"He's run a campaign where he's used very modern tools, spoke to a new coalition, talked about new issues, and along the way, he's reinvented the way campaigns are run," says Simon Rosenberg, president and founder of the nonprofit think-tank NDN, and a veteran of Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign. "Compared to our 1992 campaign, this is like a multi-national corporation versus a non-profit."
Ironically, it was McCain who first saw the internet's potential in a presidential race, running an experimental set of targeted banner ads during his doomed 1999 primary battle against George W. Bush. But eight years later, Obama finally teased out the net's full potential as an election tool.
The campaign's commitment to online organizing took shape during the primaries, when it hired online director Joe Rospars, a veteran of Howard Dean's web-heavy 2004 campaign, and lured Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes to build its own social networking site, myBarackObama.com.