By Jody Hope Strogoff & Scot Kersgaard
THE COLORADO STATESMAN
Pat Waak is the Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party. She also is a member of the executive committee of the Democratic National Committee and the Association of State Democratic Chairs.
Waak’s political credentials are long and numerous dating back to her first campaign in 1964. She has worked on presidential, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representative and uubernatorial campaigns. Pat spent 17 years at the National Audubon Society where she headed the Population and Habitat campaign. Her management experience includes several years as Assistant Director for the Center for Population and Family Health at Columbia University. Pat also was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Brazil.
Waak served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the 1994 U.N. International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and was the U.S. Focal Point for the 1999 ICPD plus Five Conference in The Hague, Netherlands. For eleven years, she chaired the population and environment technical committee for the Commission on Environmental Strategies and Planning (CESP) of the World Conservation Union-IUCN. She is the executive producer of video films including the award winning “Finding the Balance” and is the author of a number of publications, including her two book: “Planet Awakening” and “My Bones are Red.”
Waak was first elected on March, 5, 2005 as Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party. During her tenure, Colorado has maintained its Democratic majorities in the State House and Senate, add a U.S. House of Representatives seat in CD 7, elected a Democratic Governor and state treasurer.
Below is the full transcript of the Q&A with Waak. The transcript has been edited for clarity:
Colorado Statesman (CS): What are your feelings about the two different health care reform bills that have passed the House and the Senate? Are you optimistic that they’ll be able to come out with a compromise?
Pat Waak (PW): I started my career as a nurse, including as a Peace Corps nurse overseas and working a lot in poor communities with women and children and families. Health care reform is a passion for me, because I think we’ve seen one of the most essential parts of our economy just ballooning out of reach for the vast majority of people in this country. I say that not only about those who are uninsured, but about those who are either underinsured or find themselves faced with a catastrophic illness that wipes them out.
Are either of the bills perfect? No.
And I get complaints on both ends of the spectrum — the people who want no reform and the people who say this is not enough.
Does it do some essential things? Yes.
Both of the bills, for example, will keep young people on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26 years old. I can tell you case after case of people whose kid graduates from college — can’t get insurance, can’t get a job. They’re going to try to help them. The guy can go anywhere from having a car crash where he’s a paraplegic to just having an accident up on the ski slopes and no money to cover it. That is such a huge thing.
The bill also gives tax credits to businesses for covering their employees. That’s huge, especially for a small business that really wants to do the right thing. You run into a lot of small business people who really want that coverage, but with the economy the way it is now…
I think health care, just like other issues, is an economic issue. If we can do something to provide wellness care — which both these bills do — just think of what we will avoid in the long term to reduce costs in health care.
CS: Are you optimistic?
PW: I’m optimistic that we will get a bill. Is it the perfect bill? No.
I love the fact that Michael Bennet got up on the floor and said, “Shame on you for putting your earmarks in,” because I don’t think that’s appropriate, whatever party.
I’m also horrified at the untruths that the Republican senators have been repeating. A few weeks ago, I was in Washington, and I sat in the Senate Gallery. I had to leave after 45 minutes of watching (Sen. Tom) Coburn and (John) McCain and Tom Bennett and other Republican senators get up and absolutely tell lies about Medicare. These were guys who never supported Medicare, and now they’re telling lies about it, acting like they’re the big friends of seniors. I think the debate has been horrendous in the sense that what it says to the general public watching is, “This is how we make laws in this country.”
It’s very frustrating. It’s frustrating for me, and I’ve been in and out of politics for 40 years. But for the average person who’s just seeing this for the first time, it is very frustrating.
CS: Do you think health care is going to be a major issue in the campaigns in 2010?
PW: No. I think once this bill is passed, it’s passed. That’s not to say there won’t be other health care bills. The fact of the matter is, the president has made it very clear that the next thing on the agenda is the economy. Jobs, jobs, jobs.
CS: Which sounds like what Governor Ritter is talking about.
PW: Whether here in the state of Colorado or even at the national level, it’s got to be about jobs.
That’s what every politician in the state should be talking about. Jobs, jobs, jobs. I think the fact that Governor Ritter brought a New Energy Economy to Colorado — and that it’s creating jobs — is great.
But it’s not great for those people who are still out there looking for employment.
