March 22nd, 2009
08:53 AM ET
13 years ago

Democrats mount nationwide effort to support president's agenda

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. bca

    Response To Keep TEXAS RED: It was Clueless (George W. Bush) & Darth Vader (Dick Cheney) who REALLY ruined our country!! By the way, if you think someone's one the radical, it ain't the Dem's! I'm not a huge fan of pure liberalism myself, but I don't see European socialism anywhere! All I see is Fascist conservatism from Limbaugh & Coulter!!! Don't get me wrong, I don't think these people and their ideas are pure evil, I just think it's a very bad policy.

    March 22, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. Rob from Pa

    So let me see, did I get this right ? The solution to our economic problems is to borrow beyond our means, not be able to pay for it, and then have our home foreclosed upon by foreign entities.

    I can't help feeling a little deju-vu here. Isn't this a major part of what got us here?

    March 22, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Larry

    The Democrats are good people ,and they think they are taking the country in the right direction,the problem is they have the map upside down,how far in the wrong direction will we have to go be for the Democrats realize the mistake,and will we have enough gas to turn around and go back in the right direction ??

    March 22, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. 4 years of nothing but excuses

    If this is the greatest plan in history and he has the "peoples mandate" to bring this change, why does he need to sell it?

    Real simple even for you Obamabots. Democrats, many economists and people a lot smarter than YOU people all think it is WRONG and WRONGHEADED.

    Even the BI PARTISAN CBO says it IS BAD, but don't let facts get in your way of your stupidity.

    Let this "special needs" president (small p) do what he wants and when it fails we will nevr have to deal with this "experiment" again in our lifetimes.

    One and done Barry.

    March 22, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. Concerned Citizen

    Stop the finger pointing, please! I read these blogs, and I keep seeing the same thing over and over again: both Republicans and Democrats point the finger at each other. Democrats say only Bush and the Republicans got us in this pickle. They have selective amnesia about the fact that Democrats have controlled both houses of Congress since 2006. Republicans keep saying that Obama is a socialist and we must rail against socialism. That argument goes nowhere. Most people do not know what socialism is, so it is an argument that will not take hold. They need to present a clear, concise plan that they see would help the economy from their perspective. If the media will not report it, as they have not with many of their proposals, force them. Get on the same page and push, push, push. I am an Independent voter, and from what I have seen with both the new president and the new congress, I am not impressed with either party. All this showboating and feigned outrage makes my stomach recoil. It is fake, and the American people know it. I do not trust either party for these reasons, and my suspicions about both are confirmed every day. I am truly worried about the future of this country, not as a partisan, but as an American.

    March 22, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. jimmy-ohio

    at least this president is honest that it will take time and hard work,the last one told us to just go shopping

    March 22, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. Dan

    No – the solution to our problems is to stop taking down signatures and tell these fat cats to move over to get some fresh new ideas inplace so our multiple cultures in America can grow, offer new forms of employment free from discrimination, and rebuild our economy from the ground up – instead of the current practices that are in place who steal our money and then dump it in tax shelters in the Cayman Islands.

    March 22, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  8. Texas Teacher

    Ah, recall long ago the Old Texas Teacher's warning that if the President was not being supported by Washington DC that they would mount such an outcry and response that NO ONE could doubt that We, the People, who elected Obama... wanted Congress to support NOT fight this man all the way! Watch out come election time, Repubs and Turn Coat Dems! There will be a reckoning.. and you may NOT survive! 🙂

    March 22, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. Jon

    I support my President, if you don't like it you can GIT OUT

    March 22, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  10. Michigan Jim

    Let's get the terminology right....

    Socialism - "a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole."

    Statism - "the principle or policy of concentrating extensive economic, political, and related controls in the state at the cost of individual liberty."

    Obama isn't a socialist - he's a statist.

