The Cycle

Obama’s comms team looks to the ‘Bush model’

Sunday’s New York Times Magazine featured an in-depth of Obama’s communications strategy. Among the notable insights from the piece is speculation that Obama’s tightly-controlled communications strategy will mirror President Bush’s media policy, in some ways. The Times‘ Mark Leibovich writes:

[Obama’s campaign manager David] Plouffe himself admitted to me that the Obama campaign subscribed to the ‘Bush model’ of communications discipline. Asked if Obama himself spoke of the ‘Bush model,’ Plouffe told me he did.

‘We talked a lot about the Bush model, which is that there are a few people who really know everything,’ Plouffe told me in early December. That helps ensure an airtight bubble of knowledge…Like the Bush model, the Obama model also clearly allowed for combat with the press, sometimes extending to punishment, which was usually doled out by Gibbs.

In the course of the campaign, especially at the end, a smattering of reporters claimed that they were left off the Obama plane in retribution for negative reports they had filed or for the perceived sins of their news outlets (i.e. endorsing John McCain).

But Leibovich quickly points out there are clear differences between the two. For one, Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, will probably have a deeper - even closer - relationship to the president than any of the Bush press secretaries.

I’m curious to know what others thought of the piece. Any thoughts?

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