Top 5 take-aways from the 2012 Institute of Politics Campaign Managers Conference

Watch: Ana Navarro, John King, Gwen Ifill and Jim Messina give their three biggest surprises from the 2012 presidential election.

Every four years in the weeks following the presidential election, the Institute of Politics invites campaign managers from every presidential candidate to the IOP for a two-day conference. The media is invited to ask questions as those closest to the presidential campaigns share secrets, strategy, tactics and regrets.


  1. Romney spent a lot of time preparing for the debates

    According to Governor Romney's campaign advisors, the former Massachusetts Governor put a lot of effort into preparing for the presidential debates. IOP Director Trey Grayson recalled the discussion, saying Romney fully participated in over a dozen intensive debate preparation sessions. 

  2. The Obama Campaign waited until afer the DNC to go "all-in" in Florida

    The Obama team spent more money to define Romney after the primary and before the Republican National Convention. The decision to go start seriously campaigning in Florida did not come until after the DNC when campaign managers realized they had a shot at winning the state.

  3. Door to door knocking is still the best campaign tactic

    Senior advisor to Barack Obama Jim Messina told us, "The single most surprising thing that we learned is that door knocking matters more than anything. With the huge explosion in media dollars and how much T.V. everyone buys, we learned the single most persuasive thing you can do is have a friend or neighbor talk to a swing voter about why they're supporting the president."

  4. Facebook is still has massive reach 

    President Obama supporters were Facebook friends with 98% of U.S. voters. 

  5. Romney campaign manager regrets immigration stance

    Senior campaign advisor to Mitt Romney Matt Rhoades said he regrets how far right the Romney campaign went on immigration. In hindsight, the stance was to compete with Texas governor Rick Perry but most likely alieniated Latino voters. 

Listen to the discussions on the IOP website and read coverage from other media outlets who attended.