Obama for America will become Organizing for Action, a non-profit, tax-exempt political group that will try to build support for Obama’s priorities, including gun control and immigration. In an email to supporters, Obama predicted the group would become “an unparalleled force in American politics” and said it would “work to turn our shared values into legislative action.”
And Organizing for Action plans to “bring the American people more into the debate than we did in the first term,” David Plouffe, Obama’s top political adviser who is expected to play a role in the group when he leaves the White House, told ABC’s “This Week.” A similar effort after Obama’s first election, Organizing for America, made little traction in the health care debate – but Plouffe said the energy is there for a second term.
The campaign’s volunteers “were pretty clear after the election they wanted to stay with it and they want to be out there organizing,” he said.
Obama’s inaugural address reflected a politician who “knows he need not face the electorate again and wants to spend the next years on big deals,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the McClatchy-Marist Poll and the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion in New York.
Miringoff noted that moments after giving his inaugural address, Obama lingered at the door of the Capitol to drink in the sight of the crowd, spreading blocks to the Washington Monument.
“In many ways, he’s feeling the moment, which he wasn’t in the first term,” Miringoff said. “And now he’s angling to make the case that in difficult times, both substantially and given the dysfunction in Washington, that he managed to move things.”
Ultimately, Obama’s assertive agenda for a second term might be aimed as much at history as for the moment.
“What you’re hearing in a second inaugural is a person projecting his legacy,” said Kathleen Hall Jamison, a professor of communication at the University of Pennsylvania and co-author of “Presidents Creating the Presidency: Deeds Done in Words.”
“Whether he accomplishes them or not, if throughout the second term he fights for them,” she said, “then his legacy will have been that he identified them as important and that he fought to address them.”