Obama rebuilding volunteer army ahead of election

Barack Obama's re-election campaign is barely a month old, but the social mobilization juggernaut is already in high gear.

Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is barely a month old, but Camille Gervasio and other volunteers nationwide already are hard at work.

“Are you with us? Are you in?” Gervasio asks into her iPhone, dialing through a call sheet resting on her laptop to line up supporters for an election 18 months away.

In call centres like this one on the eighth floor of an office building, the president’s backers are trying to take advantage of a head start over the still-forming Republican field and the benefits of incumbency to rebuild a grassroots effort that mobilized millions of voters in 2008.

Obama’s campaign has pledged to reach out to every voter it was in contact with during his first run, a herculean 50-state organizational effort to reconnect with its supporters – some of them now disillusioned with the president.

Without having to focus on a primary opponent, Obama’s campaign also is spending much of its time and money trying to build foundations of support early in battleground states like Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Ohio that backed Obama last time but have since elected Republican governors, weakening state Democratic Party operations.

“Every single day we have to go scratch and claw for those votes,” Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, said recently in a video outlining Obama’s strategy. He argued that Obama’s team must “act like an insurgent campaign” to win re-election.

In some ways, Obama’s first campaign never folded.

After he was elected, he turned it into an organization called Organizing for America to communicate with supporters, rally them behind his policies and encourage get-out-the-vote efforts during last year’s congressional elections. The group, run through the Democratic National Committee, has been criticized even by some Democrats for being ineffective at translating support for Obama’s campaign into support for his policies.

Since Obama officially announced his re-election campaign in early April, his advisers have been working to reignite the grassroots campaign that was inspired by Obama’s days as a community organizer.

Under the slogan “I’m In!,” volunteer events are under way across the country, from brainstorming sessions at coffee houses to holding phone banks, house parties and door-to-door neighbourhood canvassing events.

“We’ve expanded upon what we did in 2008,” said Jeremy Bird, the Obama campaign’s national field director. “We could have said we’ll come back to you when we run another presidential election, but we’ve maintained contact with our supporters, they’ve been involved in voter outreach, legislative fights, training people.”

Brands Articles

BMO unveils first campaign from Y&R

A new, employee-built tagline is designed for Canadian and U.S. markets

Supermarket chain battles criticism over World War I ad

Sainsbury's four-minute television spot depicts the 1914 Christmas Truce

Best Buy posts unexpected sales gain, prepares for holiday deals

Best Buy CEO: Holiday deals will be more "balanced and targeted" this year

Frank & Oak gets into home decor with Etsy collection

Menswear retailer experiments with handmade home goods

Ford Canada hits the streets of Montreal in new web series

Brand focuses on one of the most important small car markets: Montreal

Dairy Farmers of Canada and W Network’s cheesy campaign

Holiday effort from m2 targets ‘zestfuls’

Target Canada focuses on holiday sales, then its future

Signs of improvement outlined in the company's third-quarter report

Metro boosts Q4 profit, revenue and same store sales up

Montreal retailer posts $115.6-million profit

Kiip launches white label loyalty solution for brands

Platform helps marketers offer specialized rewards for new or loyal users