CHICAGO — A liberal group upset over potential cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security delivered pledges Friday to President Barack Obama's national campaign headquarters threatening to pull its support.
About a dozen people representing the Progressive Change Campaign Committee delivered what they said were 200,000 pledges from people who will refuse to donate or volunteer for Obama's re-election campaign if he cuts the entitlement programs.
"It's not a question of who they're going to support for president, they're going to vote for Barack Obama. It's a question of where their time and money is going to go," spokesman T. Neil Sroka said.
Obama has been taking heat from the left over the debt ceiling negotiations, in which he has been willing to target the long-standing programs. His approach is certain to sit better with independent voters, many of whom have told pollsters they want Washington politicians to work together to solve the big problems.
Sroka said the 200,000 people represent more than $17 million in donations to Obama's campaign in 2008 and about 2.6 million volunteer hours.
Protester Mary Ellen Croteau, 61, of Chicago said she's even ready to find someone else to support if Obama cuts Medicare and Social Security.
"I don't know who I'm going to vote for yet because there doesn't seem to be too many people on the horizon, but I will vote for someone whether it's a Green candidate, whether it's a communist, I don't care. Somebody who's going to stand up for people," Croteau said.
Sroka later said she was not speaking on behalf of the group.
The Obama campaign's chief operating officer, Ann Marie Habershaw, accepted the group's petitions in the lobby of the downtown office building that houses the campaign.
"Americans elected the president in 2008 to take on the big challenges facing our country, and he's engaged in an effort to do just that," Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a statement.