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. Obama - NOPE

    Americans voted for Obama because they liked him, not his policies. America has not suddenly become liberal or gone back to the Great Society. Once they've had a better look at who they got for their vote, with Pelosi, Reid, Frank, and the rest of them, they'll sober up from this temporary case of Obamamania.

    March 22, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. Lori

    @Rick:

    You stated 'The Democrats are after our money.' That's what taxes are for. To spend on us- Americans. I guess it was o.k when the Republicans were REDISTRUBING OUR WEALTH ON THE IRAQI PEOPLE!!! Huh?

    As for you stating 'the Obama administration will cause the banks to collapse.' Are you kidding me? All I hear from Republicans (ie, John McCain) is that the President should make the banks fail. Do you read? Do you watch CNN?

    March 22, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  3. Howard Church

    You people are unbelievable! Petitioning to support his unconstitutional agenda. Every move he has made so far is one more step to destroying our country! His joke of a treasury secretary, and his ridiculus trillion dollar budgets are not sustainable and the top financial experts know this. His agenda(stimulus) is not much of a stimulus, since most of it doesn't take effect for 2 to 3 years. That is not a stimulus! It's straight out spending that we cannot afford! You people are blatantly ignorant and need to reread your history and understanding of how the Constitution sets up the balance of powers. Everything taking place right now has been written about and warned against, and you are choosing to ignore that fact. Those who support his redistribution of wealth, are just lazy and looking for a handout, and you prefer a socialist government to take care of you. It a shame! If that's what you want, move to Europe, we are better off here without you and remaining a free republic!

    March 22, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. annie - Palin 2012

    Maybe before these acorn people set out to promote bo's agenda, they should take a look at it. Oh, that's right acorn got our taxpayer money in the stinkulus pkg and control of the census bureau. Also, maybe they could encourage their leader to go to work. 2 tv appearences this wk., camp david every weekend, party night every Wed. with $100 per pound beef and our country is in a very bad situation. Just staying in the white house would save $1000's and some of those tax dollars come from special needs people who are working and are taxpayers.

    March 22, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. annie - Palin 2012

    To the obama-lover: Your attitude is exactly why this country is in the mess it is in! You and the rest of America hire these people to work for us! Regardless of party we need honest, hardworking (for us and our country) and intelligent 'human beings' in all political positions. Just look at all the lies that was told in just this week alone.

    March 22, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  6. Joanna

    I support his agenda! Everything is connected and long long over due. Wake up America, we are way behind!!!!

    March 22, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  7. John S

    While my country's economy is in better shape than yours, we still hope and pray that America gives Obama the time to correct the mess of your last adminstration. It took many years for your economy to tank. Right now you have people screaming about what Obama is doing. Making false statements about spending and taxes, and saying Obama's economic plan is all wrong. Well, where were all these Republicans when George Bush Jr. was spending trillions and trillions while putting all Americans and their children and grandchildren into dept for years to come. Your national debt was no concern to them then, so why is it a concern now?Almost every major economist say the same thing. Obama is following their exact advise. America needs to spend money to get the economy moving again. Do Republicans understand that? To do nothing would put your country into the worst Depression it has ever seen. You would have millions upon millions of people out of jobs, homes and with nothing to look forward to. The Depression that would happen would last years if not longer. Half the population of your country would suffer like never before and would eventually consume everyone. Inaction on Obama's part would be irresponsible and cause your country to die a slow painful dead which eventually would consume the entire world. Just thank God you have a person in charge who understands that doing nothing or trying to correct the problem with more tax breaks for the corporations and huge businesses out there that have been getting welfare on the backs of average Americans, just doesn't work. Most of us outside the US of A just cannot understand why 35% of Americans would harm themselves and their children but not supporting what their new admistration is trying to do. If most of these people would do their own research and find out for themselves why it would be suicide not to do what Obama is doing, I think they would discover that his way is the best way for them to all succeed. Think about this. If the Republicans get their way and push Obama to failure. No one will have to worry about the next party in office. America as you know it, will cease to exist.You will be even lower than a third world country.

    March 22, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. Neutralizer

    Yup! support agenda of PROPELLHEAD to put this country heavily in debt.. Propellerhead is adding $9.3 TRILLIONS in the next decade the HIGHEST RATIO against our GDP since the 40's. It means even if the government INCREASE TAXES to EVERYTHING, the money the federal government would be taken in is NOT enough to pay our debt!

    Only IDIOTS will support agenda of PROPELLERHEAD and Democraps!

    March 22, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. P. Y.

    I really love the way everybody remarks about not leaving our children and grandchildren with debt. Tell me, what is the alternative. Should we leave them with tent cities like the people are living in in California, or should we at least try to leave them something a little better. No one, no one that is Republican anyway, worried about what was being left to them when Bush was creating this mess. Wake up people ! We can not lessen the debt until we fix the mess that has been created the past 8 years. Obama has just had 60 days. Lets at least give the man a chance. Once his programs have a chance and start picking up the economy, we will all be surprised at how fast the debt will become a deficit.

