Remember When? White House Staff (And President) Relive Campaign As OFA Plans Reunions

Wednesday marks the anniversary of President Barack Obama’s historic election, and White House staffers, campaign volunteers and supporters are reliving the moment.

Most prominent in the coming week is Tuesday’s HBO debut of the “By the People” documentary, a retelling of the long campaign.

Also happening this week are reunions put together by the volunteers still active in Organizing for America, the next generation of the Obama campaign.

On a sign-up sheet for local reunion events, OFA tells supporters:

“One year ago, President-Elect Obama told us that the election victory was only the beginning of the change we all sought — and today, through Organizing for America, we’re fighting just as hard to make health insurance reform a reality, this year. But while we seek to live up to the President’s words, we’re planning to gather together to reconnect, celebrate, and remember that moment, last year, when we won a historic victory.

So this week, we’re holding reunion events across the country for folks who were involved in the campaign. Can you attend one near you?”

With critical elections Tuesday that could leave the White House feeling blue, some staffers are glad to stroll down memory lane. And Obama has made clear he needs his supporters to stay “fired up” for his agenda, so the reunions serve as a reminder of what they worked so hard to achieve in 2008.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says Obama has already seen “By the People,” produced and directed by Alicia Sams and Amy Rice, and backed by actor Edward Norton.

Gibbs told TPMDC Obama’s review: “Thumbs up!”

Sams and Rice joined Obama adviser David Axelrod, reporters and administration staffers for the final screening Friday night at Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theater. The 2,000 estimated attendees were treated to a red carpet and pre-screening remarks by Axelrod, one of the film’s many characters.

TPMDC saw an exclusive screening of “By the People” for reporters and White House staffers in Washington last month. It offers a rundown of the 2008 campaign, from Hillary v. Barack to Sarah Palin’s debut.

My favorite part of the film was a Super Tuesday interview with current White House press aide Tommy Vietor, then a campaign staffer, outlining a possible but very unlikely Doomsday scenario. He bemoaned that if Obama and Clinton divided the map that night it could all come down to Pennsylvania’s April 22 primary. The reporters and White House staff in the crowd burst out laughing.

Gibbs, who first screened “By the People” in December, said it made him realize he’s much trimmer now than he was after spending nearly two years on the road.

Also Tuesday is the official release of The Audacity to Win, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s long anticipated book. Plouffe, who hand-delivered a copy of the book to the president on Air Force One last month, was on NBC’s Meet the Press this morning.

David Gregory showed Plouffe a clip from “By the People” just after Obama clinched the election. In it, Plouffe and Axelrod are leaving campaign headquarters and the building’s staffers applauded them as they headed toward Grant Park for the victory speech.

Plouffe said he neglected to focus much on history as they were forging the campaign but the moment “really did grab me.”

He added:

“The human emotion. And what a lot of us saw after the election, we’d watch YouTubes of some of the celebrations around the country and the world. And there was just– it wasn’t just people were glad we won or relief. There was an outpouring of real emotion. And I think– you know, it’s one of the obligations I felt towards the end of the election. Was we had gotten all these young people involve in politics for the first time. In many cases. African Americans. Youth. Really involved in politics. And one of the reasons I thought it was important for us to win is to keep them involved. Not just in politics, but in our civic life. So, it was a very, very powerful moment. And it really– struck me.”

Over the last few days, some excerpts of Plouffe’s book have come out, revealing Team Obama’s thinking about the vice presidential choice, Sen. John McCain picking Palin and being a “different” kind of campaign. Read them here, here and here.

Speaking of Palin, her book is out later this month.

Late update: We clipped some video of Plouffe in the Meet the Press “Take Two” online segment.

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Also, Politico reports Norton will attend another premiere with White House staffers Tuesday.

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