The Democratic National Committee's 50-state canvass this weekend in support of President Obama's budget proposals marks the beginning of a months-long election-style campaign and includes several elements not previously disclosed, including automated telephone calls.
The calls, from DNC chairman Tim Kaine, the governor of Virginia, ask recipients to call their members of Congress and press them to support Obama's health care, education and energy agenda.
Obama's political team hopes to use the budget process to pass hundreds of billions of dollars worth of downpayments on his two signature domestic policy priorities.
"What we're really saying," said a Democratic strategist involved in the campaign, "is that this is a budget here, but all of these pieces...they're so central to function the economy, and this budget is a downpayment on any substantive reform that the president seeks on those - in those areas. If President Obama doesn't get a significant placeholder for health care reform, what are the prospects that you're going to get that going forward?"
The same is true, the strategist said, of Obama's energy and education reform proposals.
Republicans and Moderate Democrats in Congress are balking at using budget rules to rush through significant changes to current policy.