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Monday, September 1, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 77.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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Madison area Obama backers: 'We did it! Now what?'
Supporters of the president-elect meet to plan a grassroots agenda
The Middleton group is seen within the Obama camp as one of the best in the nation in terms of organization.
The Middleton group is seen within the Obama camp as one of the best in the nation in terms of organization.
Credit:Linda Falkenstein

The Obama people are not going to let the Nov. 5 buzz fade away, a victim of continuing bad economic news. No, they won't.

They've launched a new initiative, to culminate Dec. 13 and 14, to get Obama's much-lauded ground organization back to work. In a series of house parties across the nation, the grassroots volunteers are meeting to ask the question, "What next?"

Finding a house party is as simple as plugging your zip code into the still active Obama website. Signing up to host one is just as simple.

The Madison area's house parties kicked off Sunday afternoon in Middleton, where the Good Neighbor City's Obama team had a reunion of sorts at the Prairie Cafe in Middleton Hills. It was mostly a celebration of the election, over cheese and crackers and veggies and dip. The 60-some attendees were chatty and ebullient as snow drifted down outside.

"I'm willing to do whatever, because there is so much to be done," was a sentiment heard many times.

Middleton Obama coordinator Ron Biendseil greeted the group with a rousing, "Yes we did!"

"Usually you elect a guy, then you let 'em do their thing," said Biendseil. The Obama campaign has a different idea. It wants to "give people an opportunity to work for causes" and use the network already in place to help make change happen.

Biendseil said the Middleton group is seen within the Obama camp as one of the best in the nation in terms of organization: "We've been on the cutting edge and hope to continue."

There was buzz among the volunteers about a forthcoming DVD or video download of Barack, as everyone called him, addressing the volunteers, to be played at next weekend's house parties, but no one knew details.

The Middleton group didn't seem to need to wait for a DVD from B.H.O. to start moving.

One volunteer is using the Obama momentum to work on Middleton sustainability issues.

Volunteer Amy Kortbein was so inspired by working for the presidential campaign that she's running for Middleton city council.

A representative from the Verona Obama group announced that that group is hoping to throw its energy behind re-electing Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

And the Cross Plains/Black Earth group is planning a big event slated for Feb. 21 that will include workshops on canvassing and leadership and a political personality look-alike contest. An organizer of that event, just back from Camp Wellstone added, "And we'll sell pies and have a heck of a time."

Eat your heart out, Sarah Palin.

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