Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Obama's chess master in Toronto

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 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.

If this true, then no doubt we may well see him visiting Winnipeg to join up again with the online marketing consulting company that helped with their online efforts.

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.

What's certain is that Ottawa will be watching.

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