04/19/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Obama's PA Strategy: The Rendell Way

The Pennsylvania primary is less than two weeks away, eleven days to be exact. Clinton still leads Obama in the polls. But, he has tightened the gap. If he wins Pennsylvania, thats it. Game, I mean, race over.

I'm not the only one who thinks so. Two weeks ago in the New York Times, an Obama backer, who is not authorized to speak for the campaign, had this to say.

We win if we lose by only five points. The immediate goal is for us not to lose by 10 points. But if she loses by a point, she's out.

So, with such high stakes in the Keystone state, I was curious about what Obama's strategy is to achieve a victory.

To my suprise, his game plan can be given a name, I call it the "Rendell Way." PA Governor Rendell, by the way, is Clinton's biggest surrogate in Pennsylvania. His victory in the 2002 gubernatorial primary was unexpected. Political experts and pundits are drawing similarities between Rendell's 2002 win and the Obama campaign's current game plan. I found this article by Steve Volk in The New Republic today quite interesting. Volk wrote:

To maximize these advantages, David Sweet, Rendell's campaign manager in 2002 and an Obama volunteer, says the campaign should follow the governor's strategy: "Win by a huge margin in Philadelphia, a significant margin in the suburbs, break even in Allegheny County, and basically hold on for dear life in the rest of the state." And the Obama campaign, for its part, seems to be trying to do just that.

In a Times article published two weeks ago, David Sweet said basically the same thing:

The Rendell voters are Obama voters [according to David Sweet]. "The Rendell support was urban, southeast, African-American, affluent, liberal, and suburban," Mr. Sweet said. "And the approach was to get a huge turnout in the southeast by a significant margin, run as close as we could in Allegheny and try to hold the margin down in the southwest."

Time will only tell if this strategy will bring Obama to a victory like it did for Rendell. We are living in different times than 2002. The candidates are running their campaigns when the country is at war and in a recession. These major issues have to have some effect on the minds of voters in Pennsylvania. So, Obama can hope this strategy takes him to victory on April 22nd. But, I think it is safer to say that the results will be close and unpredictable, as they have been so far in this race for the White House.

Stay tuned for coverage from Pennsylvania, as myself, and fellow editor, Liz Burlingame, report for from the Keystone State beginning next Friday the 18th.