An Inside Look at Obama’s Organizing for America Part I
posted at 2:25 pm on February 1, 2010 by Anita MonCrief
Blogger and activist Carol Greenberg approached me recently with an exclusive look at her work investigating Organizing for America. I was impressed with Carol’s investigative reporting initiative and realized that America needed to see the “Obama Machine” in action. I began working with her on unraveling the truth behind OFA.
I have invited Carol to guest blog at my sites this week for Part I. Carol’s courage in standing up for America and the information provided has allowed me to write the stunning Part II that will follow shortly.
-By Carol Greenberg
Obama’s “permanent campaign” Organizing for America has managed to skirt campaign finance laws while continually providing the unprecedented “opportunity to help the president.” Countless emails fill boxes across America with the sender name President Barack Obama.
Organizing for America has kept a high profile and played a key role in the healthcare debate. Obama’s managed to turn his extraordinary campaign model into a post-election campaign/organizing website where OFA honed their method of using the internet to reach progressives to push through his increasingly unpopular agenda.
During Barack Obama’s campaign he used a similar tool and website called “Obama for America.” Utilizing the skills he learned at ACORN as a community organizer, Obama was able to acquire the “highest office in the land”. In an election night quote from November of 2008, Obama addresses a crowd who voted for “Hope” and “Change.”
“This victory alone is not the change we seek —
it is only the chance for us to make that change.”
— President Barack Obama, Election Night, 2008
And almost immediately after Mr. Obama was elected, the name of his campaign tool “Obama for America” was changed to “Organizing for America.” Here is a screen shot:
Interestingly, on Jan. 17, 2009, three days before Mr. Obama is sworn into the Presidency, he announced the switch-over from “Obama for America” to “Organizing for America.”
And here is a screen shot of Organizing for America, or OFA; in its present state. If you notice, it has Mr. Obama’s name on it:
The bottom half of the screen shot is not visible, but trust me: it says “Project of the DNC.” For those of you who wish to examine the site, the link is here.
Throughout the ensuing months between Mr. Obama’s roll-out of OFA and the present I have taken a peek at the site every once in awhile, out of curiosity to see what he was saying. Frankly I’m not sure if any other man in the Oval Office ever had a web page, but this one is asking visitors to “create an account.” Hmmmm… That’s really different. So I did. And I signed up for his e-mails. After all, shouldn’t we ALL want to be privy to the message our President has to say?
I watched the site, and received his e-mails. And many times was disconcerted, being a Conservative; about WHY he always seemed so successful at overturning any efforts, Congressional votes, etc. that Conservatives brought forward.
One day I received an e-mail alerting me to an “OFA Training Seminar.” It was to be a 4-hour session on community organizing, his way. And the seminar was not far from my home. I remember the saying “it is always good to learn the ways of one’s enemies” so I decided to attend. Undercover. As one of “them.” The opposite side of the table.
We had a ball. There was meet and greet time, we were fed pizza and all the trimmings; unfortunately no beer. There was a video. Papers were passed out, “cheat sheets” of how to approach prospective people to educate them about Mr. Obama’s policies and agenda. And also ways to entice them to vote for progressive candidates. We broke up into small groups. We made friends. We rehearsed with one another the spiel we would give in the “community organizing arena.” By the end of the evening we were one big happy family. I went home that evening without committing to anything. I figured I would get a follow-up phone call, tell them I wasn’t interested, and that would be the end of it. But all the while I kept thinking there just has to be more to this than what I experienced that evening. Mr. Obama was winning “big time” at everything he undertook.
Unexpectedly about a week later I received another “opportunity.” An e-mail from OFA inviting me to be part of one of their on-line “webinars” which would teach canvassers how to enter information into OFA website databases. I was intrigued, but vacillated. After all, this would be going deeper into the “belly of the beast.” But I ultimately decided I would probably never get another opportunity such as this, so being the brave woman that I am I RSVPed in the affirmative. This was based out of the home, a conference call with a trainer on-line, using one’s own computer only as an observation tool. There was no disclaimer ahead of time, I was invited; so I decided while the trainer was moving through the OFA/Votebuilder system I would get some screen shots. Which I did. But don’t get any ideas out there anyone. This is a highly secure and password-protected website. And because this was a demonstration, I do not have any access to the website.
The conference call training session was meant to give users an overview of the system, and I was surprised at its design and detail. For example, below is a database of persons contacted and the result of what is called “Member of Congress” commits. In other words, who has agreed or not agreed to contact their Congressperson.
When the “webinar” was over, and I had the time to take a good look at the screen shots, this is when I was stunned. I realized finally this is why the Conservative movement has been taking a hit all these months. I have to give 5 stars to their system. It is highly organized and every call, every contact, every encounter is logged. Every precinct in the country is in the website which allows for detailed study and analysis of canvassing and vote results.
