A legion of 1,600 newly-recruited Democratic campaign volunteers, armed with Tweet-producing smartphones and a contagious spirit of enthusiasm, are fanning out across 40 states today to begin laying the groundwork for the reelection of President Barack Obama.Armed??? Isn't that dangerous talk in this new age of civility and moderation?
The forces -- college students, recent graduates, teachers, and retirees -- will work unpaid through August, aides say, to grow and re-energize Obama's grassroots volunteer network that had remarkable success in 2008, and gather troves of voter data in the process.If they're going to the the face of Obama, they want want to start working on their putting game.
Obama campaign managers hope the effort will give the president something of a head start over his yet-to-be-determined Republican rival, in what is expected to be a tough campaign.
The operation kicked-off Saturday at boot-camp-style training sessions held jointly by the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee in conference rooms and community centers across the country.
ABC News received exclusive access to one of the two-day sessions held at DNC headquarters, where 15 volunteers received a briefing on campaign strategies and ground operations for the summer ahead.
"As summer organizers, we're the face of the president," Jenn Brown, a DNC staffer leading the training, told attendees. "So, whether it's here or in our lives, we represent the president 24 hours a day, and that's a really big responsibility we take on."
Over coffee and bagels, sub sandwiches and pizza -- which Brown called "the diet of an organizer" -- the recruits shared personal stories, flipped through glossy official instruction manuals and studied up on the Obama's first term with a game of "POTUS Accomplishments Jeopardy."I'll take Miserable Failure for $200, Alex!
On the upside, one of these zombies is already used to losing.
Sam Polstein, 20, a junior at the University of Wisconsin, said he was inspired to become an organizer after witnessing the union protests in Madison earlier this year.
"It was kind of a big moment in my life," he said. "It didn't really inspire me to work toward some particular policy goal as much as it inspired me towards a motivation to work harder for families and workers in general."