Obama campaign arm begins gun control push
January 17th, 2013
11:31 AM ET
2 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. Rudy NYC

    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.
    -------------------------------
    Your rants are noteworthy for the lack of meaningful solutions to the growing gun violence in this country.

    Background checks probably would have stopped the Virginia Tech shooting.

    January 17, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. ohio

    NRA is ridiculous lately. The suggestions from Obama are nothing more than common sense measures
    which have been needed for a long time. Along with targeting the Obama daughters, which they deny,
    to put David Gregory in the ad is ridiculous as well. I saw that interview with Gregory. Was Gregory supposed
    to get approval for all the questions asked before the interview with the NRA? I hope that what comes of this ad
    over time is just more common sense votes. I for one have had enough right wing lunacy. It's time that they all go.

    January 17, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Let me see if I can put this in a way that is palatable to the CNN moderators.

    OFA is assisting the President through volunteers like myself in disseminating the FACTS about his proposal and Executive Action. We are doing this with the sole purpose of informing and arming fellow Americans with the FACTS as they are not as they are spinned by interested parties.

    It does not escape my notice that our current President who was so often derided for being "nothing but a community organizer" has behind a following of a very, VERY large and influential "community": Americans who believe and support him and his agenda legislative or otherwise because.
    It was with the full-blown support of this "community" that he was re-elected, and it is with us standing strongly behind him that he will continue to challenge the status quo and propose changes that will make us a safer and better nation.
    NRA be damned.

    January 17, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. Wake up People!

    @Fair is fair. Now I know you and I rarely agree on anything but how is it possible for a hurricane to be a hoax??

    As for Sandy Hook, my boss, the CFO actually believes this. But she does hate our POTUS.....

    January 17, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. cattle man

    Living and working on a ranch in Southern New Mexico we do have a need, and use, for semi autos with more than 10 rounds. The use is to protect our property and families from the Mexican drug cartel entering this country illegally and carrying full auto rifles given to them by our very own BATF.

    January 17, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  6. Common Sense

    In a world/country where robberies, rapes, and murders occur regular, there is a place for weapons design to kill/cripple one or more criminals quickly (high capacity mags).

    According to FBI stats about 300 of the 11,000+ gun deaths last year where the result of rifles (including hunting rifles). There is no fact-based argument against rifles causing excessive public harm, only and emotion-based argument (which is what we've seen).

    The new proposals will not allow women treated for depression (mental illness) for example to bare arms against potential sexual predators. Is this really "civil" and desirable to our nation?

    Why doesn't the media tell us that 2/3 gun incidences are used in SELF-DEFENSE? Why does the news ONLY cover excessively negative stories on this fundamental right of all citizens?

    To those who are in favor of the proposals, please reflect on if your emotions are being manipulated by the nature of news coverage we've seen recently. Look at the focus on the emotions and "human interests" pieces as opposed to a LOGIC-based facts and statistics.

    Please don't mindless dismiss the rights of Americans with different hobbies and values than yourself.

    January 17, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. DOG1

    The NRA and all the other people who have somehow come to believe that the gunfights you see in the movies are somehow real, you know, where the good guy always wins etc. They want to have armed guards in every school, for a start and then it expands, how about this: let's do that and the NRA, who is SOOOO interested in protecting us, provides all the funding for training and paying the salaries for the guards. They're getting so many new members they can afford it. And all the weapons, ammunition, body armor, bullet proof glass, metal detectors, perimeter sensors and access control are contributed, for FREE by the weapons manufacturers. This is of course included with the contract that the NRA and the weapons manufacturers will sign stating they take ALL RESPONSIBILITY and LIABILITY for any mistakes by armed guards who shoot someone by mistake and will, without fighting it in court, pay the finding of any class action lawsuit by all victims or those who could have potentially been victims, such as when the guards fail to stop a shooter this would be all the families in that school district who could have POTENTIALLY been killed or injured if they had been there etc etc.
    Obviously the NRA and the gun manufacturers are never going to do this because they're ONLY INTEREST in any part of this is PROFIT and actually taking responsibility is something they absolutely never have and never will do. Their policy is always to deflect blame elsewhere and try to get the public to focus on something else like that ridiculous ad about the Presidents children. This President has received more death threats then any other in history and, I would imagine, at least some of those have come from the self professed "law abiding gun owners", maybe even while they had their NRA card in their hand.

    January 17, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. 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!

    January 17, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Wake up People!

    @Fair is fair. Now I know you and I rarely agree on anything but how is it possible for a hurricane to be a hoax??

    As for Sandy Hook, my boss, the CFO actually believes this. But she does hate our POTUS.....
    -------------------------------------------------
    I think that Fair was sarcastically pointing out that just as there are those today that will spew absurd theories about President Obama due to their dislike of him, there were also those just as willing to do the same in regards to the Crawford village idiot that we were stuck with as President for eight years: Dubya.
    In other words: Crazy can be found on both sides of the aisle regardless of the fact that as of recently it has taken permanent residence to the Right! LOL!

    January 17, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Correction to my previous post:

    "It does not escape my notice that our current President, who was so often derided for being "nothing but a community organizer", has behind him the following of a very, VERY large and influential "community": Americans who believe and support him and his agenda legislative or otherwise."

