In a Nov. 13 phone call to some 30,000 volunteers, newly re-elected President of the United States Barack Obama thanked them for their hard work and urged all to stay involved in grassroots action for the good of the country.
Most pressing, he said, is ending the Bush-era tax cuts for the super rich.
The Obama campaign's battleground state director Mitch Stewart asked the activists to visit a new website called The Action (theaction.org), where they could find campaign materials calling on Congress to end the tax breaks for the richest two percent in America and put the middle class first.
The president said he couldn't be prouder, more grateful, and impressed with the work of the campaign volunteers who registered close to two million voters in battleground states. In addition, volunteers made some 145 million phone calls and door-knocks during the election campaign. The president called it the largest grassroots effort in the history of the country.
"You didn't just help win an election," the president said. You "helped change the electorate," and got new people "involved in civic life."
He said he is proud, in awe, and inspired by the movement. Through the ups and downs, good days and bad, "you kept your eye on the ball," sacrificing time with friends and family, he said.
But "the election is not an end point," Obama said, urging volunteers to "stay active." "You can't stop now," he said.
The president and his senior campaign staff seemed to have drawn lessons from the previous four years. At the end of the 2008 campaign, there was not an immediate pivot to utilize campaign volunteers as a grassroots political movement. That attempt came later with the founding of Organizing for America in January 2009. With OFA in place and a highly motivated volunteer army, the campaign seems to be in a better position to make the shift.
The president promised to give the volunteers "clear direction" and to get out of Washington more. The campaign volunteers are an example of how the country is stronger when people stick together, he said.
There will be "new wrinkles and new frustrations," he said, yet in order to move the country forward volunteers have to show the same grit and tenacity on issues that help the middle class as they did in the campaign.
The Action website offers an "action kit" with signs, Twitter and mobile backgrounds, and Facebook photos with slogans such as "The election is over. The action continues." and "End Bush tax cuts for the wealthy" along with #theaction and theaction.org.
On its "About Us" page, it says:
The election is over and it's time to make it count. Grassroots power is not just for elections.
Congress has until December 31st to make a critical and historic choice. They can ask the richest two percent of Americans to pay their fair share, or they can put more money in wealthy pockets at the expense of the struggling middle class.
The Action is a grassroots movement that demands we face this crisis. There is too much money and power in too few hands and the system is rigged to keep it that way. It's time to level the playing field. It's time to make things right.
The first step is telling Congress, loud and clear: Don't give more tax breaks to the people who need them least.
Yesterday was The Election. Today is The Action.
The Action is for the end of the Bush-era tax breaks for the richest two percent - those making more than $250,000 per year. The Action is for critical investments that create and sustain jobs.
It's time to join: The Action.
Yesterday, the president also met with union leaders and community groups, who said they back his plans to protect the middle class and hike taxes on the very wealthy. They also urged him to protect Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security from Republicans' cuts.
Photo: Graphic from theaction.org action kit.