From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

January 13, 2009 at 9:20 PM EST

Despite widely publicized resistance, Barack Obama will have to give up his BlackBerry on Inauguration Day, but will retain his e-mail address book and the 13 million addresses that formed the foundation of the campaign that won him the U.S. presidential election.

The manager of the campaign, David Plouffe, has been lauded as a political chess master partly for his engineering of a 21st-century grassroots initiative anchored in the e-universe.

At an event arranged by the Economic Club of Canada yesterday, Mr. Plouffe spoke to business leaders and several swooning policy makers at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre about, among other things, the political power of the Internet.

Mr. Plouffe, who is working on a book about the campaign, hasn't taken a position in the new administration, but will maintain his ties to the Obama camp through efforts to further harness the potential of the Internet-based network developed during the campaign.

With a boyish smile and hand choreography reminiscent of his former boss, Mr. Plouffe, devoted most of his post-luncheon speech to a trip down campaign memory lane. He drew snickers when he ruefully described his reaction to news that the Republican candidate, John McCain, had chosen Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.

“To say we were surprised is an understatement,” he said.

He spoke only briefly of the e-mails, forwards and video links he believes could be as effective in promoting political causes and policies as they were in promoting his former boss.

“I think it's breaking down barriers, I think it's a way of making people feel more connected to their government – and in our country a lot of people feel disconnected,” he said. “And I think that people feel more connected if you give them more information, or make more information widely available; I think they'll be more trusting.”

Such policy-promoting techniques may be especially valuable to politicians in Canada, where a federal election doesn't promise a four-year term, and where voter turnout in the last election dipped to a record low.

Frank McKenna, deputy chairman of TD Bank Financial Group and a former Liberal cabinet minister who secured a front-row seat to the event, acknowledged that the Obama campaign engaged voters in an enviable way.

“I think we have a lot to learn,” he said.

Toronto Liberal MP Gerard Kennedy, who also attended the luncheon, agreed.

“I think Mr. Obama has something to show us about how to connect with people and get them really engaged,” he said.

Security concerns mean that the fate of Mr. Obama's campaign to save his personal BlackBerry is likely sealed, but the efficacy of Mr. Plouffe's techniques to champion the incoming president's policies, such as his proposed economic stimulus package, is still up in the air.

What's certain is that Ottawa will be watching.




You (Ottawa Mens Centre.com, from Ottawa Capital of Male Gener Aparthied, Canada) wrote: Notice how the Globe & Mail are increasingly refusing to allow comments? The number of articles that invite comment are decreasing and the time allowed for comments is also getting less.
The Globe is quite willing to invite comment about news or issues outside of Canada or on items of little controversy. The more controversial the issue, the more important the issue to Canadians the Globe chooses those articles to restrict comment. When comment is made, it appears the rich and powerful have their influence by threatening litigation to have articles removed regardless of how factual they are or how much of the information contained in those posts is part of the public legal record in Canada or elsewhere. www.OttawaMensCentre.com