(WSJ) — Mr. Obama discouraged independent groups from working on his behalf during the 2008 presidential race. Democratic strategists now believe the Obama campaign will give them the green light to create independent advertising efforts for 2012 to rival the well-funded conservative groups that appeared in the 2010 congressional elections.
Wealthy Democratic donors and party activists have met several times in recent months to map out the best way to help Mr. Obama win a second term.
The meetings have included representatives of labor groups such as the AFL-CIO, the National Education Association and the Service Employees International Union; abortion-rights organizations including NARAL Pro-Choice America; the League of Conservation Voters and other environmental groups; and some of the biggest Democratic campaign givers and insiders, such as strategist Harold Ickes.
“There is a general consensus that there needs to be something big on our side to counter what the other side did in the last election,” said Steve Rosenthal, a Democratic strategist who led one recent meeting at Tuscana West, an Italian restaurant in Washington.
Among the donors involved in the discussions is Rob McKay, the son of the founder of Taco Bell. Now a San Francisco-based activist, Mr. McKay leads a group of wealthy Democrats who fund liberal organizations. Other Democrats involved include Robert Dyson, the chief executive of a large New York-based investment firm.