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.
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.
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.”