President Obama’s “grass-roots army” has descended upon college campuses, knocking on dorm doors to recruit students and slam lawmakers with phone calls pushing health-care “reform.”
Obama for America, Obama’s 2008 political campaign, merged with the Democratic National Committee in January and is now known as Organizing for America. The grass-roots army that some refer to as “Obama 2.0″ is hosting a contest to see which college can call the most state and U.S. representatives by the end of November, the Arizona State University campus newspaper reports.
According to the report, Arizona OFA Director Jessica Jones said students may win bragging rights and other prizes if they blast legislators with the most calls in favor of health-care legislation.
OFA plans to have chapters present at all Pacific-10 school campuses. The Pacific-10 universities are the University of Arizona; Arizona State University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Oregon; Stanford University; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Southern California; University of Washington; and Washington State University.
The organization is urging students to sign a pledge promising they will contact lawmakers in support of Obama’s health plan.
Jones told ASU’s State Press that OFA has two goals with its contest: “We really want to get students excited about OFA and get them involved in the organization. The other purpose is to engage in competition as a community, to show how many people want health-care reform and that [individuals are] not the only one[s] working on it.”
Political science major Erik Carlson, a Tempe campus intern for OFA, said he’s forming an OFA chapter on the Arizona State University campus. He told the newspaper his group will make phone calls, set up an information booth and go door-to-door in residence halls to convince students to make the pledge.
“We usually ask people if they support the president, and if they do, we ask them if they would mind calling their representative to voice their support on health care reform,” he said.
Carlson said he believes students need to play an active role rather than simply assuming the health-care issue doesn’t affect them.
“They mostly think it’s people in other age brackets and they don’t have to worry about it because they are still on their parents’ plans,” Carlson said. “But a lot of people are going to be graduating in the next few years and will be off their parents’ plan. We need health care reform to help ourselves.”
Carlson said he’s confident ASU will call the most lawmakers and win OFA’s contest.
“Obviously we want to win, and I expect us to,” he said.
As WND reported, OFA has been actively recruiting college students in states across the country to “build support for President Obama’s agenda” – and earn college credit while advocating for “change.” OFA has been recruiting students and offering to provide credits toward degree plans in exchange for their advocacy skills.
“Students and young people were critical in building the movement that helped elect President Obama last year. By becoming a National Organizing Intern, you’ll be part of the grass-roots effort to make the change we fought for a reality in 2009 and beyond,” it stated. “As an Organizing Intern, you’ll work side by side with OFA staff and community leaders to help build support for President Obama’s agenda. You’ll learn core organizing principles that are crucial for any campaign and play an important role in building our organization in your state.”
The announcement continues, “President Obama describes his time as a community organizer by saying: ‘It was the best education I ever had, because I learned in those neighborhoods that when ordinary people come together, they can achieve extraordinary things.’
“If you’re passionate about making sure every American has quality health care, reviving our economy, and building a clean energy future, don’t miss this great opportunity. No previous experience is needed in order to apply.”
The group’s website declared: “Organizing for America, the successor organization to Obama for America, is empowering students across the country to build on the movement that elected President Obama and help bring about his vision for change.”
As WND has also reported, help-wanted ads have appeared on Craigslist that offer to pay citizens between $9 and $16 an hour to lobby for the passage of Obama’s health care.