A new conservative grass-roots organization will kick off an ambitious campaign Thursday morning called "One Million Speak in One Week" — a plan to gather 1 million signatures urging Republican leaders not to concede an inch to President Obama during the upcoming summit on healthcare reform.
The new organization, American Grassroots Coalition, bills itself as "citizen activists working together to save America."
Its co-founders, Amy Kremer and Jennifer Hulsey, are two prominent leaders in the national tea party movement. Kremer, a founding member of Tea Party Patriots, joined the Tea Party Express organization last year and serves as its director of grassroots and coalitions. Hulsey has been a national town hall coordinator for Tea Party Patriots.
"Our objective is to get 1 million signatures on this petition by next week, when the president holds his healthcare summit at the Blair House with both Republican and Democratic leadership," Kremer tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. "The purpose of the petition is to put the pressure on Republican leadership to get them to stand firm on principles and values, and not cave and make any concessions."
The administration hopes the Feb. 25 summit will result in a bipartisan deal to move healthcare reform forward. But the petition drive sends a clear signal that GOP leaders meeting with Obama will face considerable pressure from grassroots conservatives to resist the president's calls for bipartisan action on healthcare reform.
Kremer tells Newsmax the key to hitting the 1 million mark will be getting the petition drive to go viral on the Internet, and she is confident the goal is realistic. "After all, this movement was essentially born through social networking and Twitter," she says.
The petition went live Wednesday afternoon on the group's Web site, AmericanGrassrootsCoalition.org. Within just a few hours, it had garnered 5,000 signatures.
The group plans to issue a news release about the petition drive Thursday morning, and will undertake other promotional efforts to publicize its efforts.
The petition states: "The election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts is a testament of the resolve we as American citizens have, and the commitment we have made to see this task through. We expect our leaders to defend our liberties, and we expect our elected officials to not sway from the task at hand. There should be no concessions or 'sweet deals' that would compromise the principles we hold dear."
It also advises GOP leaders: "We are watching and waiting to see what you do on the president's effort to jump start these health care negotiations. We will not concede and neither should you. If you don't hear us now, you will hear us in November."
The petition states the group opposes:
- Any individual mandate requiring insurance.
- Any government insurance program, "whether through a public option or direct program."
- Any provision for government-funded abortions.
- Any Medicaid expansion that could undermine state budgets.
- Any government intrusion into the patient-doctor relationship.
- Any measure increases either taxes or the deficit.
- Any proposal that increases the cost of health care, or insurance.
"It's another tool for the American people to have their voices heard," Kremer says. "Every time our elected officials are doing something in Washington, D.C., we certainly can't all afford to hop on an airplane or jump in our cars to get up here to hold rallies. So it's another mechanism where we can get together and show our solidarity. And there's strength in numbers."
Kremer said the ultimate objective is to "hopefully put some pressure on the Republican leadership to stand firm."
Democrats and the media have spent the week bemoaning gridlock in the nation's capital, especially in the wake of Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh's surprising announcement that he will not run for re-election because the Beltway region is "brain dead" with partisanship.
Some conservatives have suggested, however, that the real take-away from Brown's stunning election in Massachusetts is that voters don't want the president's controversial healthcare proposals enacted.
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