WASHINGTON - Rallying his most dedicated supporters, President Obama asked his activist organization tonight to "keep the momentum going" and back his second-term agenda, as he launches a new economic campaign.
"We've got to get folks activated and involved," Obama told Organizing for Action volunteers at their summit.
"Winning is good," Obama told the non-profit group that promotes his agenda. "But you run for office and you win so that you can actually get things done. It's the beginning and not the end of a process."
The rallying cry comes as the president readies to kick off several months of speeches aimed at reframing the economic debate, ahead of key negotiations with Capitol Hill this fall.
"Naturally, it's not going to be as full of razzmatazz as a campaign. First of all, we don't have a billion of dollars to spend," he said to laughter. "Nevertheless, in some ways this stuff is more important."
The president plans to kick off this effort with a speech Wednesday at Knox College in his home state of Illinois, the site of his first major economic address as a senator in 2005.
"I'm going to talk about where we need to go from here; how we need to put behind us the distractions and the phony debate and nonsense that somehow passes for politics these days, and get back to basics, refocus on what it is that everybody is talking about around the kitchen table, what people are talking about day to day with their families," he said, previewing his remarks.
The president asked his supporters to help him turn these ideas into action.
"It will be a pretty good speech," he quipped. "But as we've learned - I've given some pretty good speeches before - and then things still get stuck here in Washington, which is why I'm going to need your help."
Obama later said the "thematic" speech will be followed by a series of "more concrete proposals, some of which I've made before, some of which will be new."
"I've got a little over 1,200 days left in office. I am going to spend every waking minute of every one of those days thinking about and then acting upon any good ideas out there that are going to help ordinary Americans succeed… That's how I'm going to spend my time. I hope that's how you're going to spend your time," he said, before asking the crowd one final, familiar question.
"Are you still fired up?"