Mon | Feb 19, 2018

Obama revs up campaign machine for Clinton

Published:Wednesday | July 6, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Obama and Clinton


The vaunted data-driven machine that twice got President Barack Obama elected is revving up to help elect Hillary Clinton, as Democrats look to recreate the tactical advantage they used against Republicans in 2008 and 2012.

With Obama's popularity rebounding, Democrats have been eagerly awaiting the president's return to campaigning, and he'll hold his debut event for her on Tuesday in North Carolina. Yet, campaign officials say just as critical to her success could be an Obama political operation that remains potent four years after his re-election, including deep troves of voter and donor information, and a corps of trained field staffers and volunteers that Clinton's campaign is now co-opting.




The crown jewel of Obama's machine, an email list of supporters that included 20 million addresses in 2012, is now fully available to Clinton. That list had been closely held within an Obama campaign committee that still exists to pay off old debt. Democratic groups and even Obama's Organising for Action non-profit had to rent the list for a hefty sum.

Now a copy of that list, which helped propel Obama to record-breaking fundraising, is controlled by the Democratic National Committee, which can send emails at will without going through Obama's campaign. That's according to individuals familiar with the list. These individuals weren't authorised to discuss the arrangement and so they requested anonymity.

Just recently, the DNC started sending emails signed by Clinton to the entire list, including one last week inviting donors to enter a raffle to be Clinton's guest to the Broadway musical Hamilton.

For Clinton supporters, the handover of the email list is the clearest indication that concerns that sprang up after Obama's re-election have turned out unfounded. In 2013, when Obama declined to transfer the list to the national party, some Democrats griped that he was holding out on his party by sequestering his most coveted campaign resources.