By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers.
Incoming President Barack Obama will be the first president to keep his campaign field team while in office, according to Democratic officials. While other presidents have handed off their campaign organization to the national party upon entering office, Team Obama is expected to keep elements of its campaign operational in the states, say the insiders. Democratic officials call what's being dubbed "Obama 2.0" a brilliant strategy to use his campaign and massive 10 million to 12 million E-mail addresses to pressure political foes to back his agenda.
Sources say that this week the Obama transition team is gathering feedback with "deliberate haste" from fundraisers, house-party-throwers, and major volunteers in an attempt to finalize the plan. This next phase of the Obama effort will be to hire organizers in every state, though the transition team aims for the organization to be mostly volunteer-run. The four goals of Obama's latest move, as laid out by his transition team in an internal document, are:
— Mobilize communities to place pressure on key legislators when major issues are on the table.
— Keep the Obama organization in place for upcoming elections.
— Promote two-way communication between the public and the executive office.
— Civic engagement: Obama 2.0's direction will be determined locally, with minimal top-to-bottom direction.
As of yet, according to one source, the biggest issue with Obama 2.0 is funding. It's unclear whether the Democratic National Committee will pick up the check, since the Obama campaign wants to move as far away from one-party associations as possible.
But one answer could be the E-mail list, which many party officials and advisers are pushing Obama to use to both raise money and pressure foes. Pollster Peter Hart today, for example, told us that the list is "gold" and that Obama should hand it to a new group whose goal is to help the new president push his agenda. "That's the strongest political capital I've seen," Hart said of the list. But that idea is being resisted by many Washington-based advocacy groups. Their concern: They don't want to have to compete with a new Obama group for money and members. And the Democratic National Committee isn't jazzed about managing the list because many of those on it are independents or Republicans who wouldn't appreciate receiving the regular flow of DNC fundraising letters.