At my age, I don’t worry about job security, but a lot of people do. We have to make sure the people who are being hit the hardest by the economy have an opportunity to live dignified lives. To me, that’s one of the essential, core things.
Speaking on behalf of the average person, I don’t want welfare. I don’t want to have to go to the church to get my diapers. I want to be able to go out and make a decent living to take care of myself and my family. That’s what you hear from people over and over again, and that’s where we ought to be focusing our attention.
I think that was the president’s plan. It’s just that the health care debate has taken much longer than we expected. It’s longer than anybody wanted it to be. A health care bill that jumpstarts the health care economy also means jobs. It’s one of the big places where you can go to find a job.
CS: The Republicans jump on the governor’s claim of bringing X number of new jobs here, and they say we’ve actually lost jobs in Colorado. How do you think the governor’s done in terms of economic development?
PW: I actually have a broader perspective on this because I work with 49 other state Democratic chairs and six territorial chairs, and we talk all the time about the economy. Actually, Colorado’s unemployment rate has been much, much lower than in other states around the country. It’s in the double digits for many of the states.
Ritter coined the term the New Energy Economy, and now the president uses it, and most everybody else does, too. There are a lot of jobs associated with that. I was listening to Ritter this morning on Colorado Public Radio, and he was talking about one of the wind farms.
The people who got the 60 jobs at that wind farm have jobs they didn’t have before. I think Ritter has been visionary in that sense. He’s been a real leader in a field that I think is really important internationally as well as nationally. I think that he’s very, very focused on making sure that his message continues to be “jobs, jobs, jobs” in this next legislative session and in this next year.
In addition to that, he has been very protective of health care, but, more importantly, of education. That’s the other big thing. He’s looked at as being an education governor. I think that, given the budget cuts now, it’s a little more tenuous.
But we didn’t create this economic situation. We inherited it. We’re doing the best we can with it.
Villafuerte’s Nomination for U.S. Attorney
CS: How are things going with your Republican counterpart, Dick Wadhams?
PW: I’m a little upset with him these days.
CS: Do you think he was overly nasty when it comes to Stephanie Villafuerte’s nomination for U.S. attorney?
PW: Yes, yes. The fact of the matter is Dick Wadhams and Pat Waak don’t really matter. What matters are the people who run for office. As you know, I keep under the radar as much as I can. That’s not his style, but that’s fine. But I think this case — hounding someone when you don’t have all the facts — was unprecedented in some ways. I know he does that when he’s in the midst of a campaign, but this was not a campaign.
I’m not sure what he was trying to do, except to get some headlines and maybe go after the governor in some way.
I’ve been an appointee of an administration before. Once the security check goes on, you are unable to defend yourself. Paul Tillich says that one of the greatest anxieties in the world is to be condemned and not able to respond. He says it in different words, but it is that anxiety that we all have that the truth is not being told, and yet we are in a position where we can’t defend ourselves.
That was what we were seeing in this case, and it’s really unfortunate. I do not know Stephanie very well, but everything that I’ve heard about her is that she would have been great in this position and that she did great work on behalf of children and families while she was in the DA’s office. There are so many other political issues out there you can comment on. To go after someone like this was unnecessary.
The 2010 Governor’s Race
CS: Are you nervous that the Governor will face a tough re-election? (EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS QUESTION WAS OBVIOUSLY ASKED WHEN RITTER WAS STILL IN THE RACE.)
PW: I would be foolish to say that it’s not going to be a tough election. The country is hurting in many, many ways. You can’t take anything for granted.
I’m always humbled by politics, because there are so many factors that go into play about how people choose to support one candidate and not the other. I think it’s going to be a tough year for all public servants who are running for re-election, no matter what their party is.
CS: Were you surprised that Josh Penry dropped out?
PW: Yes and no.
We always agonize over primaries, but, still, they’re lovely and wonderful. Party leaders know that they split the party. I’ve gone through this twice. I’m getting ready to go through it a third time, and those wounds aren’t easily healed.
So, in one sense, I thought it was kind of smart for the Republicans to pull together and figure out who the candidate was. I love that they gave us the Contract on Colorado. That is a gift that will keep on giving.
But, moreover, in the joint appearances I had with Dick Wadhams over the last several months, he was really touting Josh Penry and Ryan Frazier. He would say, “I have to remain neutral, but these are the new faces of the Republican Party.”
