The Associated Press
The Jackson Memorial High School Jaguar Band of Jackson, N.J., performs in President Barack Obama's inaugural parade in Washington, Monday,Jan. 21, 2013, following the president's ceremonial swearing-in ceremony during the 57th Presidential Inauguration. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

President Barack Obama got his start in politics as a community organizer nearly 30 years ago on Chicago's South Side. He hasn't stopped organizing since.

He didn't waste much time after delivering his second inaugural address to implore his backers to join his campaign's new nonprofit organization, Organizing for Action.

The president said in an email to supporters that the group was the "next step in our grassroots movement and will be crucial to finishing what we started."

"If you haven't already, say you'll be a part of it," Obama wrote, directing supporters to a web link with more details.

The nonprofit, which will raise money from corporate and grassroots donors, is an unusual creation, essentially morphing a presidential re-election campaign into a nonprofit organization built to back up Obama's efforts in Congress.

Organizers of the group, composed of top Obama aides, have vowed to build support for the president's plans on gun control, immigration and climate change. The group will operate outside the confines of the White House and Obama's political arm, the Democratic National Committee.

It sets up a test of whether Obama can turn his political army into a powerhouse grassroots lobbying machine for his agenda — in other words, whether the community organizer-turned president can organize the country behind his goals.

— Ken Thomas — Twitter


Inauguration Watch follows the events of President Barack Obama's second inaugural. Look for short items and photos throughout the day.