Obama campaign arm begins gun control push
January 17th, 2013
11:31 AM ET
1 year ago

Obama campaign arm begins gun control push

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama's political operation began asking its wide network of backers Thursday to voice their support for the president's gun violence proposals, the first step in Obama for America's post-campaign iteration.

An email from Obama's 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina asks supporters to "stand with President Obama in tackling this critical issue," directing readers to a webpage with a button to express support for Obama's plan, which includes executive actions and legislative proposals to curb gun violence.

The appeal comes as Obama for America, the operation formed in 2007 to elect Obama to the White House, transitions from a political organization into an effort to rouse supporters behind Obama's policy initiatives.

Obama for America is holding an "Obama Campaign Legacy Conference" in Washington on Sunday, coinciding with the president's swearing-in ceremonies on Monday. Sara El-Amine, the organizer of the event, told supporters in an email the group would be "discussing and planning for the future of this movement."

Aside from large sessions focused on what's next for OFA, the agenda includes workshops on grassroots fundraising, earned media, and organizing seminars for specific voting blocs, including Latinos, African-Americans, and the LGBT community. An informational packet sent to supporters says more than 4,000 former staff and volunteers will be in attendance.

Senior Obama campaign aides are currently working on the specifics of how to restructure Obama for America, but are considering several different options such as converting it to a 501(c)4 or perhaps a super PAC, a source familiar with the campaign told CNN last week.

The new campaign organization will be headed by Jim Messina, Obama's campaign manager who oversaw the president's victory over Republican Mitt Romney in November. Messina, Stephanie Cutter, Jennifer O'Malley Dillon and several other top Obama aides are working out the details.

"After the election, it was clear from the conversations with supporters that they wanted to continue the progress we made in the first four years and continue it together," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In addition to a national grassroots infrastructure, the campaign also maintains a massive email list that it can use to mobilize supporters and seek donations. The Obama campaign won't discuss how large the email list is, but a source said that it is "much bigger than the 14 million email addresses" it had amassed after the 2008 campaign.

The campaign also made a concerted effort to collect cell phone numbers and throughout the campaign frequently used text messaging to fundraise and organize volunteers.

In November, OFA released results from a survey of supporters showing nearly 80% of the 1 million respondents said they "want to keep volunteering, primarily around the President's legislative agenda."

The campaign sought input in the weeks following November's election on how to use its vast resources and contact lists. The survey results, according to OFA, also showed that one in 10 respondents are interested in running for office at some point and almost half had forwarded campaign e-mails in support of Obama during the presidential race.

Messina offered some clues in November on the future of OFA, saying supporters wanted the grassroots organization to help Obama pass his agenda in his second term in the White House. But he was clear that while OFA will live on, he was adamant the campaign structure won't be handed over to the next Democratic presidential nominee, saying "this organization was built for people who supported this president."

CNN's Jessica Yellin, Mark Preston, Ashley Killough, Adam Aigner-Treworgy and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Gun rights • President Obama
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. John

    I will not be watching the inauguration ceremony. Obamas 2nd term is not starting out good. Its going to be
    a miserable 4 years. Our paychecks have shrunk and the right to bear arms is gone.
    Oh by the way, Martin Luther Kings Birthday is not a holiday unless every one gets a paid day off.
    Its a phoney holiday.

    January 17, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "My point is that there will be fringe elements on every side... there's the nut jobs that think Sandy Hook was a false flag operation by the Obama administration, and there's the nut jobs that think Katrina was manufactured by a machine."

    We understand that's your point. But there's only one side that is allowing its clown car to be steered by the radicalized fringe elements in their party...and that's the GOP/Teatrolls. It was quite clearly their original plan to stoke that fringe element in order to create a far-right gravitational field that would suck the public debate, the MSM narrative and Overton's Window (i.e., the window in which possible compromise lies) to the right with them, but it has largely backfired and they're scrambling to undo the damage and get Frankenstein under control.

    January 17, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. Wake up People!

    @Fair is fair. I'm happy to say I never heard about that conspiracy theory.

    January 17, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "Oh by the way, Martin Luther Kings Birthday is not a holiday unless every one gets a paid day off.
    Its a phoney holiday."