I don’t know what he must be feeling at this point in private. He won’t publicly say, of course.
To have people come and say, “This is not your candidate,” has got to be tough.
If it were me, I’d say, “Well, no. And I’m not your state party chair, anymore. I don’t need to take this grief when I’m not making those decisions.”
I think Josh made a lot of mistakes early on with things that he was throwing out there — statistics and commentary. And he’s still doing it. So it was probably smart on their part.
I wasn’t sure Scott McInnis could win a primary in this state among traditional Republicans. It’s really going to be interesting to see what happens. How does that affect their turnout in the process?
The 2010 Senate Race
CS: Speaking of primaries, the Democrats have one on the Senate side. Do you feel the primary for the Senate is going to be divisive?
PW: It already is. I was quoted in the New York Times as saying I didn’t really want there to be a primary, and all of a sudden a bunch of people came down and said, “Oh, you’re dissing Andrew.”
Well, that wasn’t my point. Andrew’s a friend of mine, as is Michael Bennet. This is where you have to be humble. You know, I was so glad we weren’t going to have a primary because it’s so easy to really focus in on the other side.
But the fact of the matter is, this is a democracy, and anybody can run.
And that’s the other thing I said to the New York Times, which they didn’t print — it is a democracy. We could have six or seven people get in — like at one point one of the Republican races had — and people will decide.
Will it be divisive? I’m hoping that we can bring people back together afterwards, but I do see some dissension within the county parties between Bennet supporters and Romanoff supporters. I just think we have to work through that.
The fact of the matter is, for the most part, there’s no ill will toward Michael Bennet, that I can tell. He’s actually doing a fantastic job in the U.S. Senate.
CS: Are you assuming that Jane Norton’s going to be the Republican Senate nominee?
PW: I don’t assume that, especially after the mistakes she’s making right now. I mean this whole business with the Department of Education. That’s an issue that’s come and gone in the Republican Party. I don’t know who’s advising her or what’s happening, but I know the Republican Senate Campaign Committee is behind her. But that doesn’t always work to your advantage (laughs).
I’d love to see Ken Buck get the nomination, because I live in Weld County and I know lots about Ken Buck.
I don’t think that you should rule out Tom Wiens either, because if he has the capacity to raise money — which some people think he does — he could give her a good run for the money. Right now, we are tracking all of them, because that’s what we do.
I think Jane Norton, to some extent, is appealing to this fringe group within the Republican Party. You know, one of the things people keep forgetting, especially people in the East who decide to come in and try to pick our candidates for us, is that in the West, the parties are not as traditionally outlined and designed as they are in the East and other parts of the country.
That’s why we have such a huge unaffiliated group here. Within our own parties, we have a wide array of people. What you’re trying to do is build a consensus within your party around a candidate so that you can win an election. Playing to a really radical group makes no sense to me, and that is apparently what Dan Maes is doing. That’s how Jane Norton got herself into trouble.
There’s a part of me that’s kind of sympathetic to what the Republicans are going through, and there’s another part that says, “Go ahead! Just do it!”
CS: The way we conduct elections now is so different than before, with all the electronic media and the Internet. Do you think that’s making a difference?
PW: Certainly blogging is. It’s what we call “new media.” At the DNC there’s a total department separate from the communications office for new media.
I was just at an Association of State Democratic Chairs meeting in Florida, and there was a whole session on new media and how to use it. We tend to do that anyway, because we’ve had a really sharp tech guy in the office. There’s just so much more that you can do. For example, I have used list serve a lot to contact different networks of people. I don’t blog as much these days, because I feel I’m constrained to a certain extent about what I can say in the blogs. But I would post other things that I’m doing in the blogs. I use Facebook all the time.
I was on Twitter until somebody called “GOP Attorney” said he was following me, so I decided that I don’t use Twitter quite as much (laughs).
But Facebook is another way of communicating with people. I have contact with people I went to high school and college with, people I was in the Peace Corps with, and it’s kind of fun. I put up a picture of Ken and I that was taken at the Inaugural Ball, and I got a Facebook comment from two people I was in the Peace Corps with in Brazil in the ’60s. I hadn’t heard from them in ages.
Issues and Candidates
CS: What are the big issues in the party as we come into 2010?
PW: There’s the economy. Obviously, we’ve got to deal with the Energy Bill. My guess is that immigration is going to come up nationally. I don’t know that it will in the state.
