Cutter: Team O will activate the campaign apparatus to take on the gun lobby

posted at 5:31 pm on January 17, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

As we’re all painfully aware by now, President Obama might not be much for presiding — but when it comes to campaigning, the man knows his stuff. Barring some fiscal-cliff action, Team Obama has lain relatively dormant since the election, but they have hinted that they have every intention of putting their impressive machinery to work to back up the president’s second-term agenda, and the gun-control proposals he unveiled yesterday could certainly use some popular muscle.

Here some of this morning’s e-mail from Obama for America campaign manager Jim Messina:

Friend –

Yesterday, President Obama announced his plan to protect our children and our communities by helping reduce gun violence.

We won’t stop every violent act like the one in Newtown, Connecticut. But if we can save the life of even one child, the President believes each of us has a responsibility to take action.

People like you spoke out and demanded action. Your input, along with ideas from leaders and policymakers across the political spectrum, went into the President’s plan.

Learn more about the plan, and say you stand with President Obama in tackling this critical issue.

Most gun owners use their guns safely and responsibly, and the President believes firmly in protecting our Second Amendment rights.

But common-sense changes can go a long way in keeping our streets and our schools safer — and there’s too much at stake to stand by and wait for action.

And Stephanie Cutter was back on the trail on Obama’s behalf, too (video at RCP):

STEPHANIE CUTTER: President Obama provides the leadership here, and he said the American people have to speak up and make their voices heard in this debate. Just like the NRA is doing with there membership. And President Obama’s network across this country, grassroots individuals, who organize, volunteered with their time to get the president reelected are much more powerful than the NRA lobby.

And I think that you can expect to see that network activated, very soon. And for good reason. We need to pass commonsense legislation to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those who shouldn’t be carrying guns. That’s the commonsense nature of this.

I think we can safely say that “common sense” is the hot new gun-control buzzword, but however they want to spin it, the Obama campaign may have their work cut out for them, as a new NBC/WSJ poll points out — could be an uphill battle turning around odds like these:

As Washington prepares for a political battle over the Obama White House’s proposals to curb gun violence after the Newtown, Conn., shootings, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that the National Rifle Association is more popular than the entertainment industry.

Forty-one percent of adults see the NRA — the nation’s top gun lobby — in a positive light, while 34 percent view it in a negative light.

By comparison, just 24 percent have positive feelings about the entertainment industry, and 39 percent have negative ones.

The NRA’s fav/unfav score is virtually unchanged from its 41 percent-to-29 percent rating in the Jan. 2011 NBC/WSJ poll, nearly two years before the Newtown shootings.

Although, apparently, the group has taken some kind of hit in overall popularity in recent weeks:

But three weeks after NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre’s controversial press conference, in which he called for armed guards at the nation’s schools, the NRA is underwater in public approval, with 42 percent of respondents holding a positive opinion of the group and 45 percent with a negative perception, according to PPP. …

PPP speculates the NRA’s drop in popularity is due to the group’s advocacy for armed guards in schools. …

On Dec. 27, Gallup found that the NRA had a positive net favorability of 16 points, 54 percent to 38. The organization has been viewed favorably in all but one Gallup survey on the group since 1993.

As for those remaining undecideds-and/or-ambivalenst, however, Team Obama specializes in mobilizing the masses who normally don’t know enough/care enough and making them feel involved — I doubt any one political issue will inspire the same furor as a presidential election, but I won’t be underestimating them. I’m sure we’ll see his campaign apparatus transform into something more useful to his post-election aims soon, because there are plenty of other “hey look, I can accomplish something other than squabbling about fiscal cliffs and piling on debt in a second term” agenda items coming in short order, too.

Obama for America — the president’s campaign organization — is expected to announce plans to transition into a political group whose mission is to support Obama’s legislative agenda. A report in CNN suggested that top campaign aides are weighing whether to become a super PAC or a tax-exempt group that is not required to disclose donors.

Sessions on organizing in the gay, Latino and black communities — key constituencies that strongly supported Obama’s reelection effort — also will be held.

Already, there are signs the Obama political operation will invest heavily in the White House push to curb gun violence.

Oops: In my blogger’s-haste, I initially forgot to include the second set of NRA polls; added now!


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