    January 17, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. Scott

    Obama's executive orders are meaningless. He and the democrats don't have as much support as they think they have, particularly from the unions.

    January 17, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. rs

    GuestAgain-
    Where do you think criminals get guns? They get them from "good" gun owners through theft; garage sales (most frequently asked question at an Arizona garage sale: "you got guns?"); gun show private sales, and bad gun store owners via straw man sales (see: Arizona, "Fast and Furious"). The fault lies with the gun lobby and NRA for not policing their own ranks- hence the need for new law- or a return to the law under Reagan and Bush I.

    January 17, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Common Sense

    In a world/country where robberies, rapes, and murders occur regular, there is a place for weapons design to kill/cripple one or more criminals quickly (high capacity mags).

    According to FBI stats about 300 of the 11,000+ gun deaths last year where the result of rifles (including hunting rifles). There is no fact-based argument against rifles causing excessive public harm, only and emotion-based argument (which is what we've seen).
    --------------
    That's not common sense. "...no argument against rifles causing excessive public harm..." As if, just a little bit of harm is perfectly fine? That's insanity.

    January 17, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. judy

    to many people are falling for the tired old lines from the NRA. No one is taking your guns... Why anyone needs an assault rifle is any ones guess. Back ground checks should be for everyone. The guy who buys his at Walmart does a check why shouldn't the guy at the gun show or from a private party. Gun owners are not the only people with rights. Yup there are a whole bunch of us Obama supporters and we vote and will in the next election also. NRA ay have a lot of members but don't count us out yet.

    January 17, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. rs

    cattle man-
    Sorry- the BATF DOES NOT give away guns. Another Right-wing myth.

    January 17, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. ghostriter

    "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."

    1st off, as mentioned by some well meaning conservatives, they have been using similar drug sweeps for years. Hasn't worked well for them. But for other reasons.

    2nd, you do realize that the prison industrial complex is huge business and the more folks they can process, the more they make...right? Plus, it lets you guys feel like you are doing something when you put one person in jail for every 10 that are still out there.

    January 17, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. GuestAgain

    I know your party has told you that our borders are secure but the fact remains: huge amounts of illegal drugs and goods, including firearms, are smuggled into our country everyday – along with more democrats. If you are foolish enough to believe they are mostly stolen from legal gun owners I cant help that.

    January 17, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. DOG1

    The gun owners who blindly follow the reasoning of the NRA all go back to the same "the criminals got the guns illegally" excuse. OK, you've voiced what you think is the problem, WHAT'S YOUR ANSWER to it? The NRA is fighting tooth and nail not to have background checks based on criminal history or mental illness history. WHY? That would seem to be the answer to what they claim to be the problem but they fight it. Is it because they make so much money selling guns to people who would not pass a background check?

    January 17, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    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!
    -------------------
    Who? Most gun crime victims are shot by someone that they know. The victims usually have their own weapon in their posession, or very close at hand, when they are shot. That's who.

    January 17, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    Wake up People!

    @Fair is fair. Now I know you and I rarely agree on anything but how is it possible for a hurricane to be a hoax??
    -------
    No one said it was a hoax... I'm referring to the fringe element that believed and tried to get others to believe that Katrina was created by a machine developed by Haliburton... and then steered into the Gulf of Mexico with the sole purpose to destroy oil rigs so that Haliburton could make a fortune on repairing them.

    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.

    January 17, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. rs

    GuestAgain-
    The guns go south, out of the U.S., not north.

    January 17, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    CNN needs to do an article comparing what Obama's community is doing and what they are saying to people versus the most recent demagoguery propaganda dispatch sent out by the NRA telling people that they need to give money or they'll lose all their guns, all their freedumbs and all their rights.

    Go ahead. Look it up. You can find the NRA's email/solicitation for donations via Google...it's predictably unhinged, relies entirely on mischaracterizations, reads like a tinfoil hatted conspiracy theorist's acid-induced ramblings and is intended to generate money with which to lobby Congress solely by generating fear, anger and a misunderstanding of the facts of what Obama is doing and what he has proposed.

    January 17, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  23. Wake up People!

    Thanks Dominican Mama. I guess I wasn't thinking clearly. I am so disappointed in my so very intelligent boss thinking like that. While there is no way to fake a hurricane, Bush definitely gets no points for the way he handled Katrina. I still remember that statement made by Barbara Bush to this day.

    January 17, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. cattle man

    @rs
    The BATF allowing FFL dealers to sell guns to known gun runners for the cartels is the point, not weather money exchanged hands.

    Reference;
    Operation Fast an Furious
    Project Gunrunner

    January 17, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. scarf

    cattle man

    Living and working on a ranch in Southern New Mexico we do have a need, and use, for semi autos with more than 10 rounds. The use is to protect our property and families from the Mexican drug cartel entering this country illegally and carrying full auto rifles given to them by our very own BATF.
    ---------------------------–
    The BATF didn't give any guns to the druggers. The druggers bought them with their own ill-gotten gains. The ATF just let them carry them back across the border instead of stopping them. What really happened is bad enough. When you exaggerate, you weaken your own argument.

    January 17, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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