Chicago (US), Nov.10 : US.S. President -elect Barack Obama's inner circle of political advisors have said that the Democratic candidate was pretty clear from the beginning of the campaign about the message that he wanted to send out to all Americans, and that made it easier for them to ensure he won the race to the White House.
Key advisors David Axelrod, David Plouffe, Robert Gibbs and Anita Dunn told CBS that with Obama's help and guidance, they orchestrated what some consider one of the most improbable and effective campaigns in American political history.
They took a little-known senator with a foreign sounding name and almost no national experience and got him elected as the 44th president of the United States. They did it by recruiting and vesting millions of volunteers in the outcome, by raising more money than any campaign in history, and by largely ignoring that their candidate happed to be a black man.
And credit to Obama, who during his victory speech last Tuesday night in Chicago's Grant Park, said that had it not been for the "best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics," he would not have made it to the White House.
Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist and political alter ego, said that he was simply overwhelmed by the result.
David Plouffe, the camera shy campaign manager and field general, said that the 22-month-long campaign had a "lotta twists and turns. But you know, I think he (Obama) filled the stage tonight."
Senior aide Robert Gibbs, who is likely to be Obama's press secretary said: "And it was fun to watch all the people come out who've been part of the campaign."
Relative newcomer Dunn handled communications, research and policy.
As far as the role Obama played in this campaign, Plouffe said: "Well, no one had a bigger role, you know. The great thing about our campaign was we didn't have a lotta discussion about what our message was or what he wanted to do. From the beginning, he knew exactly what he wanted to say. And it's one of the reasons we were successful."
"He was pretty clear about what he wanted to say, where he wanted to take the country, and either people would accept it or they wouldn't," he added.
They all claimed that the decision to run for the White House seemed to have been taken on an impulse. There was no money and no real organization - only a vast untapped reservoir of disaffected voters and potential volunteers.
"This campaign can't only be about me. It must be about us. It must be about what we can do together," Obama said in the February 2007 Springfield speech.
Axelrod recalled, "When we started the campaign, we met around a table like this. And there was just a handful of us. You know, we started with nothing. And Barack said to us, 'I want this to be a grassroots campaign. I wanna reinvigorate our democracy. First of all, I think that's the only way we can win and secondly I want to rekindle some idealism that together we can get things done in this country,"
Asked if they seriously thought Obama had a shot, Plouffe told Kroft, "We thought he had a shot. I actually think we knew what big underdogs we were. And he got into this in a very unusual way. Most people plan this from years. They spend a lotta time in Iowa and New Hampshire planning for it. We got into this very unconventionally."
"My fundamental concern for him wasn't whether he had the capacity, 'cause I think he's the smartest guy that I've ever worked with or known," Axelrod said.
"But it was whether he had that pathological drive to be president. You know, so often, what defines presidential candidates is this need to be president, to define themselves. He didn't have that. And, you know, we told him, 'You're gonna have to find some other way to motivate yourself.' And he did, which was what he could do as president."