The state’s going to have to deal with the economy also — jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs! No more of the extreme social issues. It’s the bread and butter issues that affect people.
I also think that we still have to deal with voter protection, voter access. Has the Secretary of State’s Office cleaned up the database? Things like that. The last cycle went pretty well, but I was in Colorado Springs every week because of what we perceived as voter suppression. I think that those issues are still out there. We’ll be doing a lot more voter registration next year again. We added a quarter of a million people to the Democrats in 2006.
We’re going to be looking at doing more voter registration and pushing mail-in ballots a lot more, because that way we can guarantee that people get their vote. I think those are the big things that are on the plate. There are probably minor issues out there, but we need to be really focused on jumpstarting the economy and making sure everybody’s got a job.
CS: How is candidate recruitment going for legislative seats?
PW: It’s going pretty well. Now Jenny Peak, who’s been running the Democratic State Campaign Fund, is moving over to become the executive director of the state party. I know they’re recruiting a new person to take her job.
Clearly, the seats that we’re going to be focusing on are Bruce Whitehead’s seat, which is the Isgar replacement. Gail Schwartz is up for re-election. John Morse in Colorado Springs. Dan Gibbs, one of our big heroes, will be retiring. He’s really a great guy.
And then there’s Moe Keller’s replacement, where it looks like it’s going to be a primary between Cheri Jahn and Dave Ruchman. So those are the seats. It’s not that we aren’t looking at other seats, but those are the ones we’re really looking at very carefully, because that will mean the difference of keeping the majority in the Senate.
On the House side, we have a lot of primaries in Denver. That’s what happens. You get Democratic primaries because they’re pretty safe seats.
The Prioli seat, which should have been the Rose seat — obviously that’s one we’re looking at, trying to take back. And I think we pretty much have people slotted in for all of those.
There are a few primaries over in Boulder County.
There are always the ones that are won by little margins. Max Tyler is going to run again. He replaced Gwyn Green. Sarah Galardi always wins by a certain little margin, although it’s getting better every year.
Then you have Dennis Apuan down in Colorado Springs, which is a very unusual gain. It’s an under-the-radar race. Actually, the DPI, Democratic Performance Index, there was pretty good. I think that he just needs to get out and work really hard.
And then, Buffie McFadyen’s seat is vacant, so we’ll have a candidate coming into that one, and I know they’re talking to people. The candidate recruitment is going well in general, and I expect us to have a full slate of people running.
CS: Do you feel confident that you can keep control of both chambers?
PW: I feel fairly confident we’ll do really well this next year, but I don’t leave anything to chance. I will be saying to every single candidate, “You need to walk and knock on every single door.”
The state legislative seats and the Senate District seats, for the most part, especially in densely populated areas, are the places you can do that. And, quite frankly, if you don’t want to do that, then you shouldn’t be running.
CS: Do you sense that there’s some disappointment among Democrats with President Obama?
PW: I think there are two different groups. There are the traditional Democrats, who understand how the process works and how difficult it is, and who understand that we inherited this incredible mess of an economy and that it’s going to take a while to wind our way through it.
Then there are the new Democrats, who are very idealistic and who really thought you can just walk in…
CS: And have immediate change?
PW: Exactly. I’ve been there before, when I was much younger, and so I think there is some disappointment there.
But I was just talking to Gabe Lifton-Zoline, who’s the Organizing for America director for Colorado. This has just been the most phenomenal thing. You probably haven’t seen this because they’re out there, but we made 6,000 phone calls this week on health care. He’s got seven people working for him, and they’ve got 3,000 volunteers. Every day, my office is filled. Every single phone is filled with someone starting in the afternoon, into the evening, making phone calls.
Those are the folks that I’d be most worried about because some of them are old traditional Democrats. Some of them are new folks. You kind of worry that those are the ones who are getting disenchanted. But they’re still back in there.
They’re not all Democrats either. One gentleman who sits outside my office is a retired businessman, a Republican. Health care is his issue. He’s wonderful on the phone. I think that it’s kind of a wake up call for them. Government doesn’t work the way they had hoped it would work.
Medical Marijuana and Platform Planks
CS: Will the party be advocating for Sen. Chris Romer’s bill on medical marijuana or getting involved in that issue at all?
