WASHINGTON, DC — Former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina pointed to an enduring role for President Barack Obama’s campaign operation and social tools Tuesday — but said the president is likely to keep tight control of his technically sophisticated political operation.
“You can’t just hand this to the next candidate for president,” Messina said at a Politico Playbook breakfast, referring to the campaign’s unprecedented database, grassroots operation, and social tools.
“People want to be involved in supporting the president’s agenda in the next four years,” Messina said, noting that exactly how that will be done will have to be decided by Obama’s supporters.
Messina said the campaign will not immediately turn over the operation to the Democratic National Committee, but he also suggested Obama will not repeat what is widely seen as a mistake of his first term: switching off his grassroots operation at the behest of Congressional Democrats, who bridled at its organizing in their districts.
This time, Messina suggested that the campaign’s vaunted “Dashboard” social media system would be helpful during the fiscal cliff, allowing Obama supporters to call members of Congress.
“People just spent five years winning two presidential elections together, now they’re not just walking away,” he said.
On Sunday night, the Obama campaign e-mailed its vast mailing list a long questionnaire asking supporters how they contributed to the campaign and how they hope to contribute to the campaign in the future. The list of areas of focus for the potential future organization ran 24 check boxes long.
Would the Obama campaign move it’s operations to the DNC? Messina said, “We don’t know,” but hinted at a negative.
Messina said he hoped that other campaigns would use Dashboard-like tools, pointing to it as the campaign tool of the future, but categorically said Obama would not sell access to it.
And Messina shed some light on his own future.
“I think my future is probably outside the White House and helping him,” Messina said, saying he would likely be involved in running whatever “social movement” Obama’s campaign becomes.