Washington (AFP) – President Barack Obama delved into his grass-roots organizing past Monday, appealing to his most faithful supporters to help him out of the political maelstrom over the botched rollout of his health care law.
“It is a long race, and we aren’t near the tape yet, we have just got to keep on running,” a tired-sounding Obama said, on a scratchy phone and Internet call with his Organizing for Action political group.
“I hope you still have as much fight in you as I do. We aren’t going to stop until we get this done,” Obama said.
“When you are on the right side of something it gives you energy, it gives you motivation.”
OFA executive director Jon Carson said 200,000 supporters were on the call.
A number of Obama supporters tweeted that they were unable to access the web feed at least to start with, in an ironic echo of the website glitches that have stalled the launch of Obamacare.
The president’s comments came as he faces a political crisis over the signature domestic achievement of his presidency and with the White House under siege from Republicans who sense a chance to doom the law they have always opposed.
OFA aides, who spoke after Obama, implored supporters to sign up prospective consumers of the new health care scheme one-by-one and to spread the word, replicating the face-to-face campaign tactics which helped Obama build a formidable grass roots organizing network that helped him win two presidential elections.
The White House admits the launch of the Healthcare.gov website, where consumers can sign up for health insurance, has been a debacle, but is promising that the vast majority of potential customers will be able to enroll online by the end of the month.
But Obama also implored his supporters on the call to spread the word that people could sign up for health care policies by mail, on the phone or in person.
He repeated his recent theme that he has one last campaign in him — to implement Obamacare, though he sounded weary as he tried to fire up supporters.
“I am going to need your help, your energy … you are going to make the difference,” Obama said.