Voting Team May Aid Obama On Fiscal Cliff


WASHINGTON, (UPI) — Obama campaign staff and technology could be used to press U.S. lawmakers to agree to the president’s fiscal cliff position, campaign manager Jim Messina said.

“It would be very easy for supporters today to go and start asking people to call members of Congress,” Messina said at a Washington event sponsored by Politico.

“I am sure you will see our supporters start doing that,” he said.

Messina said a decision was not made yet, but if it is, the effort would include the re-election campaign’s online organizing tool, called Dashboard.

“You could easily see people using Dashboard to say, ‘OK, I want to talk about the choices ahead of us in the fiscal cliff [debate] and I want to start organizing my friends,'” he said.

“Dashboard would be very easy to start a group,” he said. “We did over 350,000 events on Dashboard the last couple months of the campaign.”

As part of his fiscal cliff proposal, President Barack Obama wants to let tax rates rise to 39.6 percent from 35 percent on taxable incomes of more than $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.

Ending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for those wealthy people would raise about $440 billion in new revenue over 10 years, the White House estimates.

Obama also plans to travel outside Washington in the hope of broadening national support for the idea, which White House officials say they believe won voter backing in the Nov. 6 election.

In private meetings, White House and House Republican staff members have been reviewing deficit-reduction proposals and discussing what ideas could aid a short-term agreement to avoid the year-end fiscal cliff, The Wall Street Journal reported.

They’re also working on a broader deal that would set targets for lawmakers next year to overhaul spending and taxes over the longer term, the Journal said.

The looming fiscal cliff is a combination of hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to begin Jan. 1. The Congressional Budget Office predicts if the cliff is not avoided, the U.S. economy would fall back into recession next year and the jobless rate would rise to 9.1 percent.

Messina said Obama’s healthcare reform would never have passed if the campaign operation hadn’t been repurposed after Obama won the White House in 2008. The operation became a Democratic National Committee community-organizing project called Organizing for America, seeking to mobilize supporters in favor of Obama’s legislative priorities.

Messina also pointed out the party’s shellacking in the 2010 midterm elections showed the DNC project’s limitations.

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