RNC: Obama's Underperforming

Responding to the Democratic National Committee's scene-setting memo from today, the Republican National Committee sends along this rebuttal.


To: Interested Parties

From: RNC Communications

Date: May 14, 2008

Today, the DNC released a memo attacking Senator John McCain, which is a clear attempt to divert attention away from their own weaknesses as a committee. In point of fact, John McCain has consolidated his position as the Republican nominee and made great strides in bringing independents and disaffected Democrats into his coalition.

Party Unity

One thing is clear in the Democratic primary process – Democrats themselves are deeply divided over whether Barack Obama should be their nominee. Obama has consistently failed to connect with key constituencies vital to the Democratic primary electorate. Union, rural, Catholic, and senior voters have time and time again voted against Obama when given the opportunity. These voters are not only important to Obama in the primary – they are necessary for any Democrat to be successful in the general election.

Obama losses among key groups of Democratic primary voters:


Whether Senator Clinton or Barack Obama becomes the Democratic nominee, either will be faced with the reality that over 16 million Democratic primary participants cast their votes against them. Bridging this fissure within the Democratic Party will be no easy task.

Republicans, on the other hand, are solidly behind Senator John McCain. In most recent polling – including that from Bloomberg/LA Times below – Senator McCain commands a far greater share of his Party’s support than either Obama or Clinton.


Crossover and Independent Appeal

Even more telling is the depth of support that Senator McCain has received from independents and Democrats. Among independent voters, most polling shows Senator McCain running equal to or ahead of Barack Obama – even while independent voters are said to be the strength of Obama’s coalition.

Additionally, the April 28 NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey shows Senator McCain with a 46%-35% lead among Independent voters

Democratic voters are also crossing over to support John McCain by a 2:1 margin. In the same Bloomberg/LA Times poll, 15% of Democrats are leaving Obama to vote for Senator McCain, while less than half of that number of Republicans support Obama.


At a time when John McCain is engaging all Americans on the issues that are important to them, Barack Obama is stuck in a primary process that has handed him defeats in nearly all of his recent contests. Just last night, West Virginia voters showed their preference for Senator Clinton by a margin of over 40 points. This was Obama’s worst defeat of the campaign.

Since his high-water mark in February, Obama has lost the key, high-profile contests in Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. In the latter two contests, his comments to San Francisco liberals behind closed doors that small town voters cling to guns and religion out of economic distress clearly drove away in scores the key voters with which he struggles.

More troublesome to Democrats should be the fact that Obama has been unable to win the key swing states that will determine the outcome of the general election. In addition to his recent losses in the key battlegrounds of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, he also lost the key swing states of Arizona and New Hampshire and failed to even compete in Florida and Michigan.

Senator McCain, on the other hand, is consistently competitive against either potential Democratic nominee. This is most impressive against the backdrop of the overwhelming advantage in paid and earned media that the Democrats currently enjoy. The Democrat field has outspent the Republican field by over 30:1 on television since the February 5 contests (and this is money which cannot be recovered). Additionally, according to the most recent data from Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism News Coverage Index, Senators Clinton and Obama have been the “main newsmaker” or have received “significant presence” in 70% and 67%, respectively, of all news stories about the election.

The Party

The significant financial advantage of the RNC over the DNC also warrants mention. March 31 FEC reports show that RNC has raised over twice as much as the DNC in the first three months of 2008, and currently enjoys a 6:1 advantage in cash on hand. April numbers will be more impressive still, and the McCain campaign, with the RNC, will have more than enough resources to fund all of the programs needed for victory. In addition to fundraising, the vital organizing already has been done in the key swing states, and paid staff is already on the ground managing our voter identification and registration programs.

And while Barack Obama is still campaigning in the primary, Senator McCain continues to travel across the country to events and town halls, reaching voters that candidates from both parties have overlooked in the past. He has delivered major policy addresses on the issues that concern Americans – the economy, housing, health care, and the environment. His record of finding real solutions to difficult problems is long and clear, and his message in recent weeks underscores his commitment.

At this stage in the election, the DNC might consider addressing its own problems rather than manufacturing problems to assign to others.