Sure, if measured by "opportunities to see the message" they succeeded. No doubt the media analysts in the White House could show that messages were in fact communicated, and that coverage of their particular issues and battles no doubt did increase steadily during the past 8 years. So by the metrics that most PR people (and particular PR agencies) use today, you could say that it worked.
But measured by the ultimate metric -- did it accomplish the organizations goals and objectives -- those strategies and tactics were a complete and utter failure. Not only did they not fail to accomplish much for the country, but given the state of the Republican party today, they had, in fact the opposite effect, removing power and credibility from most of the people how have wielded it for the past 8 years.
So what happened? In short, social media happened. The power of Twitter, Blogs and all the other media outlets -- in short, the power of people and conversations that enabled truth to win out over lies, transparency to win over obfuscation, hope to win over fear, and unity to win over divisiveness. . its a lesson that should not be lost on the rest of us.
A number of years ago Shel Israel and I had dinner in Chicago and talked about the extent to which social media could change the world. Shel, it already has.