Obama volunteers aim to stay involved

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Miss Benz chimed in. “He has a vision for the country that actually is a place you want to be and a place that we can all be really proud of. It’s not that everything is going to work out perfectly, but to have everyone believe in that vision of what the United States can be again, just that is so powerful,” she said.

Mitch Stewart, the new executive director of Organizing for America, said the goal is to keep supporters involved for the long term.

“You wanted this movement to continue, and you wanted to actively support President Obama’s agenda,” he said, adding he hopes the tactics used during the campaign continue. “Friends talk to friends, and neighbors talk to neighbors about the issues they care about,” he said.

One way to do that is to make sure voters feel “connected to what President Obama is doing in Washington” through regular communication, said David Plouffe, Mr. Obama’s campaign manager.

“We’ll soon be asking you to give whatever time or talent you can to support the president,” Mr. Plouffe said in a video Friday. “We’re going to be talking to you a lot more about issues. Together, hopefully we can build a movement … [with a] much different purpose - not to win an election, but to change this country.”

Making history

The diverse group in the room wasn’t shy talking about the delicate issue of race.

Ms. Engles said the Obama presidency is “so much deeper” than just marking the election of the first black president.

“I don’t have the words to tell you what that meant,” she said. “I just remember not that long ago I would try to find [my now-25-year-old daughter] a black doll baby because there were no positive black images. This is so powerful.”

Miss Clark said she’s had some fights with people who can’t get past the race issue.

“I have a hard time saying he’s a black man. When you say he’s a black man, you dismiss the woman that spoke truth into his life every day,” she said. “She had to be diverse, she was strong, she loved different people. She was the bomb, his mother, and she was white.”

Mr. Malik said his friends abroad who follow the U.S. election tell him via Internet phone calls they have “a sense of hope” about the world now that Mr. Obama is president.

Ms. Myers nodded as the teenager spoke. “It’s true. He’s the first president who has been elected by the world.”

As the 10 Washington Times guests got up to leave, no longer strangers, they promised to stay in touch as they keep working for the Obama agenda.

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About the Author

Christina Bellantoni

Christina Bellantoni is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times in Washington, D.C., a post she took after covering the 2008 Democratic presidential campaigns. She has been with The Times since 2003, covering state and Congressional politics before moving to national political beat for the 2008 campaign. Bellantoni, a San Jose native, graduated from UC Berkeley with ...

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