Obama’s 2nd-Term Army: 20 Million Activists, Corporate Cash, Ready to Rumble

Jan 18, 2013 5:54pm
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 (Susan Walsh/AP Photo)

Attention Democrats reluctant to support the President’s agenda on gun control and other issues: President Obama’s new grassroots organization is about turn the heat up on you.

Powered by a grassroots army of some 20 million activists and millions of dollars in unlimited contributions, the newly reincarnated Obama campaign will now push the White House’s policy agenda – even when that means putting pressure on fellow Democrats to support the President’s initiatives.

“Our job is to help the president pass some major pieces of legislation to get some things done for this country, which are common sense and that people can understand,” former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told ABC News. “And that means we’re going to talk to members of both parties about why these things are important.”

Messina will run the newly formed Organizing For Action (formerly known as Organizing for America) from an office in Washington just two blocks from the White House. The group will also have an office in Chicago and hopes to soon open field offices across the country.

To foot the bill, the group will be able to accept unlimited contributions – including corporate corporations.

President Obama denounced the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, which legalized corporate contributions to political groups.

Will this group accept corporate money?

“We probably will,” Messina said. “If there are folks who want to get involved and help with common sense proposals that we’ll be pushing, we’ll be more than happy to partner with folks to get these things done.”

Messina says the group will be a lot like the Obama reelection campaign – running television ad campaigns, using social media and engaging in old-fashioned grassroots organizing to support the president’s major policy initiatives – beginning with the upcoming battles over gun control, immigration and the budget.

“Are we going to run TV ads? Sure. Are we going to knock on a whole bunch of doors? Absolutely,” Messina told ABC News. “We are going to continue to talk about why we need to do some of these things right now, on immigration reform, energy independence, all things that unite Americans.”

Among the group’s most powerful weapons: A list of more than 20 million activists who supported the President’s re-election — including their email addresses.

Messina said the group will also train supporters who want to run for office themselves.

“We went out and surveyed our members — over 80,000 people said they wanted to run for office themselves in the next two to four years,” Messina said. “So we’re going to go out and train them and help them create a movement to get leaders into office.”

Because the group is separate from the Democratic National Party (DNC) – and set up as a nonprofit organization – it is not bound by limits on campaign donations.

“Organizing for action, OFA, will be just about a legislative agenda. The DNC is about electoral campaigns and winning elections in every state in the country, and we think it’s very important at the new OFA to just focus on legislative things we know are going to make this country better. A very clear purpose,” Messina said.

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