Obama: Supporters have to ‘get out there’

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A day after the White House dismissed protesters at town-hall events as people sent from opposition groups in Washington, the administration’s political wing began mobilizing millions of its own supporters.

“We’ve got to get out there,” President Obama said in an e-mail message sent Wednesday to the more than 13 million supporters of his campaign group, Organizing for America.

“These canvasses, town halls and gatherings only make a difference if you turn up to knock on doors, share your views, and show your support,” he said. “So here’s what I need from you: Can you commit to join at least one event in your community this month?”

Supporters who go to group’s Web site are asked to enter their names, e-mail addresses, mailing addresses and phone numbers. The site says that after they have done that, a staffer will “be in touch to let you know about upcoming events near you.”

The group also organized a gathering Wednesday in Detroit to counter protesters that might show up at an event attended by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The coordinated effort from Washington to produce grassroots action comes one day after the White House and Democrats in Washington denounced protesters at health care town hall forums across the country as “manufactured” by the Republican party and lobbyist allies.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs maintained that this was the case Wednesday morning.

“I think there is a lot of manufactured anger going on,” he said, repeating a line he first said Tuesday.

The Democratic National Committee released a Web video aimed at discrediting the loud and sometimes angry protests that have popped up around the country and distributed through YouTube and other forms of online video.

“This mob activity is straight from the playbook of high-level Republican political operatives. They have no plan for moving our country forward, so they’ve called out the mob,” says the video, which shows footage of protesters in Texas surrounding Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Texas Democrat, on Saturday, and chanting “just say no” repeatedly.

Click here to see the video.

Republican groups and operatives have ridiculed the idea that there is any high-level organization behind the protests, beyond the posting online of when and where town hall forums are taking place so that opponents of the president’s reforms can be informed and show up if they choose.

But DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse has accused “Republican operatives” of bussing in volunteers to the events. And Democratic strategist Donna Brazile told The Washington Times she thinks the protesters are being paid to show up.

“They’re renting organizers,” she said. “The left has done it. Now they’re doing it. This is not some spontaneous outbreak of emotion.”

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said Mr. Obama’s Democratic allies were doing “what psychologists call projection.”

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