    March 22, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. sr

    they are not honest they knew about the bonuses weeks ago now they are all pointing fingers i think obama and his friends are in way over thier heads

    March 22, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. Simmy


    Are you sure? I read your response to "P.Y." up top, and let me tell you, you leave a lot to be desired, when it comes to rhetoric. It's great that you, and some others, use correct grammar at all times. I know that you are a Republican because you are perfect. But I say to you, every person on this blog has a right to be here. Great, good, and or poor grammar, free speech puts all of US on a level playing field.
    I may not agree with you, but I will "defend to the death your right to say it." (Voltare).

    Just because you have the right to say 'it' doesn't mean you should. I say that President Obama is the man for these times, and I feel that I am right. That doesn't make me right, but that is my belief.

    Why should you, and your Republican possee, get up in arms with your perfectness, and slam others for not obeying your master Limbaugh? I know you have an open, and an underground campaign
    operating against my president, but I challenge you to think back to the past election time frame. He overcame tremendous odds, and won a landslide victory over your boy. If God is for someone, no trickery will succeed against him. Power to President Obama, and this great nation he is leading. Peace Out!!!!!!!!!!

    P.S. Any mistakes I made are purely on purpose. Lol........PO!

    March 22, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  13. mary

    Annie-Palin 2012
    I agree there are to many lies, especially the ones you keep telling yourself.

    March 22, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. independent in CO

    It's funny how Obama blames Bush for all of this. Yet he is doing the same failed economic policies but only faster and bigger. That's some change right there!

    March 22, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. today

    I support our President, unlike the spoiled, sore losing republicans, most Americans are behind our President, it will take time, but the money he spends will be placed right here in AMERICA.

    March 22, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  16. Cheney

    So?I got mine to bad for you.Thats Super Capitalism at its finest.

    March 22, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. Texas Teacher

    Ah, recall long ago the Old Texas Teacher's warning that if the President was not being supported by Washington DC that We would mount such an outcry and response that NO ONE could doubt that We, the People, who elected Obama… wanted Congress to support NOT fight this man all the way!

    Watch out come election time, Repubs and Turn Coat Dems! There will be a reckoning.. and you may NOT survive! 🙂

    March 22, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  18. Leslie

    truthsayer March 22nd, 2009 8:59 am ET

    Most Americans know that despite the naysayers, negativity and incessant moanng and groaning in the media, that President Obama can not literally turn aroung the greatest economic downturn in our history since the depression in 40 days. We are all in this together and if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem


    You must be dreaming! Greatest economy NOW is China. How does it feel being told by a communist country to be responsible with economic policies they're writing? How does it feel a communist country (China) is the biggest holder of USA I.O.U? France and other countries did not follow Obamchimp economic policies. Wait for G20 summit. Hillary Clinton went to China asking their PM to give MORE loan to USA, right now USA owes China $1.3 TRILLIONS! You better start kissing that Oriental store in your neighborhood.

    March 22, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. kennyboon

    People of America,
    We got to work together locally, regionally, County, State, Country and Globally to build a better life. We can no longer rely on one party or the other. It is time to work as one nation and one people. I call it, to be a Globalist. There are too much lost and too little time to save everyone. But if we work together, we can change not just us but the entire world. However, we have to start locally. Locally right here and remember YES WE CAN. From out home we could learn to plan vegies, and fruits. We can work as a community to improve the area through community services, from sharing with the poor and education one another. Service comes in the form of businesses. Increase tourism in your own area, use your skills to make money, through work, products, skills transfer and so on.
    We can work together to make this a better world by supporting this honest smart President.

    March 22, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  20. Bismarck

    Still there are people who connot concede defeat and thats why there is so much wrangling from repuplicans and racists who cant belief what happenned. Take heart cos this is the greatest president of all times if only repuplicans forget the party divisions and cooperate for a better future. Time will tell.....
    Its Obama or America will still continue crying the rot and mess left behind from the previous regime.

    March 27, 2009 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
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