Tip Sheet: Communications Lessons from the 2008 Presidential Campaign Trail

When I started my volunteer work with the Barack Obama for President Campaign in the frigid Iowa winter in late 2007, we were happy to draw crowds of 750 to 1,000. These were largely comprised of Iowa college kids in Iowa City or blue-collar and black families in industrial Cedar Rapids--in other words, "true believers." When I last left the campaign bus in Texas, after Obama had won 10 primary states in a row, we had just completed an arena rally in Dallas with more than 20,000 people inside--and there were 2,000 people outdoors waiting to hear him speak. Even on this scale, the media relations, PR and public affairs skill sets employed on the political campaign trail mirror what PR pros are doing every day in business. I've been an active "political junkie" with national campaigns for more than 25 years, during which time I've learned that the currency of political campaigns is the promise of future employment, consulting positions and the changing of the guard on K Street.

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