The Obama list in action

What happens when Obama flips on the switch of that powerful list he controls?

Published December 15, 2008 9:33PM (EST)

The Obama campaign assembled a massive email and cell phone database during the campaign. So what happens now, with the campaign over, with all those names? Can supporters be motivated to contribute to and participate in non-campaign activities?

According to ABC News, well, yes they can.

 This weekend, the results of the activation of the email list -– which an Obama aide estimates is upwards of 13 million people -- was [sic] put on display.

The Obama team reports that 4,252 "Change is Coming" house parties were held in all 50 states -- plus Guam and Puerto Rico. At least 1,950 cities had house parties, and Los Angeles had the largest single party, with 400 people in attendance.

The goal suggested for the meetings was for supporters to "reflect on this monumental journey and plan on how they can bring change to both Washington and their own communities."

The dialogue during the house parties was completely open.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt says the parties are the "next step in determining our supporters' vision for how the organization develops."

This weekend's turnout is one sign of how beneficial the extensive email network the Obama campaign acquired during the campaign could be -– leaving the Obama transition team with a potentially powerful grassroots tool at its fingertips. There is much debate -– and more than healthy dose of secrecy -– from the Obama Transition Team as what exactly to do with this consortium.

The house parties this weekend are just one of the first steps demonstrating how the list could potentially be useful at the grassroots level.

Holy moly. If I were working at the Republican National Committee right now, I would be stocking up on booze because it's going to be a long, wintry holiday season that may not end with the breaking of spring in 2009.


By Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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