    Yes, we know, the moderators won't let you use the n-bomb so you have to try to come up with "clever" end runs around that.

    January 17, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. Tommy

    Why do I need Hi-cap mags and .223 rifles? Because Police have them!!!!
    The cops are the experts on the current criminal trends. If they have determined that a “high capacity” semiautomatic pistol and a .223 semiautomatic rifle with 30-round magazines are the best firearms for them to use to protect people like me and my family, they are obviously the best things for us to use to protect ourselves and our families .
    Don't push your views on me! I have the right to protect my family the same as LE!

    January 17, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. trex

    ..............This gop is GREAT.................the Dems could not ask for an easier group to run against. Sure, the GUN NUTZ, birthers, racists, uneducated voters, the immigrant haters, and the UBER RICH will cast a bunch of votes..........BUT...........they will NEVER WIN A NATIONAL ELECTION.............. Every 2 years, there will be FEWER AND FEWER Tea Party led gops in the House and Senate.................

    January 17, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "Don't push your views on me!"

    Detecting irony is not the conservatives' strong suit.

    January 17, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Tommy wrote:

    Why do I need Hi-cap mags and .223 rifles? Because Police have them!!! ... Don't push your views on me! I have the right to protect my family the same as LE!!
    ---------
    Tommy, so why don't you become a police officer? Become part of the army reserve, or some other professional endeavor that would allow you to use those types of weapons as a trained professional. Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. :)

    January 17, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. Canuck

    @John
    "the right to bear arms is gone"

    You know that's not true – you just want to be part of the GOP/NRA Obama hate-fest.

    January 17, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  10. Anthony in California

    John
    I will not be watching the inauguration ceremony. Obamas 2nd term is not starting out good. Its going to be
    a miserable 4 years. Our paychecks have shrunk and the right to bear arms is gone.
    Oh by the way, Martin Luther Kings Birthday is not a holiday unless every one gets a paid day off.
    Its a phoney holiday.

    wow.. you're racism is showing.

    January 17, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. Anthony in California

    @GuestAgain
    Rudy – Who is commiting most of the gun crimes? When you come to grips with those facts you will see why Obama doesnt want to target that population – it would be bad for his politics!

    Well.. when "THAT" population starts booby trapping apartments, and going into schools, movie theaters or crowded malls with high capacity weapons taking out double digit amounts of people, then you can talk. Bad politics is doing nothing about a growing epidemic of violence, all the while protecting certain special interests groups, lobbyists, and the NRA. But nice try.

    January 17, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  12. rs

    Tommy-
    I am confused- do you NRA-types need the same guns as the police or military to protect your family from them, or in the same manner as them? Is this just some sort of envy thing?

    January 17, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  13. Malory Archer

    John

    I will not be watching the inauguration ceremony. Obamas 2nd term is not starting out good. Its going to be
    a miserable 4 years. Our paychecks have shrunk and the right to bear arms is gone.
    Oh by the way, Martin Luther Kings Birthday is not a holiday unless every one gets a paid day off.
    Its a phoney holiday.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Sour grapes much johnny boy? As for your MLK holiday remark, I guess that means ALL holidays are "phoney" as not everyone (one word) gets EVERY holiday off with pay.

    January 17, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  14. TomNPitt

    I own two handguns and a rifle. I don't say much about it because I don't want to sound like one of those people on TV ranting that I need more guns, and bigger guns than I can hold at one time. Do I really need to be able to kill our young people in the military because I THINK they might be coming after my guns, or because I don't beleve what the other political party is promoting? Is that really the reason I want to own my guns – because I want to be in a position to overthrow my own democratically elected government? Why even have elections??

    January 17, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  15. Malory Archer

    ....there's the nut jobs that think Katrina was manufactured by a machine.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Really???!!! Honestly, that is the first time I've ever heard that claim.

    January 17, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  16. Malory Archer

    Don't push your views on me! I have the right to protect my family the same as LE!

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    And you came to this conclusion..... how?

    January 17, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  17. matt

    No more gun control! Be responsible and hold people accountable for there actions! Democrats for the second amendment!

    January 17, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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