- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 19, 2008

DEVELOPING:

The remnants of the Barack Obama campaign are collecting reams of valuable data from supporters on his millions-strong list, an indication the president-elect is leaning toward fully merging his operation with the Democratic National Committee.

There are competing schools of thought within Mr. Obama’s organization, with some of his top team members seeing value in keeping the campaign and the DNC separate with an eye on 2012 while others believe the Democrat should seize the power and strengthen the committee to prepare for near-term electoral battles.

Mr. Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe asked supporters in a late-night e-mail Tuesday to answer detailed questions on their issue preferences and to gauge their willingness to volunteer for future candidates.

Mr. Plouffe often talked about the importance of the grassroots “persuasion army” the campaign had built, and his deputy Steve Hildebrand said the idea was to create a lasting national Democratic majority from town halls to the halls of Congress.

“You’ve built an organization in your community and across the country that will continue to work for change — whether it’s by building grassroots support for legislation, backing state and local candidates, or sharing organizing techniques to effect change in your neighborhood,” Mr. Plouffe said. “Your hard work built this movement. Now it’s up to you to decide how we move forward.”

The questions seek demographic data such as how often the respondent attends church services.

But most importantly, the survey asks supporters to rank future goals for the Obama “movement.”

The four options they are asked to place in order of importance are “Helping Barack’s administration pass legislation through grassroots efforts; helping elect state and local candidates who share the same vision for our country; training volunteers in the organizing techniques we used to elect Barack; and working on local issues that impact our communities.”