Obama's Permanent Grass-Roots Campaign

Linked by e-mail and Facebook, millions of Obama backers are staying involved — and gearing up for 2012

Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty

President-elect Barack Obama at a briefing a week before his big day

For Kenneth Richardson II of Owings, Md., Barack Obama's election-night victory was not the end but the beginning. "We can't let this go," the 58-year-old father of three remembers thinking. "People feel invested. They feel they can actually do something." So he did. A couple of weeks after the confetti settled, he posted an alert on MyBarackObama.com proposing a new activist group in Calvert County, a rural exurb of Washington where the rolling farmland is dotted by weathered barns and crab shacks. Complete strangers signed up. A retired Air Force pilot, Phil Pfanschmidt, and his wife Joyce, both 71,...

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