So now we know why Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown called Stephanie Cutter "a James Carville on estrogen."
Brown was introducing Cutter, President Obama's 2012 deputy campaign manager, Wednesday morning at a National Democratic Institute panel discussion on technology, women and democracy at the Washington Ritz-Carlton.
Meanwhile, in the outside world, the news was breaking that Cutter, along with her Romney campaign counterpart Kevin Madden, would be joining CNN as a contributor.
But did this suddenly make her feel all warm and fuzzy about the mainstream media? From her remarks Wednesday morning, the answer seems to be no.
Cutter recalled John Kerry's swiftboating in 2004. "That started on the Internet and we didn't pay attention to it, we thought it would stay on the Internet and not migrate its way into mainstream press," she recalled. "It festered for a very long time and eventually made its way into the mainstream press." She continued and noted how the media was still "the primary culprit for attacks" on Obama, explaining that to stymie this, the campaign set up an Obama "Truth Team."
In addition, the campaign used Facebook to its advantage. "So Obama has about 33 million 'Friends of Obama' — in total, if you looked at the first lady's Facebook page, the vice president's, we probably had 45 to 50 million people that we could reach on Facebook — and this is not paid advertising on Facebook, that's a whole different animal," she explained. "Of the 'Friends of Obama' on Facebook, they are then friends with 90 percent of all Americans on Facebook."
This reach allowed the campaign to pinpoint the friends of "Friends of Obama" who could be persuaded to register to vote and then vote for the president. And, since it was coming through Facebook friends, the peer pressure aspect made it more effective. "It was a much more trusted conversation with those friends, than if they had heard from [the campaign], and they were much more likely to take action."
But, most importantly, it allowed the campaign to accomplish a goal. "So it was an enormous tool for us to have that personal conversation, but also bypass the media," she said. "Which was great," she added to laughs.