Friday, January 16, 2009

Kaine: Obama volunteers could help pass stimulus - CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

The incoming chairman of the Democratic National Committee said Friday he wants Barack Obama's army of campaign volunteers to help the new president move his economic stimulus package through Congress, one more sign that the new administration plans to harness their vast campaign network to pressure lawmakers on policy matters.

In a YouTube video e-mailed to DNC supporters on Friday, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine answered questions from Democrats around the country, including one from an Indiana woman who asked Kaine how he plans to keep Obama supporters motivated post-election.

"President-elect Obama right from the start has to work with Congress to make sure we pass a stimulus package that will get the economy growing again," Kaine said in the video.

"We've got to get the American people to weigh in about the urgency of it and the importance of it," he added. "And that’s a way we can actually use the campaign volunteers to actually now make policy that’s right for the nation."

Kaine was tapped to lead the DNC earlier this month.

Kaine was tapped to lead the DNC earlier this month.

He also said campaign volunteers could be mobilized in more traditional ways, such as helping Democrats win governor’s races later this year in New Jersey and Virginia.

Kaine's remarks follow a Wednesday report in the Los Angeles Times that outlined a potential blueprint for the new president's political operation, in which the White House political office and the DNC would use existing campaign volunteers and newly hired staffers to organize grassroots pressure on elected officials.

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