Jonathan Alter

  • Aired:  06/05/13
  •  | Views: 5,174

Jonathan Alter explains how Barack Obama's young geek volunteers crushed Mitt Romney's "Mad Men" campaign during the 2012 election. (5:37)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A JOURNALIST

WHO HAS A NEW BOOK ABOUT

PRESIDENT OBAMA CALLED "THE

CENTER HOLDS."

YEAHH BUT THE CENTER HOLDS BUT

THE EDGES ARE FRAYING LIKE A SON

OF A BITCH.

PLEASE WELCOME JONATHAN ALTER.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]

GOING DOWN, ALTER.

>> YOU MIGHT BE GOING DOWN.

Stephen: I'M NOT GOING DOWN.

MITT ROMNEY WENT DOWN

BECAUSE YOU AND THE LIBERAL

BUDDY BRIGADE WHO ARE CIRCLING

THE WAGONS AROUND YOUR FRIEND

OBAMA HAVE NOTHING TO DEFEND

ANYMORE.

WE'LL GET TO YOUR FAILURE OF

TRUST IN THIS FRAUD OF A MAN IN

JUST A MOMENT.

BUT FIRST LET'S TALK ABOUT YOUR

GREAT NEW BOOK.

>> ABSOLUTELY: YES, THE CENTER

HOLDS, OBAMA AND HIS ENEMIES

>> Stephen: WHAT DO YOU MEAN THE

CENTER HOLDS?

ARE YOU SAYING THIS GUY IS A

CENTRIST?

>> I AM ACTUALLY

Stephen: HE IS NOT A

CENTRIST.

A, HE'S A RADICAL SOCIALIST.

B, THE CENTER TENDS TO BE, YOU

KNOW, CREAMIER.

>> SO THIS IS THE FIRST OOK OUT

ABOUT THE MONUMENTAL

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 2012.

>> Stephen: THIS IS THE 2012

ELECTION BOOK.

>> BUT MORE.

THE REASON IT'S CALLEDDTHE

CENTER HOLDS IS IS NOT JUST IN

TRIBUTE TO W.B.H., YOU KNOW,

THINGS FALL APART, THE CENTER

CANNOT HOLD, BUT BECAUSE I DO

SEE OBAMA AS WHILE A LITTLE LEFT

OF CENTER, HE IS DEFENDING THE

CONSENSUS OF THE 20th

CENTURY THAT GOES BACK TO

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT

>>>Stephen: YOU MEAN...

OCIAL SECURITY

tephen: IT'S A FAILURE.

IT'S GOING TO FAIL.

MEDICARE WE CANNOT PAY FOR IT.

>> YOU ARE THE RED CAL

Stephen: I'M NOT THE RADICAL.

HE IS THE CENTRIST

Stephen: I'M AN ORIGINALIST.

I WANT TO GO BACK BEFORE WE HAD

THE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT.

I WANT TO GO BACK BEFFRE THE

PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT.

>> YOU ARE QUITE SIMILAR TO PAUL

RYAN

>> Stephen: IN THAT WE BOTH DO

P-90X.

>> RYAN AND THE YAN PLAN

REPRESENTED A RETURN TO A

PRE-NEW DEAL AMERICA.

THAT'S WHERE I THOUGHT THE

STAKES WERE SO HIGH.

AT THE END FOR ALL OF OBAMA'S

TRULS RIGHT NOW, THE CENTER DID

HOLD.

WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE A

RADICAL RIGHT WING TAKEOVER OF

THE UNITED STATES.

>> Stephen: HOW DID HE GET

RE-ELECTED THOUGH BECAUSE THIS

IS A CONSERVATIVE COUNTRY AND

EVERYBODY KNOWS IT.

HOW DID HE GET REELECTED?

>> THERE WAS A DEEP GAP BETWEEN

ROMNEY AND OBAMA

>> Stephen: WHAT IS THE DEEP

>> THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN HAD THESE

20-SOMETHINGS IN A CAVE

>> Stephen: A LITERAL CAVE.

