May 4th, 2012
07:01 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama kicks off campaign with Ohio rally

Columbus, Ohio (CNN) - As President Obama prepares to officially kick off his reelection campaign with a rally here at The Ohio State University on Saturday, the Ohio chapter of Obama for America is already in full swing.

With 18 offices across the state, a state director on staff since 2009 and a digital director dedicated solely to building local online communities in Ohio, the Obama campaign is trying to make up for a harsher political climate with increased effort.

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“The grassroots organization that we have on this campaign is really the heart and soul of what we do,” the Obama campaign’s Ohio state director Greg Schultz told reporters on the OSU campus on Thursday.

To bolster its voter outreach, the campaign will be employing some new technology on Saturday. When attendees arrive at the 20,000-seat Schottenstein Center on Saturday, they will be greeted by campaign volunteers with iPad’s asking for e-mail addresses, Twitter handles and a list of issues most important to Buckeye State voters.

According to the campaign’s Ohio Digital Director Ashley Bryant, this information gets immediately imported into the campaign’s database and used for the campaign’s traditional outreach efforts.

“With iPads and any type of mobile device, we’re really changing the way we organize,” Bryant said.

The campaign also plans to set up a “pop-up office” at the arena, where supporters can use iPads and cell phones to make phone calls to undecided voters across the country.

“We love for you to walk through our door, we just know that there are some folks that don’t feel as though they have the time to dedicate driving to the office and making the calls,” Bryant said. “So now we’re actually debuting a tool, which is our call tool which you can virtually make a call from anywhere.”

Bryant’s efforts to engage voters in the campaign’s digital community also extend to various social media platforms. Users of the popular picture-sharing application Instagram will be able to share their photos with OFA (Obama for America) Ohio’s account and have the chance to see the photo on the Jumbotron before the president speaks. The music played at the event will have been largely selected by followers of the president’s Twitter account. And the event itself was publicized using the Twitter hashtag #ReadyToGo – a reference to the campaign’s rallying cry from 2008.

“I kind of look at it as I’m creating an interactive experience with the goal to persuade and it’s really persuasion through interaction,” Bryant said. “So as people are starting to see that we have our support base that are re-tweeting our message, they’re sharing our message with their friends and family through our digital tools and that’s our persuasion.”

In 2008, the people responsible for these efforts were called the “new media team,” but as the technology has become more ubiquitous, the Obama campaign contends that the users have diversified.

“It reaches everyone,” Bryant said. “Our online communities are a direct reflection of our local communities on the ground. I think years ago when it was new media, it was more so young Americans, students, but now I mean you have everyone across the board, all walks of life are on our online communities.”

The rally on Saturday will also include appearances by Columbus, Ohio, Mayor Michael Coleman, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, former U.S. Sen. John Glenn of Ohio and various OFA volunteers from the Columbus area. OFA will also screen several campaign videos for the crowd.

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Filed under: 2012 • Ohio • President Obama
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. T'sah From Virginia

    And I will be at the Siegel Center Saturday to holler, "YES WE CAN, YES WE CAN!!!"

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    May 4, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    ...the Obama campaign is trying to make up for a harsher political climate with increased effort.
    A harsher political environment. This is a kind way of describing what he created with 2 years of throwing record-setting piles of cash at a partisan agenda while the rest of the country was cutting back to deal with a tough economy. He drove the debt to levels that would make a sane man gasp and he accomplished very little with all of that money. Yes, he has created a harsher political environment for reelection. I'm surprised he even has the gumption to run. But then again, campaigning is the one thing he has been successful at. Once.

    Romney 2012

    May 4, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  3. organically

    The Obama economy has unemployment at its lowest since 2008, having dropped from 9.8% to 8.1%. Obama policy has decreased the government workforce by 370,000 jobs according to Department of Labor. America has had created 4.2 million new jobs over the last 26 months – more than 1 million jobs in the last six months alone, a direct result of liberal economic policy. Oh yea, stock market has rebounded to 13K, and GM is the bestselling car company in the world again. The truth is, the economic news has been mixed under Obama, but the economy is improving overall. However, all the Tea party and rightist radicals want is complete failure by the president and will never admit when the president has been successful at anything. This is one of many reasons why the Tea Party is so detrimental to America’s economic recovery. The central ignorance of conservatives is that president Obama is responsible for our national economic woes and joblessness in recent years, but this has been a global crisis. The labor force participation rate is now at 63.6%, lowest level since 1981, which is the result of (1) unemployed baby boomers retiring early and (2) economic policy created by the Bush Administration.

    May 4, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  4. HenryMiller

    Oh? When did the campaigner-in-chief ever stop campaigning?

    May 4, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  5. Juan Rodriguez

    Well at least when he is campaigning he can't screw things up.

    May 4, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  6. Bob

    Kickoff? He never stopped campaigning..its the only think Obama knows how to do.

    May 4, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  7. abtxoo

    Kicks off campaign? He kicked off his campaign several months ago..... spin.

    May 4, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  8. Name max

    Go get them Mr president

    May 4, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  9. Namejkane sfl romneycare, l didnt mean it, its not my fault, ann made me do it ,im sorry conservaties, who needs romney care anyway, i dont

    Anybody dumb enough to vote for the republicans deserves what they get and it won't be good. They rapped the us economy for their own benifit and represent big oil and the rest of the lobbyist and rover nitwitquest the bum paymaster inthe house of representatives. If the republicans win after all the damage they have done, I'm leaving the country and you can sink with them, I'll be in the Bahamas .

    May 4, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  10. db

    He might as well visit the grave yards and campaign there too as they will all vote democratic come Novermber 22.

    May 4, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  11. Emperor Vadik, CA

    Mitt is about to find out that a bloody nose from Newt Gingrich or insane Santorum is small potatoes compared to what Obama will do to ya...

    ...brace yourself...

    ...and see if even 25% of people look favorably upon Mitt when Obama is done with him...

    May 4, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  12. Gurgyl

    Ps; any rational will vote for Obama..

    May 4, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |