Obama Building Private, Big Money Network to Push Agenda
President Barack Obama learned in his first term that he couldn’t change Washington from the inside, saying in the heat of his re-election race: “You can only change it from the outside.” Months later, his former White House aides and campaign advisers are embracing Obama’s words as a call to action.
Obama veterans are building a wide network of deep-pocketed groups and consulting firms independent of government, the Democratic Party and traditional liberal groups, a sweeping — if not unprecedented — effort outside the White House gates aimed at promoting the president’s agenda and shaping his legacy.
From campaign strategists to online gurus and policy hands to press agents, Obama loyalists — including many who discovered that a second term yields fewer administration job vacancies — are slicing his agenda into smaller parts and launching highly targeted efforts on subjects including healthcare, job creation, and electoral politics.
The lynchpin of the effort is Organizing for Action, a nonprofit run by former Obama advisers that has essentially transformed his re-election campaign into a grass-roots machine to support his initiatives. In its early stages, the group is raising millions from big and small donors alike and whipping up support for issues like gun control and an immigration overhaul.