I've written about the 'Leesburg Grid' a few times here on the blog, but have yet to dedicate a blog post specifically to it.
The Leesburg Grid is a tool for determining what the message of your campaign should be. It is a grid with four quadrants:
Quadrant 1: On Election Day, what does John McCain want voters to think about John McCain?
Quadrant 2: On Election Day, what does John McCain want voters to think about Barack Obama?
Quadrant 3: On Election Day, what does Barack Obama want voters to think about John McCain?
Quadrant 4: On Election Day, what does Barack Obama want voters to think about Barack Obama?
Once we've filled some of the grid out, it will look like this:
When you're finished, look for areas of contrast that favor you. For McCain, "experienced leader" vs. "dangerously inexperienced" is a great area of contrast.
For Obama, "change" vs. "creature of Washington" and "cares about you" vs. "rich" are contrasts that may be worth focusing on.
Consider working through this exercise with another pair of candidates for practice. Lyndon Johnson vs. Ronald Reagan or Nancy Pelosi vs. Harry Reid. You could even do Mickey Mouse vs. Bugs Bunny - the point is to focus on what you would want voters to think on Election Day.
One final point - take a few days to work through this. Get a large sheet of paper and put it on your office wall. Come back to it over the course of a week when you have new ideas. The more traits you put into it, the better it will help you hone your final message. You won't think of everything that might be relevant in 15 minutes.
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