TO THE OBAMA CAMPAAGN

HEADQUARTERS IN CHICAGO WHERE

THEY WORKED IN SECRET MAKING

ALGORITHMS, MODELS.

>> Stephen: HE LIED ABOUT THAT

TOO.

IT'S A SECRET.

>> HE HAD PROFESSIONAL POKER

PLAYERSS CHILD PROPERTY GEE,

BIOPHYSICISTS AS WELL AS THE

DATA SCIENTISTS.

>> Stephen: THAT SOUNDS LIKE THE

LEGION OF OOM.

>> IT'S AN AMAZING STOOY BECAUSE

WHAT THEY WERE ABLE TO DO WAS TO

MICROTTRGET SO THAT THE

CANVASESSERSS THE PEOPLE, MANY

OF WHOM...

>> Stephen: HUNDREDS OF

THOUSANDS OF EOPLE GOING AROUND

THE COUNTRY.

>> TWO MILLION

Stephen: THAT'S MANY HUNDREDS

OF THOUSANDS.

>> THEIR WORK AND THE WAY THEY

CRUSHED ROMNEY...

>> Stephen: CRUSS IS A STRONG

WORD.

CRUSH IS A STRONG WORD.

JUST SAY HE LOST AND MOVE ON.

>> HE LOST BY FIVE MILLION

VOTES.

BUT ROMNEY WAS A SELF-DESCRIBED

NUMBERS GUY BUT HE WAS RUNNING

WHAT HIS PEOPLE CALLED A MAD MAN

CAMPAIGN OUT OF THEE1960s.

HIS GUYS SOME OF THEM WORKED ON

REAAAN'S 1984 CAMPAIGN WHEREAS

IN CHICAGO, YOU HAD THESE GEEKS

WHO WERE DESIGNING WAYS TO, FOR

INSTANCE, TAKE ON-LINE FUND

RAISING FROM 15 MILLION A MONTH

TO 150 MILLION A MONTH.

THEY COMPLETELY CRACKED THE

CODE.

THE EMAILS WERE ANNOYING AS

HELL.

BUT WHAT THEY...

>> Stephen: I DID NOT SIGN UP

AND I GOT THEM.

>> THEY STUDIED THIS.

THEY HAD ALL KINDS OF TESTS.

THEY FOUND OUT THAT THE BIGGEST

CONCEPTUAL BREAKTHROUGH IN THE

CAMPAIGN AS THE GUY RUNNING THAT

DIGITAL TEAM THAT YOU'VE GOT TT

GET OVER YOUR FEAR OF BEING

ANNOYING.

ONCE THEY DID, THEY FOUND THAT

THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO

UNSUBSCRIBE WAS MUCH LOWER THAN

THE EXTRA MONEY THEY WOULD GET

BY SENDING OUT MORE APPEAL.

>> Stephen: I UNDERSTAND HE'S

GOT LIKE THE GENIUS TEAM THAT

NEVER BEFORE IN THE CAMPAIGN.

VERY IMPRESSIVE AND VERY

ORGANIZED AND DRIVEN AND

FOCUSED.

WHY CAN HE NOT DO THAT IN HIS

JOB?

>> WELL, I THINK HE GOT A LOT

MORE ACCOMPLISHED THAN PEOPLE

RECOGNIZE

>> Stephen: CERTAINLY MORE THAN

I'LL GIVE HIM CREDIT FOR.

>> OBAMA CARE IS A PRETTY BIG

CHANGE NOT A RADICAL ONE.

IT'S A CENTRIST ONE

>> Stephen: ABSOLUTELY A RADICAL

CHANGE.

JONATHAN, I LIKE YOU.

YOU'RE A FRIEND BUT YOU'RE

WRONG.

>> YOU GOT THE CLOCK CLEANED ON

THIS

>> Stephen: MY CLOCK IS FILTHY.%

YOU WOULD NOT WANT TO EAT OFF MY

CLOCK, SIR.

JONATHAN, THANKS SO MUCH FOR

COMING.

JONATHAN ALTER.

THE BOOK IS "THE CENTER HOLDS."

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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