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

Democrats mount nationwide effort to support president's agenda

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.

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. Jack from MI

    t was Reichsfuehrer Bush II who mortgaged our grandchildrens' future … those illegal wars are costing us HOW many billion dollars a year?


    It is not what BUSH DID SIR

    That has become the argument to defend this MAN LONG ENOUGH


    You are mistaken to think there are only REPUBLICANS and DEMOCRATS


    You can not cite bad behavior to justify THE SAME BEHAVIOR

    There are examples in history of how people with faith in a MAN can be DISASTROUS


    ask yourself can you say the same?


    March 22, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. Affirmative

    I wonder if "Organize America" is getting any of that 5Billion in the PORKFEST for "community organizing"???

    Wouldn't that be rich...our own money being used for Obama's propaganda machine...just like every othe dictator or national socialist!

    March 22, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. Obama,Queen & The Cosmos Rocks!

    »Good.Good news. WELL done.

    March 22, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. Linda

    Don't wait to be aproached by someone to let Congress know you want them to support President Obama. Call them now and let them know what you want. Voters will get the attention of our legislaters. New technology, intelligant health care changes and improved education is what will get our country going again. We must not wait any longer.

    March 22, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  5. Arthur

    So Obama is turning his weak minded minion's into Jehovah Witnesses. Sounds like desperation. I can't wait till they knock on my door so I can explain the word manipulation to them.

    March 22, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  6. Jacko Frisco

    Rule #1: Alinsky's Rule's for Radicals: Overload the system, bankrupt it and implement CHANGE! How can you people not see through this man? Are you really that blind or just that incompetent?

    March 22, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  7. max

    Dont worry about the Chinese owning our debt. Without WalMart China has no economy. We can simply nationalize WalMart and we will be back in the driver's seat!

    March 22, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  8. william . Oregon

    GOP fight back...Start a movement to turn down all Fed. money for your states. put it where your mouth is.

    March 22, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. JSU-TIGER99

    President Obama is doing a gret job so far, But we the people need to know/understand that he can not fix a problem that was 8 years in the making it is time for both parties to come to agreement as to how this problem can be fix and stop saying that things are not working out.

    March 22, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. HelloooOOOOO

    I "support Pres Obama", he has one tough job to do, that he "inheirited! It took a pretty intelligent and strong man to even want to take on that job at this time..!

    March 22, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. HelloooOOOOO

    Each day it continues to amaze me how many "ignorant" people there are on here complaining ! READ, learn facts before you complain..and then IF you still think YOU have a better plan, then YOU submit your plan to Pres Obama or SHUT UP !

    March 22, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. Christina

    The Republicans!! oh come on. It was all of us . I blame the greedy banks for offering sub-prime mortgages, I also blame oil, When it went up people were spending more money on gas then anything else. In my household we were spending like $400 a month on gas. That put us in debt. Lots of truckers lost business. We need to stop putting blame on other parties. I don't support the President. I have been following his first days in office. I'm not impressed. he signs a $410 billion dollar earmark and pork spending bill, which when he was running for office, he said he would never sign. Signed a stimulus package that mainly stimulates government. He does seems like a nice guy. Yeah I think he has charisma. Thats not enough for me. We need to go beyond looks. Nevertheless, he will be in office for 4 years so I will support him. I also wish republicans would stop complaining they are making the rest of us look bad. Democrats and Republicans really need to work together and stop thinking about each others parties. The economy is a mess and we all need to work together. Lets stop blaming each other and lets try and put together a solution.

    March 22, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |

    It does not matter what administration is in power the deficit is growing, and the People are paying the price with our tax dollars.
    Spending gets bigger our taxes getting higher we are loosing the jobs so do your math.

    March 22, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. hildutus

    For those few who read Plato, Polybius, and Cicero, this development in the history of the Republic should be cause for some alarm. On the other hand, if it's inevitable, far better it should happen on Obama's watch than on Bush's.

    March 22, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |

    Obama is doing a great job.Replithugs are just mad they cant chill at the chicken house and lie that they are protecting the chicken.Remember they ran on COUNTRY FIRST, and now they want that same country to fail!!!!!! Unbelievable !!!!!

