In pushing his agenda, Obama is wielding extra muscle that he didn’t employ before, relying on his reconfigured re-election campaign operation. The organization has reappeared as a nonprofit group ready to engage in legislative fights and grass-roots mobilization to supplement the White House.
The group, Organizing for Action, held a tele-town hall Saturday featuring Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago mayor who was Obama’s White House chief of staff. The event was intended to press the themes Obama has pushed this week. Austan Goolsbee, former chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, also participated.
‘‘You guys have to stay involved. All of us have to stay involved so when we have these critical votes there’s an intense pressure on those who are trying to obstruct,’’ Emanuel told Obama supporters participating in the call.
The group’s board of directors includes former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and top campaign officials such as Stephanie Cutter and Julianna Smoot. Obama senior campaign adviser David Axelrod will serve as a consultant.
All retain strong ties to the White House; Axelrod and Emanuel visited the West Wing last week.
Griffin, the former Clinton aide, said such an organization would introduce a brand new element to White House outreach.
He recalled Clinton’s failed effort on health care and his attempt to go over the head of Congress in 1993.
‘‘We tried to build an outside game but we were relying on external organizations to do what President Obama’s team wants to do on its own,’’ he said. ‘‘The question is, is he going to use this organization to really mobilize folks toward some specific, concrete objective. That to me is a whole new dimension to presidential congressional relations.’’
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