March 22nd, 2009
08:53 AM ET
5 years ago

Democrats mount nationwide effort to support president's agenda

Three women signed petitions Saturday outside a Virginia subway station as part of the push by Organizing for America, a Democratic organization of the president's grassroots supporters.
Three women signed petitions Saturday outside a Virginia subway station as part of the push by Organizing for America, a Democratic organization of the president's grassroots supporters.

ARLINGTON, Virginia (CNN) - Democrats mounted a nationwide effort Saturday to try and harness the grassroots support, which helped propel Barack Obama's campaign, into support for his administration's initiatives.

Volunteers met in 1,200 to 1,300 locations across the country, organizers said. From a library in Arlington, Virginia, to a park in Brooklyn, New York, to homes and restaurants in California.

In some, participants discussed the president's agenda. In others, they set out to homes, subway stations and farmers' markets seeking signatures on forms in which they pledged support for "President Obama's bold approach for renewing America's economy" and committed to asking friends, family and neighbors to do the same.

The first priority for organizers is the president's proposed budget. This petition drive is part of an effort by the White House and Democrats to help push it. In a video e-mailed to supporters this week, Obama lobbied for it acknowledging that "passing this budget won't be easy" and saying "that is where you come in."

He urged supporters "to head out this Saturday" and "stay involved in the days ahead" by writing letters and making phone calls.

Saturday's project is the first concrete effort by the Democratic Party's new "Organizing for America" initiative to use the network of volunteers to help build push the administration's agenda, although last month the group did host house parties where the proposed stimulus bill was discussed.

Through the information gathered Saturday, organizers are able to continue growing the vast database of supporters' e-mails and text addresses. The Obama campaign's list of supporters was transferred to the "Organizing for America" effort.

But whether the success seen by the Obama campaign in signing up supporters can be replicated when rallying a policy agenda is an open question. Some organizers and volunteers admit it will be a hard sell since there is no excitement and timeliness of a presidential campaign.


At the meeting in Virginia, attendees were told "the campaign continues" and were asked how they as citizens could "keep it going."

Some of the people stopped by the canvassers at a Virginia subway station told CNN it would be easier to build momentum for this if it was focused on one specific item, such as the effort to reform health care, rather than around the broader agenda. Several had volunteered for the campaign but so far have not gotten involved in this new program.

Some others, including three women just out of college and a husband and wife from Indiana who had not done work for the campaign, signed the petitions. They pointed to the bad economy as a reason they would consider working to support the president.

The success of this type of initiative will greatly depend on the energy and determination of such volunteers as Sergio Salmeron, who started a Washington-area club after the election for supporters of the president's policies. His effort Saturday afternoon brought together about 16 people discussing everything from health care reform and whether the president is being inclusive, to foreign policy and whether the administration is on the right track, to the economy.

Mike Signer, who volunteered for the campaign and advised the transition, told the group, "You all are foot soldiers" and said, "He will need your help to win this fight."

Then about half of that group set out to seek signatures at subway stops.


Filed under: Obama administration • OFA • President Obama
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. truthsayer

    Most Americans know that despite the naysayers, negativity and incessant moanng and groaning in the media, that President Obama can not literally turn aroung the greatest economic downturn in our history since the depression in 40 days. We are all in this together and if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem

    March 22, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  2. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    This budget has all the "fierce urgency of yesterday" like the Bush fiscal profligacy.

    March 22, 2009 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  3. susie

    Is ACORN involved in trying to get people to go for his agenda?

    March 22, 2009 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  4. Lori

    Good job Democrats. You need to make yourselves more vocal and show your support for our President (who the vast majority of Americans support). We must not let the Republicans (who messed up this country in the first place) rewrite history and act as if they NOW all of a sudden have the answers to the mess they created!!!

    Glad to see the show of Democrat support. Keep it up! America is willing to give the President time to have his policies and agenda work.

    March 22, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  5. sngeorgia

    This is part of the Mandate we elected him to do......This is the 'peoples' Country.......and we will speak, not out fo politics but out of what's good for our country. We are tired of allowing those that are in office for Self Gain set the Agenda for us...the TAXPAYER

    March 22, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  6. max

    This isnt the worst economy since the great depression. Carter's policies caused a worse recession than we are in now. Higher interest rates, higher unemployment and higher taxes than we have now.

    The stimulus hs been poorly thought out and even more poorly executed. Even if you only count as high as 1.5 trillion, that would have paid every states budget for a year and given the states the chance to actually fix their major problems. California couldve fixed their public employee pensions, ny could have fixed its infrastructure, etc. Instead we have more of a mess.

    At least we kept control of the money at the federal level so we know its use is being watched closely.... oh yeah, that didnt quite work out, did it?

    March 22, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  7. Greg Tock

    I support the efforts of those who want to get the word out ... but, have they read the budget? Tick Tock

    March 22, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  8. Desmond

    Obama is doing a sterling job.

    We will always get a bunch of nincompoops who cannot make a positive contribution and so try to get attention by mindless negativity. Some ofthese folks actually got elected to office?

