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.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Amid criticism from prominent Republicans that the White House is taking on too much and not focusing enough on fixing the nation’s struggling economy, the Democratic National Committee asked the president’s backers Monday to pledge their support for the three broad policy initiatives highlighted in the White House’s 2010 budget outline.
“The budget is a bold blueprint for our country’s future,” Mitch Stewart, the Director of Organizing for America says in a video message to supporters emailed Monday. “It addresses three of the most pressing challenges facing our nation – health care, energy, and education.”
In the video, Stewart announces the “Organizing for America Pledge Project,” an initiative that seeks to identify support for the president’s economic blueprint by asking individuals to complete an online pledge to support “Obama's bold approach for renewing America's economy.”
“We will show in every state and in every Congressional district the hunger for leadership and long range thinking that’s in too short supply here in Washington,” Stewart says in the video.
The online form allows users to complete the pledge, and to state in their own words why they support Obama’s economic blueprint and to forward the form to their online contacts via e-mail.
“By pledging and building support, you will be taking the first steps towards establishing a nationwide grassroots network,” Stewart says in the video. “Neighborhood by neighborhood, standing side-by-side with President Obama as we bring about our agenda for change.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The man primarily responsible for crafting President Obama’s message during two years of a hard-fought presidential campaign said the potential nominees for Commerce Secretary and Secretary of Health and Human Services will be announced soon.
“Choosing Cabinet members isn’t like American Idol,” David Axelrod, a senior aide to the President, said Sunday. “You don’t throw contestants out there and let the American people vote. We’re going through a thoughtful procedure to fill these posts. We want to get it right.”
The President’s method for selecting Cabinet nominees has come under increasing scrutiny after several nominees revealed problems with taxes and after three prominent nominees – New Mexico’s Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson, former Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle, and New Hampshire’s Republican Sen. Judd Gregg – all withdrew their names from consideration for Cabinet posts after being tapped by Obama.
Richardson and Gregg had both been nominees to head the Commerce Department and Obama had named Daschle to run HHS and to advise the president as the White House’s “health czar.”
Nancy Killefer, who had been chosen by Obama for a new post focused on making the federal government more efficient, also withdrew her name for further consideration because of tax issues.
(CNN) - President Obama sent a message to supporters Monday personally calling them action behind his agenda for the first time since his inauguration.
The president’s message was sent by Organizing for America — the former campaign apparatus that is now a two-week-old arm of the Democratic National Committee — to anyone who was involved with an Obama house party during the campaign season.
The president is asking them to host similar gatherings next weekend to push for his economic stimulus plan. That package, which passed the House last week without Republican support, is currently being considered by the Senate.
“I hope to sign the recovery plan into law in the next few weeks,” said Obama in the e-mail. “But I need your help to spread the word and build support. … You can help restore confidence in our economy by making sure your friends, family, and neighbors understand how the recovery plan will impact your community.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Obama camp is calling the president’s supporters into action behind his agenda for the first time since his inauguration.
Organizing for America — the former campaign apparatus that is now a two-week-old arm of the Democratic National Committee — is sending an e-mail to anyone who was involved with an Obama house party during the campaign season, asking them to host similar gatherings next weekend to push for the president’s economic stimulus plan. That package, which passed the House this week without Republican support, is currently being considered by the Senate.