    March 22, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. Richard A. Spomer, Alexandria, VA

    Dear President Obama,

    You mean to tell the general public, and the citizens for which voted in your behalf that you are going to play politics, lies, deception, and go against the will of voting America. Sir I live on my Social Security Disability; and you need to inform everyone that receiving Social Security is in-fact being taxed on theirs as well.

    Mr. President You should also let the citizens of this great nation know of the budget faults and deceptions which will fail to help after the long run we will be back were we are now if not worse off, and upon the people of this great nation. You should infract resign from office if you are going to back one of a known liar as for AIG brouhaha, and the bounces.

    How can we continue to support another Bush like croney? This is a better Country and we need a better leader, one that will not turn everything to the socialistic society and harm everyone by taxation with out representation; along with over burdening others for his EGO's gratifying measures.

    March 22, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. Basrry in Maryland

    Hey annie – Palin 2012. Is Sarah Palin really your idea of an 'honest, hardworking intelligent human" in a political position? You could help your credibility by practicing what you preach in who you support.

    March 22, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  12. Debby, NJ...foot soldier 'til 2016

    All the negative talk here are the same IDIOTS who voted for 2 terms of BUSH and will never seek CHANGE because they are bigots and refuse to even try to agree with any of President Obama's agenda's. That is exactly why President Obama will be in office for 2 terms. The naysayers hate the fact that the President has the majority support. I for one will be out getting signatures.

    March 22, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. w.l. jones

    We are a country of law and demand,We buy and demand company produce more which somebody have to work internaly expand our economic. These young volunteers is smart and they know what kind of country they want to build they can say we the people built the system that better serve our children.

    March 22, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  14. Patriot Guy

    I bet not a single person who has signed a petition or who has written a letter or a email in response to this effort could tell you ANYTHING that is in Obama's budget. They do it simply because THEY LIKE HIM.....the same reasons they voted for him in the first place. (He has nice abs and a pretty smile.) It scares the living h*** out of me that so many people in this country can be so unbelievably stupid, ignorant, and intellectually lazy. It's like the "cult mentality" but on a national scale.

    March 22, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  15. Happy Camper

    Better hope China continues to buy our worthless debt. If not, the game is over and all your welfare and prisons will be gone.

    March 22, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. lucy

    Obama is not a Jesus, he cannot make mirracles. Although I don't participate in collecting signatures, I certainly DO SUPPORT HIS AGENDA and I DO TRUST HIM.

    March 22, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. tired of the lies

    Where is your article of the 4000 strong tea party in Orlando FL protesting his wasteful socialist agenda? Please report the truth for a change!

    March 22, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. Looking for shelter

    So this is how Jesus became so popular – by a group of fanatics that cant form their own thoughts.

    March 22, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  19. Bud Burgoon-Clark

    The Rethuglicriminals (sic) caused this mess; no amount of spinning by the war criminals of the BuschReich (sic) can obscure THAT fact.

    It was Reichsfuehrer Bush II who mortgaged our grandchildrens' future ... those illegal wars are costing us HOW many billion dollars a year?

    Look up "neo-fascist business oligarchy" ... THEN look up Halliburton's and Blackwater's profits for the last eight years.

    March 22, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. Scott, Tucson

    Obama may be in trouble if his democratic supporters feel they must get out to mount a nationwide campaign to support his policies. We usually see problems like this at the tail end of a presidency, not at the start of it.

    March 22, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  21. Keep TEXAS RED

    That's right all of you blind lemmings who BLINDLY supported this idiot in the first place get out and support whatever he wants to do. Then watch him dole out welfare to illegals and people who don't work, raise taxes on those who do contribute, and institute European socialism. All you who voted for him really did a great job ruining the country! Thanks!

    March 22, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. Republicans got us into this mess

    I just wanna thank the republicans for getting us into the worst economic mess since the great depression, and then having the nerve to blame the democrats and Obama you 2 bit lieing hypocrits I just hope your the first to loose your jobs you and get an education! It's no wonder most of the uneducated voted wanted to vote for Mccain.

    March 22, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  23. carlo

    Happy Camper March 22nd, 2009 10:43 am ET

    Better hope China continues to buy our worthless debt. If not, the game is over and all your welfare and prisons will be gone.
    ***************************************************************************

    The welfare recipients of whom you speak are the corporations who made the deals with China, with our country's consent, to move corporations there to avoid taxes here. As a matter of fact, China, a country that was government run and had no corporate tax, developed a corporate tax system advantageous to the U.S. companies so they could move there and hire workers for 25 cents on the dollar. The uber rich are the real welfare recipients here, and the worst part is that most nimwits like you don't even know it.

    March 22, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  24. Michael B

    THe best way Obama can get support for his plans is to earn it, not by pushing volunteers. There is something scary and unsettling about rallying people to an agenda AFTER the elections.

    March 22, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  25. dannyj

    Some of our greatest Presidents accomplished greater things while jumping bigger hurtles. The fact that President Obama has to rely on this type of support it startling to say the least.

    But enough with this unconditional love. The best way for Obama to have his agenda supported is to earn it with good results, not by rallying his die-hard cult members.

    March 22, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
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