Barack Obama’s official announcement of his re-election bid for the 2012 presidential election is a million miles away from the traditional setting of a brass band on a stage decked with American flags.
Using modern media to the full, the first news of Obama’s announcement came this morning via the internet, YouTube video, Twitter and in an e-mail to supporters from Obama himself:
“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 neighbours, 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.”
Obama’s team released the opening video to supporters on his official website and sent a message to Democrat activists announcing his plans. The video, which does not feature the president, focuses on grassroots campaigners of the sort who were key to his election success in 2008.
“Today, we are filing papers to launch our 2012 campaign,” Mr Obama said in a statement. He explained that as his administration and supporters across the country “fight to protect the progress we’ve made … we also need to begin mobilizing for 2012, long before the time comes for me to begin campaigning in earnest.”
Mr Obama said that in coming days his supporters will begin forging a new organisation to focus on the 2012 campaign.
“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,” he said in the message to supporters.
The president also confirmed that the 2012 race will be his final presidential campaign – “at least as a candidate”.
He added: “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.”
The formal declaration of his candidacy will allow Mr Obama to begin piling up cash for what may be a billion dollar election. Trusted aides have already decamped to Chicago to fire up his campaign machinery.
The president’s campaign team is aiming to build up a $1 billion war chest, partly financed through small donors.