Plouffe: White House to ‘enlist’ public support in gun-control debate

David Plouffe, a senior adviser to President Obama, said Sunday that the White House will try to “enlist” the public in the gun control debate.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Plouffe noted that Obama’s broad package of proposals to stem gun violence will need the support of the American people to move on Capitol Hill.

“We are trying to enlist the American people in these debates. The only way change is going to really happen and make progress is with the American people,” Plouffe said. “They need to be involved at the center of this and pushing here.”

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The president’s reelection campaign is moving over into a 501(c)(4) non-profit group, called Organizing for Action. That group is expected to campaign to push lawmakers to back Obama on key issues, including gun control, during his second term.

The new group will accept donations from corporations. On ABC’s “This Week,” Plouffe said its donors will be disclosed to the public.

“We will voluntarily disclose all of our donors,” he added. The White House adviser said he saw volunteers from the president’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns wanting to remain involved in the political process after Election Day.


“They want to be out there, organizing, driving message, holding people accountable on issues like immigration, the deficit and jobs, gun safety. A lot of passion out there,” Plouffe said. “One of the lessons from the first term that we want to do better is yes, there has to be an inside game, there also has to be an outside game. It’s not either or. You put those things together.”

The new group will help with outreach to the public, according to Plouffe.

“We want to make sure we are in communication with them,” he said.

Democratic lawmakers worried about reelection in 2014, however, may not want to run afoul of the powerful gun-rights lobby and support the president’s proposal, which includes calls for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, along with instituting universal background checks for gun sales.

Plouffe said last month’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which killed 27 people, has given new urgency to the effort.

“I think Newtown has changed the debate. Sadly, it took a tragedy like that,” he said on CNN.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Plouffe added that the White House believes there is support for gun control.

"And we think there's consensus on Capitol Hill for this. We think we can get the 60 votes in the Senate and 218 [in the House]," said Plouffe.  But he acknowledged "it's going to be very, very hard."

Jennifer Martinez contributed to this report.

This story was last updated at 12:36 p.m.