Sunday 18 March 2018

Obama bid for second Oval Office run begins

Alex Spillius in Washington

US President Barack Obama launched his re-election campaign yesterday in an email to 13 million supporters, seeking to revive the coalition of young, first-time and minority voters that propelled him to the White House in 2008.

The message directed recipients to his new campaign website where a video called "Are You In?" featured supporters explaining why they continued to back the US president.

Over a rock music soundtrack, one supporter, Ed from Carolina, said: "I don't agree with Obama on everything but I respect him and I trust him."

"There are so many things that are still on the table that need to be addressed and we want them to be addressed by President Obama," said Gladys from Nevada.

Mr Obama and his aides chose not to feature him in the video, believing it would send the message that he was more preoccupied with re-election than governing.

Mr Obama is embroiled in debates about aiding the Libyan rebels and funding the US government, and faces the possibility of a government shutdown if a resolution is not found by Friday.

The new campaign is keeping the sunrise logo popularised in 2008, while most of the same advisers that transformed an inexperienced senator into the first African-American president have stayed on board.

The campaign will again be based in his hometown Chicago, in a bid to maintain contact with the ordinary voters.

After benefiting from an unprecedented grassroots movement in 2008, Mr Obama faces the challenge of re-energising liberals who have criticised some of his policies. Many are upset that his signature health care reform did not introduce a British-style, publicly-funded system and are disappointed that he failed to meet his pledge to close the controversial prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay.

He will also need to win back independent voters who have abandoned his Democratic Party for more right-wing, budget-cutting Tea Party messages in the 2010 midterm elections.

His announcement followed the encouraging economic news that unemployment had fallen to 8.8pc, after being well over 9pc for most of his presidency.

"We've always known that lasting change wouldn't come quickly or easily. It never does," Mr Obama wrote in the email, which he signed with his first name.

"But as my administration and folks across the country fight to protect the progress we've made, we also need to begin mobilising for 2012, long before the time comes for me to begin campaigning in earnest."


Supporters were asked to give anything from $10 (£6.20) to $5,000 by clicking a "Donate" button. Individual donors are allowed to give a maximum $2,500 in both the primary phase of the campaign, when Mr Obama will face only fringe candidates seeking to become the Democratic Party's nominee, and in the general phase.

Several potential Republican opponents are jockeying for position to challenge the president in November 2012, though Tim Pawlenty, a former Minnesota governor, is the only mainstream candidate who has launched a campaign.

About a dozen others, including Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, and Newt Gingrich, former House of Representatives Speaker, are expected to join the race. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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