Clinton finds warm reception for Organizing for Action comments

Former President Bill Clinton spoke to President Obama's national finance committee and other Democratic officials Saturday afternoon at the Newseum to discuss the newly launched Organizing for Action initiative, sources tell The Hill.

Organizing for Action is targeted at reaching out to past supporters of Obama's campaign and is the restructured version of the Obama for America organization. 

ADVERTISEMENT
The former president talked about having courage to stand by Democratic leaders when dealing with hot-button issues this year, specifically mentioning the upcoming battle in Congress over gun-control legislation and comprehensive immigration reform. Clinton was received warmly by the crowd, which gave him a standing ovation following his comments. 

Clinton played a major role in helping Obama get reelected in November, despite the two having an tense relationship from the 2008 election. The former president gave a rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention about Obama's track record during his first term and even traveled to key swing states to campaign for him.

Clinton was joined by former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, according to sources in the room, which had an overflowing crowd. In a recent email to supporters, Messina said the group would host discussions aimed at strategizing how to use the campaign's infrastructure and voter database to support the president in his second term.

"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," Messina wrote in the email. "Our goal is to help him get things done, but also to help change how things get done in Washington in the first place."

First lady Michelle Obama launched the restructured organization in a video posted on Friday. The group is expected to be registered as a 501(c)4 organization, meaning it's barred by federal law from having politics as its main purpose. 

“The relationships you’ve made, the tools you’ve built and the lessons you’ve learned have already begun to change our politics. And in the coming years, they can change our country. And that’s the mission of Organizing for Action,” the first lady said in the video.

"In terms of the specifics of what this organization will look like, a lot of that will be up to you. It will be determined by your energy and ideas and feedback," she added. "Because after all, this is your movement."


More in Blog Briefing Room

Japanese-American lawmaker rips Paul internment comments

Read more »