Obama campaign arm begins gun control push
January 17th, 2013
11:31 AM ET
5 years 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. Yonni

    It is our patriotic duty to stand with our president when he works for our common good.

    January 17, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. Name lynn

    What can obama do about these gun control, hes human an obama cant keep people from getting guns. What the heck is wrong with the people. No one knows how these people is getting guns. No matter what the nra says or do that dont have the guns under control either.

    January 17, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  3. robert jay

    I think it's great – a great countebalance to all the republican crap media like FOX / Limbaugh and the continual sound bites for republicans Senatorsand Congressman talking out of both sides of their mouths and no facts based direction or ideas. OUR COUNTRY needs this!.

    January 17, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  4. Gurgyl

    Great job. Sign on gun-control laws. Do not fear. God bless.

    January 17, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. rs

    As of today, one month and two days since the Newtown massacre where 20 first-graders and 6 teachers were slaughtered, 926 Americans have died because of gun violence.
    It is time to take our country back from the lunatic beliefs and actions of the NRA.

    January 17, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. Just Kyle

    Strange that he didn't mention gun control until after he was elected to a second term despite several high profile shootings that happened during his first term. Following an agenda perhaps?

    January 17, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. Fair is Fair

    If it's such a good plan, why does his "campaign arm" have to sell it? Shouldn't it fly by it's own merit?

    January 17, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. just askin

    the election is over. why is there still a campaign arm? sounds more like propaganda arm to me.

    January 17, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. Canuck

    "Shouldn't it fly by it's own merit?"

    It does – with rational thinking people. The gun nuts... not so much.

    January 17, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. ghostriter

    Fair, with the propoganda arm of the republicans working full-time to disseminate a false message, it's of little wonder why Obama must bring the truth to the people.

    January 17, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This group can push for the president's agenda. After Obama leaves office, then it is a lot less clear as to what they are going to do.

    January 17, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair asked:

    If it's such a good plan, why does his "campaign arm" have to sell it? Shouldn't it fly by it's own merit?
    Because gun groups like the NRA have already sold people on the idea that their government is waiting to send in the black helicopters and take away their guns. Because the NRA has been selling the idea that having more and more good guys with guns is a better idea than trying to stop bad guys from getting guns in the first place. Need any more reasons?

    January 17, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. Just Kyle

    @robert jay
    Facts? HA! Since when do facts have any place in politics for either party? The Democrats and Republicans will argue things out and ultimately do little to nothing to effect violence in this country. But no one in Washington will ever resort to looking at facts.

    January 17, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. Wake up People!

    Has anyone else heard that the shooting was a hoax perpetrated by the President to take away Americas guns??? I can't believe my college educated CFO boss believes this. But why not, she hates President Obama....

    January 17, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  15. jsmoulder

    Any issue that takes away from the real issue of the economy is the issue this president will follow.

    January 17, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. otlset

    Who are you to decide how much firepower I, a completely law-abiding citizen, can have in defending myself, my family and my home when an unknown number of thugs with who knows what kind of weapons tries to invade my home late at night?

    January 17, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. GuestAgain

    The obvious oversight, absent the fact of stomping on constitutional rights, is that these laws simply target those who largely intend to follow the law anyway. Why you ask? Money. We could easily develop and implement sweeping
    law enforcement operations to target criminal, illegal gun activites but arresting and charging criminals doesnt put money into the "system" whereas targeting law abiding citizens with petty and cumbersome administrative violations does. So in the end, crime will remain unchanged but the nanny state revenue requirement will provided by hard working, tax paying citizens. Welcome to Obamaland!

    January 17, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  18. Michael

    God bless the NRA

    January 17, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. otlset

    Who are you to limit what firepower I, a completely law-abiding citizen, can have to defend myself, my family and my home when an unknown number of thugs, with who knows what kind of weapons, tries to break into my house late at night?

    January 17, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    Wake up People!

    Has anyone else heard that the shooting was a hoax perpetrated by the President to take away Americas guns???
    Well, there's always going to be a fringe element in every group.

    For example... there was the group that believed that Hurricane Katrina was not only created by "The Haliburton Hurricane Machine" but was also steered towards New Orleans by same said machine. Weird, huh?

    January 17, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  21. ST

    @ otlset
    You can also defend yourself by using "nuke", if you think no one has the right to tell you how to defend yourself.

    January 17, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. Mdjkieffer

    You know I didn't know when I woke up this morning I was living in a dictatorship. And here's another question, where's the 500 million going to come from? In my world, if I don't have it to spend I can't get it. Maybe Mr Obama needs a lesson in democracy and economics. Want my phone number?

    January 17, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. thatdamnguy

    Take away the constitutional rights of legal citizens, in order to stop gun violence done by people who, for the most part obtain, and use these guns illegally. How dose more legal regulation stop unregulated gun traffic and use? IT DOESNT, all this does is penalize law abiding citizens. Trying to apply legislation to regulate the activity of those who operate OUTSIDE the law, ludacris. Sounds like more of the same irrational, and incopetant thinking of our current administration.

    January 17, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. cnn loudmouth

    If Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas, really cared about our 2nd Amendment "right to bear arms", he would not have made it a violation of the "Texas Weapons Laws" to carry a switchblade, a sword, brass knuckles, a Bowie Knife, a tomahawk, a dagger, a dirk, a night stick, an ice pick, a Chinese star, a spear, or any other weapon of the like. The NRA pays the Governor a lot of money for his support to sell guns in Texas. Paying the Governor to make these weapons illegal to "carry", allows the NRA's gun manufacturing supporters to sell even more guns in Texas, since it's illegal to carry these weapons for self defense. It's all so mentally ill.

    January 17, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. i'malib

    Everyone knows that by banning guns, like in Chicago, it will stop violence. Chicago should be a model for every US city. And Fair is Fair, I heard that Bush steered that hurricane into New Orleans and he also blew up the levies so people would drown. Keep your facts straight! Now, with that said, Walker, Texas Ranger is on tv.. The rest of you, get back to work.

    January 17, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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