If you thought the political campaign season ended with the November general elections, you may be mistaken. The Obama campaign team has reorganized to reach out and mobilize Americans on the White House's proposals to ban assault weapons, pass immigration reform and give the president an unlimited debt ceiling.
While the organization will be separate from the Democratic National Committee and not be a part of the White House, one of Obama's star strategist and 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, will be at the helm.
On Sunday, just hours after the president is officially sworn in, the president's closest political allies will gather at what they are calling the Obama Legacy Conference and formally crown Messina as their leader.
Sources close to the situation have told Politico that Messina was tapped for the role because he not only has campaign experience, but has also worked inside the West Wing and participated in legislative battles during Obama's first term.
Coming off of two presidential elections that were successful in large part due to the massive electronic email database assembled by a staff that is the most technologically proficient in the history of campaigns, the group will now have the ability to mobilize voters on any issue they deem important to the president's agenda.
"The president has the most exciting campaign apparatus ever built. It's time to turn that loose," former White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told Politico. "It's time to turn that loose for something more than just an election. If the NRA's got a list, then Obama for America has a bigger list."
The group will look like a who's who of Democratic campaign operatives. In addition to Messina, other staffers will include Gibbs, former campaign spokesperson Stephanie Cutter, Jennifer O'Malley-Dillon, Julianna Smoot, Erik Smith, and David Plouffe.
"We may have started this as a long shot presidential primary campaign in 2007, but it's always been about more than just winning an election. Together, we've made our communities stronger, we've fought for historic legislation, and we've brought more people than ever before into the political process," Obama wrote in an email to supporters. "Organizing for Action will be a permanent commitment to this mission."
And while the organization will be able to target voters on a variety of issues, the group most immediately in their crosshairs will be the National Rifle Association. Earlier this week, President Obama announced a laundry list of gun control proposals – including 23 executive orders – designed to curb violence, including an outright ban on assault weapons. The NRA has already suggested the chances of an assault weapons ban passing Congress are nil.
Cutter, who recently appeared on MSNBC and gave a preview of what to initially expect from the new organization, said: "President Obama provides the leadership here, and he said the American people have to speak up and make their voices heard in this debate," said Cutter. "Just like the NRA is doing with their membership. And President Obama's network across this country, grassroots individuals, who organize, volunteered with their time to get the president re-elected 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."
The group will organize as a 501(c) 4, similar to GOP groups such as Crossroads GPS. One of the major benefits of structuring the group in this fashion is it doesn't have to report the identities of donors. Liberal groups have criticized Republican-leaning groups for not listing contributors and many pundits will be watching to see whether this new group will do the same.
Pundits are also saying the new group will supersede any role the DNC has played in past political fights and is in part a slap at Florida Congresswoman and DNC Chairlady Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was relegated to a back-seat during the last month of the presidential campaign.