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"Are You In?": Obama Pitches 2012 as a Group Project

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, April 4 2011

And so it begins. He came by email, he came by web, he came by video, he came by text, he came by Facebook, and he came by tweet -- and, 20 months out from voting day, Barack Obama became the first officially declared candidate in the 2012 presidential race this morning. It has been, thus far, a roll-out baked through with the spirit of a social, collective effort. The effort's initial ask -- "Are You In?" -- could be the tag line for any number of geo-social start-ups. And YouTube spot that featured Americans talking about the need to not leave his re-election bid to "oh, you know, the incumbent," as one Gladys from Nevada put it in the well-produced two-minute narrative clip, notably didn't feature a single appearance, nor voiceover, by Barack Obama.

(It's not official official yet -- Obama still has to file with the FEC. That's expected to happen today.)

Clearly, Team Obama is really hoping to drive home the message that the 2012 campaign is meant to be a group project, something of a sore spot after complaints from even former campaign staffers that the Obama presidency has been one run without the sort of grassroots collaboration implied by the '08 campaign. "We'll start by doing something unprecedented: coordinating millions of one-on-one conversations between supporters across every single state, reconnecting old friends, inspiring new ones to join the cause, and readying ourselves for next year's fight.

This will be my final campaign, at least as a candidate. But the cause of making a lasting difference for our families, our communities, and our country has never been about one person. And it will succeed only if we work together."

As for BarackObama.com, the campaign site, it's a short leap to transition it from the home for Organizing for America that it has served as over the last two years because the identify of that organization, formally a wing of the Democratic National Committee, has been so closely tied with Barack Obama's. At the moment, the site is pared down to simple ways to get involved by volunteering, forming a group, donating, and a handful of other actions. As Katie Harbath pointed to on Twitter, it looks pretty good on mobile.

One place where things are different from 2012 is where it comes to the all important font issue. Obama '08 made frequent use of Gotham, a modern yet friendly font crafted by the New York font firm Hoefler+Frere-Jones that got picked up post-'08 by scores of campaigns. This campaign brings a twist. "Gotham with serifs?," tweeted Hoefler+Frere-Jones this morning, referring to the caps added to letters that make them look somewhat more formal. "OK, but only because you asked, & you're the President of The United States." We mortals are stuck with sans serif Gotham.

Calls and emails are into Blue State Digital, the firm that headed up the 2008 Obama for America online effort, to see if they're also leading this 2012 bid. Blue State, you might remember, was bought by global giant WPP back in December.

Former Minnesota Governor and likely Republican candidate Tim Pawlenty isn't about to let Obama have the day, even if he is president. Pawlenty has shot back with a YouTube video that opens with the challenge, "How can America win the future when we're losing the present?"

Obama's full email to his list is after the jump.

Today, we are filing papers to launch our 2012 campaign.

We're doing this now because the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas, but with you -- with people organizing block-by-block, talking to neighbors, co-workers, and friends. And that kind of campaign takes time to build.

So even though I'm focused on the job you elected me to do, and the race may not reach full speed for a year or more, the work of laying the foundation for our campaign must start today.

We've always known that lasting change wouldn't come quickly or easily. It never does. But as my administration and folks across the country fight to protect the progress we've made -- and make more -- we also need to begin mobilizing for 2012, long before the time comes for me to begin campaigning in earnest.

As we take this step, I'd like to share a video that features some folks like you who are helping to lead the way on this journey. Please take a moment to watch:

Watch the video

In the coming days, supporters like you will begin forging a new organization that we'll build together in cities and towns across the country. And I'll need you to help shape our plan as we create a campaign that's farther reaching, more focused, and more innovative than anything we've built before.

We'll start by doing something unprecedented: coordinating millions of one-on-one conversations between supporters across every single state, reconnecting old friends, inspiring new ones to join the cause, and readying ourselves for next year's fight.

This will be my final campaign, at least as a candidate. But the cause of making a lasting difference for our families, our communities, and our country has never been about one person. And it will succeed only if we work together.

There will be much more to come as the race unfolds. Today, simply let us know you're in to help us begin, and then spread the word:

http://my.barackobama.com/2012

Thank you,

Barack

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