As he launches his second term, President Obama may get help from an ambitious new political organization being built out of his reelection campaign, a group that could reshape how future presidents harness supporters to press their White House agendas.
Run by former Obama campaign officials, the advocacy group will seek to leverage the campaign's sophisticated organizing tools and rich voter database to support the president's policy objectives, including raising the debt ceiling, gun control and immigration reform.
Leadership for the new group has not been announced, but former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina and several other former campaign operatives are expected to play key roles. On Thursday, Messina sent out an email blast to Obama campaign supporters urging them to back the White House gun policy proposals.
Making the leap from a campaign built around the singular goal to one with a broader — and ongoing — mission is no easy task.Here is the Messina email:
"Every presidential campaign struggles with the question of, 'How do we handle our legacy?'" noted Republican election law attorney Michael Toner, who served as general counsel for George W. Bush's 2000 campaign. "This is fairly novel, and it's rare to talk about trying to house this apart from the party. I think it's very challenging, because the DNC will say, 'What about us?' Other candidates will say, 'What about us?' It's very hard to finesse that."
The organization will be set up as a 501(c)4 social welfare group, according to top Democrats privy to the discussions. That structure allows it to accept unlimited contributions.
As the "fiscal cliff" debate raged on, supporters like you were right there with President Obama, making sure your voices were heard from all over the country. When we work together like that, we're a powerful force.
Issues like immigration, climate change, and gun violence will be debated over these next four years, and President Obama is ready to take them on -- but he needs us by his side. Our goal is to help him get things done, but also to help change how things get done in Washington in the first place.
Over inauguration weekend, you'll have a chance to participate in a discussion about how we'll work together to support our president and address the issues we all care about. Some volunteers and staff will be gathering in Washington, D.C., and will be joined online by thousands more supporters nationwide for the Obama Campaign Legacy Conference, where we'll firm up the structure and leadership of the new organization.
Want to be part of the conversation as our next chapter begins?
The impetus for this conference comes from you. In November, we sent a survey asking you about your campaign experience and where you'd like our movement to go from here.
More than a million people responded. In fact, four out of five survey respondents said they'd like to continue to be involved and volunteer over the next four years.
That's an advantage that no previous president has enjoyed, and one that has the potential to reshape our politics for years to come.
This is an important opportunity to shape the future of this movement, and I hope you'll take part:
Thanks. Can't wait to see what we do next.
Obama for America
P.S. -- Watch this short video to see how your work backing the President during the "fiscal cliff" talks allowed us to restore fairness to our tax code by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more. It's just one example of what we can accomplish when we're in it together.