The Clinton Machine Picks Up Steam

Mark Halperin reports on Ready For Hillary’s preparations:

There is now talk among Ready officials about finishing 2014 with 5 million supporters and 2 million active volunteers, numbers that would likely dwarf the assets of all the GOP wannabes combined. If realized, that would be substantially more than the piddling grassroots effort that Clinton mounted against Obama six years ago. Could anyone, Democrat or Republican, catch the Clinton machine this time? “I don’t know,” [Craig] Smith says. “I think it takes a long time to build a grassroots operation. These things don’t pop up overnight.”

He claims the president is nervous about his people’s involvement:

Obama’s advisers have had to reassure the President that the early embrace of Clinton by his far-flung team is a good thing. He has fretted to aides about the leadership role his campaign manager Jim Messina has taken on in another pro-Clinton super PAC, Priorities USA Action, and worried that the early organizing might distract from his effort to limit losses in the looming midterm election.

Ben Jacobs explains how Ready For Hillary is also poaching Obama’s Iowa corps:

With its deep connections to key players like [Obama’s 2008 state director Jackie] Norris and [Obama’s 2008 Iowa field director Mitch] Stewart on Obama’s first presidential campaign, it is clear Ready For Hillary is trying to woo as many former active Obama supporters as possible and using a wealth of information generated more than six years ago to do so. This not only means that a potential 2016 campaign by Clinton will be that much stronger, but preempts other potential Democratic candidates, like Vice President Joe Biden, from being able to build on Obama’s fabled Iowa organization.

This strategy is already paying dividends. For instance, while [Ready For Hillary spokesman Seth] Bringman admitted that his group fell short of their 99 county goal last Saturday, they were still able to deploy 250 volunteers in an impressive 84 counties across the state. About a third of those volunteers were Obama supporters in 2008, he said.