In an unprecedented move, President Obama is converting his campaign apparatus into a nonprofit that will continue to work on behalf of his agenda during his second term.
The campaign spent $2 billion to get him elected and was widely credited with being the best organized, most technologically savvy political campaign in the history of presidential politics. Not wanting all that talent and insight to go to waste, Obama took the rare step of deciding the campaign could stay together, working on the hard issues that he will be facing in his second term.
Already, Jim Messina, director of the presidential campaign and the head of the new organization, called Organizing for Action, sent out an email message to 12 million of the president’s supporters, soliciting their backing for Obama’s gun control agenda, and asking them to “stand with the president to reduce gun violence.”
“We won’t stop every violent act like the one in Newtown, Connecticut. But if we can save the life of even one child, the president believes each of us has a responsibility to take action.” Messina wrote. “People like you spoke out and demanded action. Your input, along with ideas from leaders and policymakers across the political spectrum, went into the president’s plan.”
Because he turned his back on the Democratic National Committee, many observers are interpreting the move as a snub to DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, an Obama outsider who is not close to the president, Politico.com reports. By creating this group and putting Messina in charge, Obama is declaring that Messina is now a more important party leader, or so the inside Washington thinking goes.
“We may have started this as a long shot presidential primary campaign in 2007, but it’s always been about more than just winning an election. Together, we’ve made our communities stronger, we’ve fought for historic legislation, and we’ve brought more people than ever before into the political process,” Obama wrote in an email to supporters. “Organizing for Action will be a permanent commitment to this mission.”
“We’ve got to keep working on growing the economy from the middle out, along with making meaningful progress on the issues we care about — immigration reform, climate change, balanced deficit reduction, reducing gun violence, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” Obama wrote. “I’m not going to be able to take them on without you.”