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Obama's Former Political Arm Votes 'Present' On Syria Action
September 5th, 2013
03:46 PM ET

Obama's Former Political Arm Votes 'Present' On Syria Action

The awkward position in which progressive allies of President Barack Obama find themselves can be seen clearly in the actions of his former political arm, now called Organizing for Action, which despite the need for activists to lobby Congress to support the president's call for military strikes, is essentially voting "present."

Capitol Hill is all but singularly focused on Obama’s push for congressional authorization to use force in Syria, and the president has canceled a trip to California next week to devote his time and energy to lobbying lawmakers.

But in his weekly call with grassroots supporters, held this week on Tuesday, the executive director of OFA, Jon Carson, said of Syria, "OFA isn't planning to actively organize on this with so much going on on other issues."

"Since the president's announcement on Saturday, we've definitely heard from our volunteers on this issue and glad to hear more feedback right now," Carson said, according to a partial transcript of the call provided by an OFA official after CNN requested comment on why the group was not helping Obama.

Notably, the partial transcript did not include any of the feedback.

Carson said OFA had "certainly heard from all sides of this including people who are just looking for more information on the subject. ... What I definitely want you all to know is that OFA supports President Obama and the agenda that Americans voted for on November 6, but we don't always actively organize around every issue and the debate in Congress over the Syria vote is not one that OFA is planning on organizing around."

Seemingly searching for a silver lining, Carson noted that the response had been "been pretty universal from folks that they are very glad he is taking this issue to Congress."

Though apparently OFA is too busy - or its members are too opposed to the proposed military action - to help him out there.

The office of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who supports the authorization but has been urging the president to do more to make his case to the Congress and the public, noted this afternoon that "With one of the biggest votes of Mr. Obama’s presidency next week on Syria, OFA is organizing a protest in Speaker Boehner’s district tomorrow on… his opposition to Obamacare."

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