by Ted Manna
American Reporter Correspondent
January 2, 2008
HOW OBAMA WILL WIN
DENVER, Jan. 1, 2008 -- Federico Peņa, national co-chair of Ill. Sen. Barak Obama's campaign, provided a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a presidential election to the American Reporter Monday, putting a New Year's Eve exclamation point to a momentous year in politics.
The attorney and former Denver, Colo., mayor, who also served as Secretary of Transportation under President Bill Clinton, now predicts that the whole Iowa process could result in a three-way tie, advantage Obama.
"We are very pleased," he said Monday from his home in Denver. "People didn't think we would even be in this place. Advantage Obama because if there is a three-way tie, it will be grass-roots, ground troops organization, not money, that wins.
As he took a call from his wife on another line telling him Obama had just received North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad's endorsement, another New Year's Eve revelation, Peņa described in detail what role he has played and the contributions he had made to the campaign strategy.
"This is not a short race; it's a marathon, " he said. "We are in 22 states. I've been to Iowa, Nevada: I've advised the campaign on a number of policy positions," he said.
"This is not a throwaway political line," Peņa insisted. "It's going to come down to who has the best ground operation. I have to say, we have an extraordinary ground operation in Iowa and New Hampshire."
"People want real change," he stressed. "They want to see the political envirnoment change. Barak has the best ability to effect that change and to work on the people's agenda. Four years ago McCain was the change guy."
Commenting on New York Mayor Bloomberg's third party rumblings, Peņa said, "There's been rumors about this for months. It's too late. There's already a number of Republican candidates They should have started last year Money won't help. Look what happened to Romney, to Ross Perot."
He all but derided the idea of a third party as a death knell for the Republicans, citing that the last time that happened, Ralph Nader took the margin of victory away from Vice-President Al; Gore,.handing a victory to President George W. Bush .
The same scenario unfolded when businessman and billionaire Ross Perot challenged incumbent President George H.W. Bush and then-challenger Bill Clinton, defeating the elder Bush. "This is a possible scenario. After four states, the candidates are neck and neck," he said. "This is very possible, because even if one candidate wins by a few points, it's not going to be enough to sway anyone.
'It's what happens after January [that counts]. We are making sure that we are ready for Feb 5. We are well organized. We are better organized than any other candidates. We are in 22 states getting ready for February. We have five offices [here] in Colorado and we're going to open five more in the next week. We have our precinct captains working, calling. I've had three calls this week already. And these are volunteers. It's organization that will win in February and in Arizona, California, and New York.
"Money is important, but we have volunteers by the thousands all over the country."
They also have the powerful ability to move these people all over the country at will, said. Ray Rivera, head of the Colorado campaign, who spoke with the American Reporter from a snowy parking lot in Iowa as his people got ready to hit the streets in Mid-December, one of many such trips he's making. Periodic jaunts by auto-caravan are common, as are strategic events, call centers and even walks through the target precincts.
They are also stealthy, arriving quietly and going to work with little fanfare. They're dedicated, and when these guys turn their sights on an objective like they have just done in Iowa, the other candidates have nightmares, Rivera says."Watch out, New Hampshire."
"If we're tied, we are going to show our muscle," Peņa promised. "If Hillary wins in Iowa and we are right behind her, that's still to our advantage. If we win, that momentum will carry to New Hampshire and South Carolina."
Peņa insisted there was no talk of running mates at this point.. "Barak is a very grounded individual. What I mean is, it's like sports: you only concentrate on the next game."
Peņa's predictions have come true in the past. In a previous interview with the American Reporter, he said that as more people get to know Barack, they will vote for him. He told the American Reporter in November the debates did nothing to hurt Barack and noted all the early grassroots efforts would be key. Few would argue with him now.