I let it go for a few days. Undecided about the importance of what, if anything I had discovered. Probably just good for a teaching lesson to the Conservatives about how we need to become more organized, just like the premier “Community Organizer in Chief.”
I have done a couple of diaries for RedState. A few days later I encountered a diary by Moe Lane, and it was about OFA. Only his opinion was the complete opposite of mine. That post Correcting the Record on Organizing for America is linked here. It’s a short post, but all the while I was reading it, the more agitated I became. Moe Lane is a great and respected writer, but after all he had not experienced and seen first hand what I had.
I decided to do a “rebuttal” post. Sorry Moe, but I have to rebut your OFA assessment. That post can be found here. And a couple of weeks later, Moe Lane did another post on OFA. Revisiting Sifry and the OFA withering. This is when I decided that some action needed to be taken to inform others about the formidable group that OFA has become.
First I am going to post a few screen shots from the OFA/Votebuilder/DNC website. Any and all data that may be able to identify someone’s identity has been removed.
Here is a screen shot of canvassing results. Notice how all data is carefully logged.
Next we have a screen shot of the dreaded “rapid response teams.” These are the people Obama’s OFA rolls out during a “crisis” to be door-knockers, set up phone banks; etc. These are the same “rapid response teams OFA rolled out for the Scott Brown Massachusetts senate race “crisis” and the Blanche Lincoln Arkansas “crisis”:
Have you ever wondered how Obama was able to “toss” Lincoln in October, to get her to “cave” on the Healthcare vote? Here is my final screen shot:
Notice that the “team” had 114% more “vote commits” than hoped for, for a total of over 7,000 phone calls, doors knocked on, and visits to Lincoln’s office. This my friends, is why Conservatives are losing in the organizing arena.
If you’ll notice at the top of each screen shot, it says “VoteBuilder” somewhere, so I decided to see what I could find out about “VoteBuilder.” And it wasn’t very difficult.
My research took me to February of 2007. Howard Dean, then Chairman of the DNC, announces the creation of a state-of-the-art voter-file interface. This will be called “Votebuilder.” I am including a couple of pertinent excerpts from the announcement below. The link to the full announcement is found here.
Today, the Democratic National Committee announced that it has signed a deal with Voter Activation Network (VAN) to create a nationwide voter file interface for the DNC’s national voter file. The new voter file, which has been renamed “VoteBuilder”, builds on both the significant enhancements and upgrades Chairman Dean made during the 2006 election cycle and the critical investment in the DNC’s voter file made by former Chairman Terry McAuliffe. The new, web-based tool will ensure that from the National Party to the state parties, Democratic candidates have access to the state-of-the-art tools needed to help win elections. VoteBuilder also represents the next step in Chairman Dean’s efforts to build and strengthen the infrastructure of the Democratic Party. [sic]
And this quote from Howard Dean specifically:
VoteBuilder will enable users to more easily and effectively sync data automatically, and facilitate the swapping of data between state parties and the DNC, thereby providing state parties and candidates with the most up-to-date and accurate voter data available. As an example, the DNC will be able to create an updated nationwide list of voter contacts on a daily basis.
My state, Ohio, was more than just a battleground state during Election 2008 because of Secretary of State Brunner and the ACORN debacle, so I decided to do some research on those “little nuts.”
Anita MonCrief’s blog gave me a wealth of information.
ACORN’s 501(c)(3) non-profit arm Project Vote needed an effective way of classifying and organizing all their “VR” or “voter registration” cards into a local database. At the time, all their cards were being sent to a central national database entry company to be compiled. According to insiders in ACORN Political Operations, ACORN had learned from the failures of the Clinton adminstrations and decided that a successful “Progressive” agenda required collaboration. ACORN relied heavily on Project Vote, whom often describe themselves as:
“the largest non-partisan voter participation organization in the United States and a leading provider of technical assistance and direct services to the larger civic participation community.“
Project Vote proposed the creation of a “List Acquisition and Enhancement Project” which would allow them to build a strategic plan to build and maintain statewide voter files in all states, particularly in states crucial to electing progressive candidates, Ohio being one.
The lists would include voter data, demographics, or “metrics,” and consumer data among other things.
Interestingly, Project Vote’s ambitions described above are similar to Howard Dean’s “pride and joy” VoteBuilder. VoteBuilder was designed by the Voter Activation Network who unsurprisingly list the “usual suspects” as clients.
Part II will reveal reveal the ACORN connection through a variety of “partner” and affiliate organizations created to deceive America about who is really pushing the Obama Agenda.