PW: No, no. We tend not to get involved in the bills. What we try to do is make sure that voters have access to the members. The only bills that we’ve gotten deeply involved in are anything that has to do with voting. And we usually do that quietly, on the side, by meeting with the leaders who are pushing the bills.
If we don’t like it, we’re going to tell them that we don’t like it. And if we do like it, we’ll say, “This is important to us.”
We’ll do that with the governor’s office, but we tend not to get involved in the individual bills that way.
We don’t get involved with the initiatives, because the ballot initiatives are run by 501(c)3s and (c)4s, and we cannot legally interface with them.
But we’ve gone through a couple of retreats — one with all the representatives, all the elected officials — that occurred in August, and an all-staff one that just occurred recently.
We talked about how to deal with the Platform Committee process next year. Our Platform Committee process is just huge. It starts with the precinct caucuses, moves all the way up to the state, has multiple meetings.
So we want to come up with certain principles and get together again with the elected officials and say, “Here are the principles that we want to reiterate.” Then give that to the Platform Committee at the start to see if we can get them focused in on it.
And we’ll always have someone who wants to do something that’s way off the wall, and then we’re struggling at the last minute to kind of bring them in line. But that’s because we’re a diverse party.
At the last convention, in 2008, we had some disagreement over a Palestinian amendment. They got 15 percent signatures and got to present it to the full group, and the full group agreed with the Platform Committee and not with this group. It’s democracy. Democracy’s messy.
CS: How is the financial condition of the state party?
PW: We’re actually in pretty good shape. Because of the economy, and having just come through the convention and the election, I would have thought people wouldn’t want to give in an off year.
Let me give you a perspective. In 2003, the budget of the state Democratic Party was $250,000. In 2005, the year I got elected, it was $650,000. So it was just that perception of how much more we were doing in an off year. There has not been an off year when we haven’t been terribly busy. This year, we’ve probably spent about $750,000.
I did cut back. I let practically everybody on the staff go. Some of them were ready to move on. I’ve been working again full time. Mike Weissman, who’s now our political director, has been working full time. Our state partnership person, who’s been paid for by the DNC, which is great, is Grace Ramirez. She has been doing outreach and communications. We’ve all been triple jobbing it, basically, all year long. I was really worried — I’m a budget nudge anyway. Can I get through to the summer, or do I have to let everybody go in November, December? We actually probably have about $100,000 left in the bank.
We still have some leftover voter protection legal fees that I’m going to probably pay off by the end of the year, but we’re in pretty good shape. I have a new finance director who’s doing a fabulous job. Debbie Hill’s got a finance committee put together. She’s getting people to serve on the committee that I’ve been after for five years to serve on the committee. Now they’re kind of beginning to ante up and get involved. Of course, we don’t have to compete with the convention, which we did last year.
CS: It almost seems like this has been kind of an election year…
PW: It’s never stopped. I got elected in 2005, when Referendum C and D were on the ballot, and we were mobilizing people to work on that. Then you had 2006 — all major elections.
Then you had 2007, which should have been down time, but we found out we were doing the convention. It was the early caucus. It was trying to get legislation through so we could be ready for the early caucus date, all that stuff was going on. And then we got into 2008, and we’re a targeted state by the Democratic National Committee and the campaign. And then this year…
CS: The election started early.
PW: The election started early, but with Organizing For America in the office — because we work very closely with them — I’m writing op-ed pieces all the time and getting them placed everywhere in support of the president’s agenda. It’s just been as busy as in the middle of an election year.
And 2010 is coming and then we’re right back into it.
CS: What should we do about higher education in Colorado?
PW: I don’t have the answers to that, and I heard the governor talking about putting another commission together to look at it. It’s interesting, because I used to run a center up in northern Colorado. I had two boards. I had a Foundation Board and a Senate Board. The Senate Board was chaired by a professor from UNC who then retired. He talked about what was going to happen in UNC’s future, and his fear was that it was going to privatize and that it would then die because private universities have to raise money. But non-private, state supported systems have to get their money some way, too. I think there must be better minds than mine out there to figure this out. Education’s not my field, although I’ve taught at universities.
I just think it’s another economic crisis. That’s what it really fundamentally gets down to. My theory is that everything’s an economic problem. In the vast array of things, if we are going to prepare young people to take over our jobs, to run this country, we’ve got to educate them. And right now, what they keep talking about is raising the tuition at universities and even community colleges. Or doing away with community colleges, which is an entry point for so many people. We’re facing a huge, huge crisis.
