ABC News’ Devin Dwyer (@devindwyer) reports: No gifts, please. Just your name will do.
That’s the message President Obama’s re-election campaign is pushing in an elaborate nationwide effort to expand the president’s grassroots network on his 50th birthday.
While aides plan a glitzy Aug. 3 fundraiser-bash for Obama at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom, organizers are encouraging thousands of supporters who can’t attend to plan and host house parties of their own.
The campaign has rolled out a website dedicated to promoting the parties — and a glossy 4-page, step-by-step guide that instructs would-be hosts on everything from “recruiting” attendees to electronically relaying participants’ personal information back to headquarters.
Who should be invited? “At least 50” friends and neighbors.
Where should it be held? “A quiet and focused place to talk and organize.”
When should it start? “Sometime between 6:30 PM and 6:45 PM ET.”
Aides say Obama will deliver a live video message to house party attendees that will stream over the internet on hosts’ computers once the events are underway.
They’re also offering help with decorations, selling special “host packs” of birthday hats, buttons, balloons, stickers and signs, all emblazoned with a giant 5-0, “Happy Birthday,” and the campaign’s official logo.
And, don’t forget to snap a picture, they say. “We’re collecting hundreds of photos from house parties across the country and will display them for President Obama at his house party in Chicago.”
It’s still unclear, however, whether Obama will make it to Chicago at all.
The White House said last week the president would only attend the fundraising celebration in Chicago if there’s a deal in place to raise the nation’s debt limit by Aug. 2.
The party is expected to feature a star-studded list of musical acts, including the rock band OK Go, and possibly singer Jennifer Hudson. "All of the musical performers at the fundraising event will be natives of Chicago," a campaign aide told ABC News. “It's all a very much 'hometown Chicago’ event.”
Earlier this month, the campaign kicked-off a grassroots sweepstakes – “50 for 50” – that challenges supporters to sign up 50 new volunteers for the president’s birthday to earn a chance to win round-trip airfare to Chicago, hotel accommodations and entry to the party. The package deal is valued at $1,050, according to the sweepstakes website.