Campaigns often heat up after Labor Day, and a fighting spirit has clearly taken hold at the DNC, which launched an unusual defense of its midterms strategy on Thursday evening.
Organizing for America (OFA), the field arm of the Obama campaign that was rolled into the DNC, released a lacing rebuttal to a new Time article reporting that OFA had become a shrunken "ghost of its former self." The article depicted OFA as an operation abandoned by voters and donors alike, while airing anonymous suggestions that campaign guru David Plouffe was sereptitiously using national funds to "rebuild an army for 2012 under the cover of boosting turnout in 2010." (Plouffe "strongly" denied the charge within the article.) Time added geographic fuel to the fire, too, reporting, "OFA is putting staff into such states as Virginia, North Carolina and Arizona, which have few close statewide races this fall but which are all prime targets in an Obama re-election campaign."
At 5 pm Thursday, OFA posted an official response on the DNC website and circulated the text to reporters. Like the White House, OFA rarely publicizes written rebuttals to specific articles—that would be a full-time job when the subject is the president—and the reply was also striking for its heated tone. Blasting Time‘s Jay Newton-Small as "a misinformed journalist" who did "poor reporting" with a "total aversion to the facts," OFA spokesman Lynda Tran hammered Newton-Small for relying on clueless or anonymous sources, and "falsely claiming that OFA is exclusively focused on turning out ‘surge’ voters."
OFA also unloaded on politicos quoted in the story, slamming Internet strategist Joe Trippi for comments that "convey ignorance about everything from" post-election summits to ongoing field work, and bracketing the oft-quoted Charlie Cook with scare quotes as a "poor ‘expert’" who "has never spoken to anyone at OFA nor attended any events with OFA supporters or staff." Tran continued:
The author also cites the fact that OFA has been active in Virginia, North Carolina, and Arizona as evidence of her conclusion that OFA is more about 2012 than 2010… she leaves out the fact that OFA has offices in all 50 states and organizers and volunteers in all 435 Congressional Districts—an unprecedented field operation in a non-presidential year which has already helped win competitive races in 2009 and 2010… she was told that since January of 2009, 2.6 million new people have signed up for the OFA email list and 5.1 million people have taken action in support of the President’s agenda and his political priorities. Not surprisingly, these facts did not merit mention in the Time Magazine piece because they would have undercut the premise of the story the magazine wanted to write.