Inside the Obama Campaign’s Decision to Ask “Are You In?”

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This week’s magazine features my story from inside President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, including plans to train more than 1,500 full-time volunteers early next month for a summer of on-the-ground organizing. The plan is big: to call or meet with hundreds of thousands of former volunteers for an open-ended conversation about the 2012 election. The goal is to get “I’m in” commitments in 2011 for the 2012 fight. As I explain:

Obama’s senior staff has hatched a plan to start anew, urging the President’s supporters to look beyond the grind of the past two years and toward the simpler choice of the next election. Obama strategists want to force the question early. When the Obama 2012 website went live on April 4, it asked a simple question: “Are you in?” The accompanying YouTube video, which was e-mailed to supporters, focused on field volunteers knocking on doors and working phones, just like in the old days. “You can’t be half in,” explains one Obama team member.

You can’t be half in. That’s the quote to remember. Because right now there are lots of old Obama supporters who are half in: Frustrated with politics, with the economy, with the pace of change and the relative decline of the country. The Obama task is to turn the half-ins to full-ins. To read more, buy the issue on newsstands, subscribe or read it online.