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President’s Q&A with ‘independent organization’ OFA closed to press

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http://twitter.com/#!/markknoller/status/311629135111921664

We would say that president who never stops campaigning is meeting tomorrow night with his campaign staff, but that’s not quite accurate: Organizing for Action, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney tells us, is an “independent organization” — which just happens to run the @BarackObama Twitter account. CBS News’ Mark Knoller notes that President Obama will hold a question and answer session with OFA tomorrow, but the press is not invited.

Formerly Obama for America, now Organizing for Action, the group is designed to generate support for Pres Obama’s policy agenda.

— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) March 13, 2013

Pres. Obama’s remarks to OFA will be open for press pool coverage, but not the more interesting Q&A session that follows. Natch.

— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) March 13, 2013

As if to say OFA is not a political org., Jay Carney says OFA “will not take a position in elections; it’s focused on policy issues.”

— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) March 13, 2013

Carney argued yesterday in defending OFA that “there’s nothing partisan” about issues like deficit reduction, immigration, gun control.

— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) March 13, 2013

Former Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina is now National Chairman of Organizing for Action.

— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) March 13, 2013

In an op-ed piece last weekend, Messina says “Organizing for Action is an issue advocacy group, not an electoral one.”

— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) March 13, 2013

“We’ll mobilize to support the president’s agenda, but we won’t do so on behalf of political candidates,” wrote Messina.

— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) March 13, 2013

Messina says OFA designed to counter “undue influence” of special interests. Some say it makes OFA a special interest group as well.

— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) March 13, 2013

Messina says OFAwon’t accept contributions from corporations, federal lobbyists or foreign donors & will post names of $250 contributors.

— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) March 13, 2013

We don’t know what $250 buys you, but as the New York Times reported, $500,000 to this “independent organization” gets you quite a bit.

Giving or raising $500,000 or more puts donors on a national advisory board for Mr. Obama’s group and the privilege of attending quarterly meetings with the president, along with other meetings at the White House. Moreover, the new cash demands on Mr. Obama’s top donors and bundlers come as many of them are angling for appointments to administration jobs or ambassadorships.

@markknoller A group that promises presidential access in return for $500K+ could never be accused of peddling “undue influence.”

— TJ O’Hara (@tjohara2012) March 13, 2013

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2013/03/12/presidents-qa-with-independent-organization-ofa-closed-to-press/



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