President Obama Calls In the Grassroots Cavalry

By Caitlin Taylor

Mar 16, 2009 2:11pm

The successor organization to President Obama’s presidential campaign — "Organizing for America" — today launched, with the Democratic National Committee, a grass roots campaign to pass the president’s $3.6 trillion budget.

Today the president sent out an email to the 13 million-strong email list compiled during Obama’s presidential campaign to drum up support for the president’s budget.

"Partisan voices and special interests are showing real resistance to President Obama’s call for making the necessary reforms and investments in energy, health care, and education," Mitch Stewart, Director of Organizing for America wrote in an email to supporters, "That’s why we need to bring the conversation back into homes and communities across America."

Supporters are encouraged to take part in "Pledge Project Canvasses" to talk to people about the president’s budget plan, ask them to sign names to a pledge, and provide information on how to urge their elected congressional representatives to support the plan.

"It’s absolutely crucial that Americans hear from you about this plan — we can’t leave this important debate up to a Washington establishment that doesn’t welcome change," Stewart wrote.

Over the weekend, David Plouffe, Obama’s former campaign manager — now an adviser to Organizing for America — sent an email to the email list saying, "In the next few weeks we’ll be asking you to do some of the same things we asked of you during the campaign — talking directly to people in your communities about the President’s ideas for long-term prosperity."

Why would a president with a 60 percent approval rating whose party controls the House and Senate overwhelmingly need to call in the grassroots cavalry?

Perhaps because some in the president’s own party — as highlighted by congressional Republicans — seem to be looking askew at the budget outline.

"When I look at this budget, I see the debt doubling again, and that gives me great concern," Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-ND, recently said at a hearing. "I want to make very clear I believe that buildup of debt fundamentally threatens the
economic security of this country. I believe it in my bones."

"I do think that before we raise revenue, we first should look to see if there are ways we can cut back on spending," Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind, told Politico.

"I have major concerns about trying to raise taxes in the midst of a downturn of the economy," said Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb.

– Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller

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