Obama Fundraising Email Author Arrested Outside White House

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If you received fundraising emails from Barack Obama or campaign manager David Plouffe in 2008, it probably comes as no surprise that Obama and Plouffe didn't write all of them. They began with "Friend --" and included links to credit-card donation forms. The campaign regularly blasted them out to millions of people.

Elijah Zarlin, the author of many of these emails as part of Obama's new-media campaign team, was arrested today outside the White House during a protest of the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed oil conduit from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast. Zarlin was one of Obama's primary fundraising-email-writers, according to Zarlin and Stephen Geer, a new-media staffer on Obama's campaign payroll.

Obama must personally approve the Keystone plan, first offered in 2008. The State Department recently concluded its final assessment, recommending approval of the plan.

Zarlin now works on environmental campaigns for CREDO Action, a progressive group that helped recruit attendees at today's event.

"The Keystone pipeline, if he approves it, is going to cast a huge shadow over our future," Zarlin told me over the phone during the protest, shortly before his arrest. "It's his decision, and this is the type of thing that when he was on the campaign trail and telling staff at headquarters that we literally had to work nonstop over the next four months, that this was a must-win election, this was one of the issues we wanted to make an impact on -- climate change."

Over the last year, liberals have pushed a narrative about Obama's former staffers and volunteers losing faith in the president. Zarlin told me hasn't lost his but that approval of the pipeline would be a deal-breaker.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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