President Obama went out for lunch on Wednesday, meeting a group of six campaign volunteers at Ted's Bulletin, a newly-opened restaurant on Capitol Hill.
The volunteers came from all over the country and were chosen to attend the lunch based on essays they wrote about organizing. Obama worked as a community organizer in Chicago before he entered politics.
Joining the group was Sara El Amine, national training director for Obama for America, the president's main re-election campaign arm. The restaurant's menu is diner-style, with burgers, shakes and salads. The decor is 1930s retro, and "Three Stooges" films are often projected against a large wall. For Obama's visit, American flag toothpicks were stuck into cookies served to the contest-winning volunteers.
The group was made up of Oscar De Los Santis of California; Nora Fee of Oregon; Victoria Kirby of Washington, D.C.; Kathleen McKevitt of Idaho; Celeste Rotunda of Florida; and Henry Sha of Pennsylvania.
Grassroots efforts were key to Obama's 2008 victory, both in the Democratic primary against then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, and the general election against Republican John McCain. But this kind of campaigning requires a highly motivated core group of organizers willing to host house parties, recruit friends and neighbors and make millions of small-dollar donations. Lackluster poll numbers and a struggling economy mean the Obama campaign is going to have to work even harder in 2012 to energize grassroots activists.
The meal was the second time in a week that Obama has been out for lunch on Capitol Hill. Last Wednesday he treated members of his staff to lunch at Good Stuff Eatery as a thank you for all their work on the debt ceiling negotiations.
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more