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Obama’s reelection campaign moves into high gear

Like all first-term presidents, Barack Obama has been running for reelection since the day he took office. But recent days have seen a flurry of activity, including the unleashing of Vice President Joe Biden.

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But even before last week’s events, the Los Angeles Times reports, the Obama political machine was hard at work:

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“The campaign has spent months and tens of millions of dollars building an on-the-ground and cyberspace organization earlier and larger than any previous presidential campaign. By January it already had a payroll to rival a professional baseball team, albeit a small-market one. The Obama effort has staff in every state. Its tentacles, which reach into red territory such as Wyoming, are all over the key battlegrounds. It has 15 field offices in Florida and 10 each in Ohio and Pennsylvania. A cavernous Chicago headquarters – 50,000 square feet in a high-rise overlooking the city skyline – is the hub.”

One aspect of that “cyberspace organization” may raise eyebrows.

In a long piece headlined “Obama's campaign is watching you,” Politico.com’s Dave Levinthal reports that “Obama for America has already invested millions of dollars in sophisticated Internet messaging, marketing and fundraising efforts that rely on personal data sometimes offered up voluntarily – like posts on a Facebook page – but sometimes not.”

“According to a campaign official and former Obama staffer, the campaign’s Chicago-based headquarters has built a centralized digital database of information about millions of potential Obama voters,” Levinthal writes. “It all means Obama is finding it easier than ever to merge offline data, such as voter files and information purchased from data brokers, with online information to target people with messages that may appeal to their personal tastes. Privacy advocates say it’s just the sort of digital snooping that his new privacy project is supposed to discourage.”

Obama has good reason to round up all the help he can.

Obama beats each of the four Republican hopefuls in mock elections, and as the economy began to improve (if slowly), his approval ratings had been inching upward in some polls.

But with the recent rise in gas prices, Obama’s approval ratings have notched back downward. And with the recent massacre of Afghan villagers, allegedly by a US Army soldier, American may become more disillusioned than ever with the 10-year war in Afghanistan – now clearly “Obama’s war.”

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