered to vote. And then having our supporters on Facebook find their other friends on Facebook who were not registered in battleground states. That was a real sea-change in the sophistication and the utility of using the social platforms between 2008 and 2012. >> So Mike, reflecting back now from the perspective of eight or nine years since the campaign, the 2008 campaign began, what's your overall sense of its significance? >> Well, I mean I think the presidency of Barack Obama is the obvious answer, and I think something that history will judge very kindly. I think where we are now as opposed to where we were, it's almost easy, believe it or not, it's easy to forget the level of economic crisis that we were in at the end of 2008 and into the beginning of 2009 when Obama took office. And where we've come and the accomplishments of these two terms will be the single biggest legacy of the campaign and the one that we were all fighting for. There were some other things on there as far as how campaigns are run and how campaigns are won that I think will also contribute to the legacy of the campaign. You could certainly see, and 2008 and 2012, I think they belong together, they're really kind of two phases of the Obama campaign style. The sophistication in 2012 was already head and shoulders above what we did in 2008, but it was the spirit of trying new things, of experimentation, of giving our supporters and giving voters in general respect. And giving them responsibility, and understanding that they can do more, was a real sea-change that started in 2008 and then just has only continued. And you look at the sophistication of the Clinton campaign in 2016 and it's building on that. What they're doing in Brooklyn is above and beyond what we did in 2012. Now the campaign has a different dynamic and the messages and the topics of the campaign are different, but when it comes to the campaign science, the use of data, the use of looking at individual voters, the obsession with the electoral college and the race to 270, and the distribution of clearly millions, if not above a billion dollars, and distributing those resources in a strategic way, there are things that we did in a different way in 2008 and they continue to innovate on. So, I think that that's a change, but not everyone has picked up on that. Not every campaign is going to mimic the Obama campaign, some are not able and some are not willing. >> As somebody who was at the center of the last two presidential campaigns, in both 2008 and 2012, did you have a sense in 2008, that that was a historically significant election? >> Yeah I think we did. You remember small moments when you're in the midst of the kind of rough and tumble of a campaign. And it was very real to us that on one side - and this is the obvious answer, but it's the truth - the first African-American president to be elected was front and center for all to see. And so we felt that was incredibly important, but the ultimate success of the first African-American president was also very important. So, there was a lot of, and that had to do with the platform, that had to do with the things that, President Obama's vision for the country, right. So all of those things contributed to it. I think at that moment in history, after eight years of George W Bush, it was a real stark moment of change. A lot of people will say every election is about the future and there's essentially two kinds of campaign. One is about change versus more of the same, and then the other is about a choice between the two candidates. And when there's a lot of people in the electorate who are displeased with the status quo, which we can see seems to be increasing by the day, for a lot of understandable and fascinating reasons. That this was definitely a hope and change election, right? It was definitely a change election and the personality and the vision of Obama injected that hope into it. So it was a particular Obama brand of a change election. And because that was so dramatic, and because of the economic crisis that was happening in the moment literally in September and October before the election, you had even more weight on the shoulders of this new administration to live up to that feeling of optimism. That we felt swept the country and even the world, or many parts outside the United States, that this new, different kind of president had been elected. >> As a practitioner of presidential politics, as somebody who's been involved in presidential campaigns at the highest level, do you have any reflections on the way the current campaign is unfolding? >> Sure, well there's many things that can be said. We'll focus on as a practitioner, you couldn't see a more stark example of different campaign approaches. And I think it's a reflection of the two major party candidates. In Hilary Clinton, you have arguably the most prepared candidate in history to assume the duties of the Oval Office, and in Donald Trump you have the least prepared and you have the most unfit candidate, arguably, that's ever gone into you know a national election for president of the United States. And the approach of the Clinton campaign since the beginning has been broadly speaking similar to what we've been discussing, similar to the innovations, talking to voters, measuring voters' opinions, getting their feedback, involving them in the campaign, organizing them at the grassroots level, looking at the battleground states and what are the issues that play there, having a sense of message discipline, having a sense of laying out a very kind of broad and deep policy proposals that illustrate Hillary's vision for the country and where she wants to take it. So, that no matter what particular issues a voter or a supporter is interested in, there's a lot there. And then on the other side, you have a candidate who doesn't know enough about the issues to form coherent policy positions, but also isn't interested in running that type of campaign. It doesn't have, it probably has I think 70 what we would call field organizers to literally thousands on the Clinton side. So, there's just not an interest in bringing the campaign to the people. It's a campaign that seeks to capitalize on our mainstream media culture upon which Donald Trump has built his brand and has built his fortune, and that's the tactic, right? Is to use a higher level with no depth at all but kind of thin and widely broadcast, using social media and using network or cable television. So, it's a picture of contrast with the way that these campaigns are being conducted. And I think in the end, we're seeing, despite the fact that there's always going to be voters who have a certain opinion, whether it's about the candidates themselves or whether it's about their sense of whether the country is on the right or the wrong track. And if they deeply feel that the country is on the wrong track they're willing to vote for almost anyone to get that message across, because they're only given a narrow set of ways to express that discontent. And so, there's always going to be that at play. But then for the persuadable voters, the rational voters, the voters whose vote was to some degree up for grabs based upon the way the campaign played out. You're seeing as we get closer and closer to election day, the relative success of those two campaign approaches.