WASHINGTON--When President Obama announced his nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the East Room of the White House was packed.
Besides Sotomayor's family members, White House staffers and Attorney General Eric Holder, there were others guests who were carefully selected by the White House.
Most of the chosen live in the Washington area. They were summoned with a hurried call at about 8 a.m. from a White House aide who told them to rush over for an important announcement sometime near 10 a.m. Some realized what was up, because news that Obama would pick Sotomayor, a federal appeals judge in New York, for the Supreme Court was all over the morning shows. The list of attendees, obtained by PoliticsDaily.com, is at the end of this post.
In all, the White House pulled together 62 leaders of organizations. When I read the list of attendees, provided by the White House Office of Public Engagement (the recently renamed Office of Public Liaison), the common thread jumped out.
Most of the groups will be counted on by the White House to rally their very different constituencies on behalf of Sotomayor. The White House leveraged the announcement by getting Sotomayor's chief defenders together.
Among those present were leaders of Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America, because abortion is always an issue when it comes to a Supreme Court nominee, as well as heavyweights from Democratic-allied (official or unofficial) ethnic, labor and religious organizations.
Another point of the invite was to let the White House folks pay their props to this very important network, and to start the process of sending out a unified set of messages about Sotomayor.
Shortly after the Sotomayor announcement, the White House tried to cement the message by distributing talking points in a memo headlined "TOPLINE POINTS ON SCOTUS ANNOUNCEMENT** Not for Distribution**"
Have you heard Sotomayor has more federal experience than any nominee in 100 years? It seems I heard it about 100 times just on Wednesday.
"If confirmed for the Supreme Court, Judge Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice in 100 years, and more overall judicial experience than anyone confirmed for the Court in the past 70 years."
The talking points are circulated to Democratic operatives, Democratic press secretaries, and Democrats known as "talkers" who are the regulars on talk shows.
To underline the message, the White House organized a set of briefing calls on Wednesday: 12:30 p.m. for "talkers;' then White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod briefed Democratic Senate press secretaries at 2 p.m., mainly to run through the talking points.
Later Wednesday afternoon, on another messaging front, the Obama team was activating the vast e-mail network accumulated during the presidential campaign to work grassroots and netroots for Sotomayor. The list is now managed by the Democratic National Committee under its "Organizing for America" department.
Obama, in an e-mail video, said:
" I am proud to announce my nominee for the next Justice of the United States Supreme Court: Judge Sonia Sotomayor.
This decision affects us all -- and so it must involve us all. I've recorded a special message to personally introduce Judge Sotomayor and explain why I'm so confident she will make an excellent Justice."
Get the message?
LEADERS OF OUTSIDE ORGANIZATIONS AT THE SOTOMAYOR ANNOUNCEMENT
SOURCE: The White House.
Alliance for Justice, Nan Aron
American Association of People with Disabilities, Andy Imparato
American Association for Justice, Linda Lipsen
American Bar Association, Tom Susman
AFL-CIO, John Sweeney
American Jewish Committee, Richard Foltin
Anti-Defamation League, Jess Hordes
Asian American Justice Center, Karen Narasaki
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Robert Bernstein
Business Forward, Jim Doyle
Business Roundtable, Larry Burton
Catholics United, James Salt
Change to Win, Anna Burger
Children's Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman
Church of God in Christ, Inc., Rev. Eugene Rivers
Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights, William Taylor
Common Purpose Project, Miti Sathe
Constitutional Accountability Center, Doug Kendall
Faith in Public Life, Jennifer Butler
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Greg Lukianoff
Gay and Lesbian Task Force, D'Arcy Kemnitz
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, David Ferreira
Hispanic National Bar Association, Liz Lopez
Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Ralph Everett
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Barbara Arnwine
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Nancy Zirkin
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Wade Henderson
League of United Latin American Citizens, Brent Wilkes
NAACP, Ben Jealous
NAACP, Hilary Shelton
NAACP – LDF, John Payton
NAACP-LDF, Leslie Proll
National Action Network, Rev. Al Sharpton
National Association of Women Judges, Marie Komisar
National Association of Women Lawyers, Lisa Horowitz
National Black Chamber of Commerce, Harry Alford
National Center for Lesbian Rights, Elizabeth Seaton
National Coalition of Black Women, E. Faye Williams
National Congress of American Indians, Jacqueline Johnson
National Council of Jewish Women, Sammie Moshenberg
National Employment Law Project, Christine Owens
National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, Gabriela Lemus
National Jewish Democratic Council, Linda Berg
National LGBT Bar Association, D'Arcy Kemnitz
NOW, Kim Gandy
National Partnership for Women and Families, Judy Lichtman
National Policy Alliance, Linda Haithcox
NARAL, Nancy Keenan
National Small Business Association, Todd McCracken
National Urban League, Stephanie Jones
National Urban League and Black Leadership Forum, Marc Morial
National Women's Law Center, Marcia Greenberger
Native American Bar Association, Heather Thompson
People for the American Way, Marge Baker
Planned Parenthood, Laurie Rubiner
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Mark Pelavin
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