    March 22, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  9. shi_Light

    President Obama needs to stop speaking hard things for himself. When you confess that something is going to be hard how else can it be anything but what you ordered. He needs to start saying things are going to be easy. He should take away all those negative words that he speaks and throw them into the sea of forgetfulness. He should not let anything but positive words out of his mouth. It is written as a man thinketh in his heart so is he. I man's belly is satisfied by the fruit of his mouth. The fruit of your mouth is your words. If you confess ( speak ) a lemon you get a lemon. If ask for an apple you get an apple. If you confess difficult you get difficult. If you confess easy you get easy.

    President Obama needs to start say this is going to be easy all we have to do is just do it. For God's sake.stop putting God on hold. He is ready to help you now.

    March 22, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  10. ObamaLover

    Obama is awesome. Everyone needs to support whatever he wants to do!

    March 22, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  11. tim

    Wow, time and money signing up meaningless yes we support you pledges, how about stop looking at opinion polls and doing this crap and fill the undersecretary positions at the Treasury already, my patience is wearing thin on the big brother excuse. At some point you won't be able to point back at Bush and blame everything on what you inherited.

    March 22, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  12. Fan of Common Sense

    You know, when I see all the morons out there who still refuse to open their eyes to what a fraud and a shyster Obama is, I start to understand how such social phenomena such as "Jonestown," the "Branch Davidians," and the "poisnous-applesauce-comet cult" out in San Diego happened.

    I guess there are people out there who are so delusional and whose menalities are so low, they just simply cannot (or will not) see what is obvious to people of normal intelligence and rationality. Then of course there are people who are simply LOSERS who feel as though they cannot compete in a capitalistic free market system and, therefore, embrace SOCIALISM.

    March 22, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  13. ssmmac

    Well, lets see? The Feds printed another trillion dollars and immediately everybody's net worth dropped 6-8%. Gee, I think this happened to democrats and republicans as well. You all figure it out.

    March 22, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  14. James

    Obama doing what he does best "community organizer" instead of President of the United States. Guess that's the extent of his experience and leadership.

    March 22, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  15. JonDie

    Hope. Change. Obama.

    or

    Despair. Depression. Every Republican.

    March 22, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  16. Rick

    The DEMONCRATES are after your money. OBAMAS AGENDA IS TO SPREAD YOUR MONEY TO THE OTHERS. Obama and his Admninistration will cause banks to collapse, the economy to shrink more and make everyone dependent on the DEMONCRATIC DICTATORS, Obama's agenda will cause TAXES TO BE INCREASED AFTER THE RECESSION, WATCH AND SEE, Obama is not the savior he may be the other.

    March 22, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  17. Stu-Florida

    AAAhhhhhhhhhhhhh...
    The UNITED States once again.
    With our support, hard word and dedication, it can only get better.
    Way to go Obama... way to go America!!!

    March 22, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  18. Charlie in Maine

    Alright lets roll Democrats! Show us why you won this election. Hint, it wasn't so you could satrt infighting. Do what's best and don't be slow about it. If the Republcans help, Great. If not, mow em down.

    March 22, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  19. Jon

    spend money to make money. YOu cant spend money that goes now where that does not bring money back to fixs the dbet

    March 22, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  20. Jack from MI

    OBAMA compared bankers to SUICIDE BOMBERS?!?!

    What was he thinking???

    ==========

    """Obama is awesome. Everyone needs to support whatever he wants to do!"""

    And that type of devotion is more dangerous than any Wall Street corruption.

    =======

    This is serious people

    March 22, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  21. Ed

    First, I supported Obama and donated to his campaign. Obama "talked the talk", but he has failed to "walk the walk". He campaigned for open, honest, and transparent government and so far his administration is anything but that. I still support "open, honest, and transparent" government, but I can't support a public campaign to whitewash the lies and deceipt emitting out of Washington now. Restore integrity and I'll reconsider.

    March 22, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  22. HEIDI

    I belive in getting the true opinion on the American people. You won't here it in the Media whose sole purpose is ratings. I beleive in his policies and I think that in due course and over time we will see the chagne that we have been looking for in this country.

    I received my tax refund and got $618 more back. I have sent that kind a refund since 2000. I also got the firs of my additional $65 a month on my paycheck. It was 3-12-09 not April.

    Every little bit helps and I for one am impressed and rooting for the great job that our President is accomplishing for our country.

    March 22, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  23. gary

    get rid of pelosi ,reid, dodd and barny frank, and this one democrat who turned independent might return to the party

    March 22, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  24. Sue

    Oh Rick, give it up. Obama is not Satan, and unlike Bush, he actually believes in the Constitution. I do not understand the hatred for this guy after what we went through with Bush for eight horrendous years. Obama will operate within the law, will try to do what is best for the country, and he, unlike Bush, actually realizes that there are people in this country who are starving and homeless through no fault of their own, and need our help.
    And to the ACORN nuts, why don't you do a little research and see what the group is really about, instead of listening to Rush and Hannity lie about them?

    March 22, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  25. Shelby

    Enough of the pep rallies. Do these volunteers have something more important to do than relive the campaign? Oh, that's right, unemployment has given them all the free time they need to run a perpetual popularity movement for BO.

    March 22, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
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