Economy not on Organizing for Action’s ‘Action August’ agenda

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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Organizing for Action, the nonprofit organization assembled from the remnants of President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, is pushing for the president’s second-term agenda during a month-long “Action August” of advocacy and fundraising — but don’t expect to hear about the economy.

Beginning on Obama’s birthday, August 4, OFA will spend the month promoting the administration’s top issues ahead of the 2014 midterm elections: the benefits of enrolling early in Obamacare (August 4), immigration reform (August 5), climate change (August 13), gun control (August 21), and immigration reform again (August 31).

“I’ve always said that running for office is not just about getting elected. I believe in winning. Winning’s good. But you run for office and you win so that you can actually get things done. All right? It’s the beginning, and not the end of a process,” Obama said in his recent speech at the OFA summit in Washington, D.C., a video of which was sent to supporters Sunday to rally support for “Action August.”

“I’ve got a little over twelve hundreds days left in office. I am going to spend every waking minute of every one of those days thinking about, and then acting upon, any good ideas out there that are going to help ordinary Americans succeed,” Obama said in the speech, again noting how many days he has left in office. “Thank you very much, OFA. I love you guys. Are you still fired up?,” he added, echoing a 2012 campaign rally mantra.

The economy will not be an OFA focus, despite Obama’s trifecta of speeches late last week at Knox College in Illinois, the University of Central Missouri and in Jacksonville touting his desire to grow the economy from the middle out in his second term. White House press secretary Jay Carney promised that Obama would address the specifics of his economic plan after he was done giving his three speeches.

“After that he will, as we’ve said, give additional speeches focused on aspects of the economy that we can address. And those speeches will have specifics and will have new ideas and both proposals that can be worked on together with Congress, and actions that the president can take using his executive authority and actions he can take through working with outside stakeholders. So that’s sort of the way this will roll out,” Carney told a reporter aboard Air Force One last week.

On the subject of the economy, Obama told The New York Times that Martin Luther King Jr.’s “jobs and justice” theme from the “I Have a Dream” speech had “a massive economic component to that. When you think about the coalition that brought about civil rights, it wasn’t just folks who believed in racial equality. It was people who believed in working folks having a fair shot.”

Obama also said that it’s important for the economy to grow because “[r]acial tensions won’t get better; they may get worse, because people will feel as if they’ve got to compete with some other group to get scraps from a shrinking pot.”

As Carney promised, Obama offered few specific examples of his second-term economic plan in his three economic speeches last week, but noted at Knox College that his administration is on its way to fully implementing Obamacare and criticized the “politically motivated disinformation campaign” aiming to stifle its implementation. Obama also said, “It’s time for the minimum wage to go up.”

Obama said that his plan to offer free preschool to American four year olds — which he previously announced he would pay for by taxing tobacco companies that “harm our young people” — will help the economy.

The national unemployment rate currently stands at 7.6 percent.

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