Obama Tells His Supporters, Stop Moping; Says He'll Return to Community Organizing

By Susan Jones | November 15, 2016 | 6:35am EST
President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the Brady press briefing room at the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - During a conference call Monday with his grassroots supporters, President Obama admitted to being disappointed by last week's election results.

In what amounted to a pep talk, he urged his longtime supporters to stay engaged and involved: "Now is the time for some organizing," the president said.

Obama also indicated that he will return to community organizing when he leaves the White House: "I promise you that next year Michelle and I are going to be right there with you, and the clouds are going to start parting and the sun is going to come back out, and we're going to be busy, involved in the amazing stuff that we've been doing all these years before."

Obama began the conference call by admitting that he "feels your pain" on the election results. "It doesn't feel good," Obama told the people who helped elect him in 2008 and continued to support his agenda during his two terms. "And in some ways it feels worse because, for a lot of us, I think we didn't see it coming. Surprising losses are harder than losses you see.

"And I know it's also difficult in part because, when you look at public opinion around the current performance of my administration, it's higher than it's been since probably the first three months of the administration, and so there's that little mismatch, and that also makes it more difficult."

Obama reminded his supporters that progress "zigs and zags," but ultimately moves in the right direction -- thanks to "the people on this phone call."

"So, as a consequence, I think it is fine for everybody to feel stressed, sad, discouraged for a while, but I'm giving you like a week and a half to get over it," Obama said. "And if you need the rest of this week, that's fine.

"But by next week, and Thanksgiving -- because you're going to be talking to your family and friends, and some of them may even have voted the wrong way, you're in danger of having like some big argument that spoils the whole family get-together -- you're going to have to be in a more positive place.

"And what that means is staying engaged, staying involved, and figuring out how do we move forward, not only to protect what we've accomplished, but also to see this as an opportunity -- because a lot of conventional wisdom has been upended."

Obama also sounded a call to action: "Now is the time for some organizing," he told former members of his Organizing for America group, a project of the Democrat Party that was officially launched by Obama himself shortly after he became president.

"An election just finished, so it's not going to be straight political organizing, but it is going to be raising awareness; it's going to be the work you're doing in nonprofits and advocacy and community-building. And over time, what's going to happen is, is that you will reinvigorate and inform our politics in ways that we can't anticipate.

"So don't mope. And don't get complacent. The majority of the American people believe in a diverse, tolerant, optimistic, dynamic, inclusive vision. And as somebody who knows a thing or two about organizing, I want you to remember never to underestimate yourselves, because you guys are the best organizers I know. So don't suddenly veer off into isolation. Keep on working. Stay connected."

Obama hinted that he'll be re-joining the community organizers very soon:

"Understand that I'm going to be constrained in what I do with all of you until I am again a private citizen. But that's not so far off. It's basically six, eight weeks away. And I will have some time for vacation, but you're going to see me early next year, and we're going to be in a position where we can start cooking up all kinds of great stuff to do.

"In the meantime, make sure that you stay involved locally. Find organizations that are speaking to your passions. Continue to be engaged with OFA around issues that -- or just information and networking and ideas-sharing that can be done.

"And if you do those things, I promise you that next year Michelle and I are going to be right there with you, and the clouds are going to start parting and the sun is going to come back out, and we're going to be busy, involved in the amazing stuff that we've been doing all these years before.

"And I've got all kinds of thoughts and ideas about it, but this isn't the best time to share them. The point is, I'm still fired up and I'm still ready to go. And I hope that all of you are, as well."

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