    March 22, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  16. Carla

    Dear President Obama,
    Thank you for helping my neighbors with
    their mortgage payments.
    You know the one's down the street who in the good times refinanced their house several times and bought SUVs, ATVs, RVs, a pool, a big screen, two Wave Runners and a Harley.

    But I was wondering, since I am paying my mortgage and theirs, could you arrange for me to borrow the Harley now and then?

    P.S. They also need help with their credit cards, when do you want me to start making those payments?
    I almost forgot – they didn't file their income tax return this year. Should I go ahead and file for them or will you be appointing them to cabinet
    Loved the post and am happy for the person who got more money back this year/I have to send in my taxes on the 14th of April and while I have never liked it(who does)I do it with a much heavier heart this year. I have always been careful with my money but now I am afraid to spend/my question is why does the president need to push his plan so hard/they won and control the Senate and House.

    March 22, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. obama08

    I hope Palin loses her 2010 reelection bid for Alaska governor. That's the political price she needs to pay for turning down stimulus money for her citizens (education, unemployment, etc). You can't play politics with peoples' lives and get away with it. Losing the 2010 governor's race will kill her chances for the 2012 presidential race. Haha!

    March 22, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. bca

    I am very pleased to see that the people are helping the President by taking some matters into their own hands & help the man display his agenda to help put our economy back on track again. Now let's show those dang GOP's how to get things done in this country!

    March 22, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. beevee

    I think that the president's economic agenda and rescue efforts from the serious downturn we have faced before he took office are showing signs of recovery inspite of all the criticism by GOP who secretly wish him to fail. He has experts on his side who have brilliant ideas on how to turn things around. Nothing can be accomplished overnight. We should all support him.

    March 22, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. Elmer

    Scenario: Can't wait to run into these 20-somethings who when they goof up in life claim inexperience and a youthful lack of wisdom...yet now know what is right for the people in this country because they have been recruited by the apostles of their messiah. Most will be able to recognize them though, with the freshly stained kool-aid lips.

    Mr. President, I am a supporter but this is a really stupid idea. What you need to do is to corral the people in Washington who have screwed up your agenda so far....I am not surprised you are considering giving up on them as incompetent buffoons, but try something else.

    March 22, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. Diana NJ

    @annie – Palin 2012

    I was one of the workers out there yesterday... unpaid 65 yr old white woman. The pledge to have Affordable health care... Clean renewable energy, and education... Are these the things you are against?.. Don't you need or use Health care, don't you want it to be affordable?... do you want our Students to be uneducation and stupid,... are you comfortable with $5 a gal oil we buy from outside our country?....

    The statements here are ignorant beyond my understanding.

    Someone else stated Democrats want you money... the Democrats i worked with during the campaign... had money... had education... As stated to me several times... the taxes that Obama will raise will be mine.. and I believe he is right..

    March 22, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  22. Helen, NY

    Country is getting bankrupt here so why should he have such propaganda nation-wide. He wants to tell the Americans that he is goin to empty our pockets.

    March 22, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. Bruce Dickinson

    the campaign lives on!

    March 22, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. Not as Stupid as the Liberals think I am

    Dear P.Y.

    Before you berate others please look up the definitions of the words you use. It is exactly this type of ignorance which will support many of President Obama's proposals in the coming years.

    Debt and Deficit are synonymous with one another. Instead of, “deficit” next time try, "superfluous." Here it is in a sentence, "The Obama campaign used a superfluous amount of money doled out to him by his followers." Of course you could also use it as a noun by adding, “ness” to the end of the word, but I don’t need to tell you that I’m sure Obama will be there to help you with your grammar in the wonderful public schools he plans to build up over the coming years.

    You see I was having trouble with finding the right word to fit in the place of, "followers" so I did what many in this country should be doing, "research" if you will, to find just the right word to set my monologue off with the tone I desired.

    Another good phrase that could substitute, what I think you mean by the word, “deficite” is, "budget surplus." However the implications of this are that the government has the ability to earn money, which of course it does not.


    March 22, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  25. Gordo

    Carla......You should get down on your knees every night and thank the Good Lord that you are able to fend for yourself. I too am better off than alot of my friends, relatives and neighbors. I am thankful for that and wouldn't want to change places with any of these folks. You should be ashamed and had best be careful. You could very well end up in the same position as your neighbor. Remember the old saying "nothing is certain except death and taxes."

    March 22, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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