So maybe another commission is the answer. You know, there’s some criticism because they had a commission, but I think that commission was looking at the broad spectrum of education and not specifically at higher education.
I went to Gunnison with Andrew Romanoff a couple of years ago. We were both speaking at the same campus, and he did a roundtable at the state college there and talked to people about education. I’m not sure they know what the answer is. These are bright, bright people who are in the administrations of state colleges.
Maybe we need a closed-door room where we say, “You cannot leave until we figure this out.”
The cycle is if you don’t make enough money, you can’t send your kid to college. Your kid can’t go to college; how can your kid get a job? And so it just becomes this endless cycle.
Plans for 2010
CS: What are your plans for the new year?
PW: I pretty much locked myself into state headquarters this year, running things, because we had the staff cutback. What I’m looking at next year is getting out around the state again, because that’s the focal point for me. When I first started this job, I wanted to get to every single county and sit down with local people and really get my fingers on the pulse of what was really happening.
That’s when I discovered two towns that have no doctor and the ones that are consolidating their schools and the ones where the kids are not coming back.
That’s the hidden Colorado that we don’t see. It’s not that I haven’t talked to those people and haven’t been back to some of these places, but I’m going to start doing a round again, county by county, looking at how things have changed.
Have they gotten better, have they gotten worse? What are the real demands out there? We’ve got some new county chairs who came in through the Obama network, and so I’ll be spending a little more time nurturing them.
I want to do a lot more on youth outreach in the state — I can’t do that but I can certainly mentor some people to do that.
I want to do much more about getting the message out to people. I find that the smaller newspapers around the state, if you approach them individually, will get your message out. Otherwise, they are captive to whoever’s out there saying whatever they want to. Every time I do this, I get e-mail from people saying, “Oh, thank God you put something in our paper about what’s going on.”
I particularly want to take a look at CD 4, because I think that’s going to be the big congressional race. It’s interesting — Betsy Markey has really placed herself well from a financial point of view, to run. Phenomenal. I think that she has really listened to her constituency, too.
I actually texted her on the floor of the Congress during the health care debate and said, “You need to go meet with some of these groups when you get back,” and she did.
She went and met with them and said, “Here’s why I voted the way I did.”
I think that it was a hard district to begin with. Among the Republicans, Cory Gardner stands out, but I have not seen anything that really matches what she’s going to be capable of doing for this next election cycle.
CS: The Republicans clearly are going to target that seat.
PW: Of course they are. Your first targets are always going to be the seats that you lost, and CD 4 is one of them, so it’s going to be interesting to see what happens there. It’s a tough district, a very tough district.
CS: It seems like it’s almost easier in one way to be the loyal opposition, to be coming from behind in Colorado, as Democrats did for many years.
PW: I do think that there’s some validity in that, because it makes you work harder. It makes your ground troops feel that there’s more at stake. Actually, I love the polls that have been coming out.
I have to tell you this story because this is one of my wonderful stories from the campaign last year.
I’m on the bus with Joe Biden and Roy Romer and Ken Salazar, and we’re going from Colorado Springs to Pueblo. I’ve known Joe Biden for a long, long time. We’re sitting there, and we’re talking about this AP poll that had just come out and said either McCain was slightly ahead or it was even.
And I said, “Oh, I don’t believe that poll’s correct,” because I’d seen the early polls in Colorado. I knew what was going on. So he calls his pollster from the back of the bus…
He’s telling me this stuff, and then I looked at him, and I said, “So are you polling people with cell phones? Are you polling newly registered voters?”
Are you polling people who don’t normally vote?
I said, “Your polls are wrong.”
And so my prediction was nine percentage points for Obama, and he won by nine percentage points.
I still think, as someone who’s a psychologist and has done a lot of social science research, we are missing huge groups of people.
And the other question in my mind is, what happens when the president comes to the state and says to the Organizing For America group, “I want you to go caucus for Bill Ritter.”
Or, for that matter, for Michael Bennet? What happens then?
To me it’s not a game. It’s really about people’s lives and what the difference is going to be in their lives. It is, to some extent, making sure that people feel invested enough in what comes next that they’re going to make that effort to turn in that mail-in ballot or get to the polls. That’s where the strategy comes in.