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The Magic Number: Inside Obama's Chase for the Presidential Nomination Paperback – January 11, 2012


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The Magic Number: Inside Obama's Chase for the Presidential Nomination + The Presidential Difference: Leadership Style from FDR to Barack Obama (Third Edition)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ordway House LLC (January 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984934014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984934010
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,266,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jeff Berman served as the National Director of Delegate Operations for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign. After the 2008 elections, he was elected to the Democratic National Committee and its Rules and Bylaws Committee, and appointed to the Democratic Change Commission to recommend changes to the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating process. He previously served as an advisor to presidential candidates John Glenn in 1984 and Dick Gephardt in 1988 and 2004, and as counsel to the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. He and his wife have four children and live in Washington, DC. He is an attorney and a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Johnny Na on March 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
The book starts with a variety of background pieces including a bit of Berman's career and how he came to work for David Plouffe on the Obama 2008 campaign, some history of former presidential nomination campaigns, thoughts about Sen. Clinton's early lead and an instructional anecdote about the kind of effort needed to get just one delegate to commit to a candidate.

By chapter 2 there's a solid crash course in delegate math. After that it's into Berman's description of his early planning for the path through the primaries and caucuses of the campaign. He covers the attempts of Florida and Michigan to bypass DNC rules in order to hold early caucuses and gives a primer on "superdelegates" and how they evolved into such a large number.

He also described some of the tedious, thankless and yet critical work of getting all the petitions and other paperwork filed. If one doesn't file the required signatures for a district, one won't be eligible to earn delegates for that district. (See my example at the bottom.)

Then the voting chronology kicks in. Berman gives a state by state, delegate by delegate narrative as he and his team pursue them in the primary campaign, from the first contest in Iowa to the national convention. He relates how each development, whether crisis or planned, changed the delegate counts as the campaign progressed. The persistence of the effort is amazing. For many readers, it will be surprising how many routes are taken for delegates to become pledged to a candidate.

Much of this material will be familiar to people who closely followed the 2008 Clinton-Obama contest or to regular "political junkies". I followed the campaign closely and this book evoked those few months very powerfully for me.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chris DeRose on March 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is exactly what I was looking for. In David Plouffe's "Audicity to Win," I learned that the Obama campaign was laser focused on winning delegates, as the Clinton camp were relying on the old fashioned model of winning early, drying up their opponent's fundraising, and forcing them from the field. This is the full account of that strategy, from concept to execution.

Jeff Berman is the only person who could have written "The Magic Number." As the person designated with leading the delegate effort, he takes us behind the scenes as he navigates the bizarre patchwork of rules and regulations across the country to get Barack Obama on the ballot, and to maximize his delegates for the Denver convention, and to fend off challenges that could derail the campaign.

Be sure that's what you're looking for in this book. There may be a good reason why you've never seen the delegate selection process portrayed in film or television. But if you want to learn about this critical component of presidential campaigns, this book is the gold standard. If you want the full story of how the 2008 presidential primary was won, this book has got to be high on your list.

Berman is a great writer, making an arcane subject highly readable and engaging.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Allan Katz on April 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This book captures the campaign effort that was required for the nomination to be secured by Obama. Jeff Berman developed and executed the strategy and has written about it in a compelling fashion.Even though the outcome is known, the excitement is captured in this excellent narrative. I highly recommend it.
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