White House Boosts Public Outreach Efforts

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Earlier this year, President Obama attempted to make use of his political skills to win public support for the stimulus package. Although the president was ultimately succesful in pushing through the legislation, his public outreach on behalf of the bill lacked the spark of his campaign messaging. Now, the White House may be hoping to recapture Mr. Obama's grassroots appeal by revamping the White House Liaison Office.

The office is getting a new name and a new mission, the White House announced on Monday. Dubbed the Office of Public Engagement, it will focus on communicating to people outside the Washington beltway through public events and online activities.

The OPE staff, largely composed of veterans of the Obama campaign, will be maintaining a blog and other interactive elements to engage citizens online on issues like health care, energy, and education.

"This office will seek to engage as many Americans as possible in the difficult work of changing this country, through meetings and conversations with groups and individuals held in Washington and across the country," Mr. Obama said in a video announcement about OPE.

The OPE will work in conjuction with the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to provide White House outreach to citizens. The leadership of the liaison office will stay the same: its mission will be led by Senior Presidential Adviser Valerie Jarrett, OPE Director Christina Tchen and Michael Strautmanis, chief of staff to the assistant to the president for intergovernmental relations and public engagement.