Obama campaign reaches out to Indian Americans

Obama campaign reaches out to Indian Americans

President Barack Obama, whose administration has by far the largest number of Indian-Americans, has turned to three prominent members of this growing and influential community to help his re-election campaign reach out to some three million Indian-origin voters.

The three, actor Kalpen Modi (aka Kal Penn), California's first female Attorney General, Kamala Harris and Sai Iyer, who served as a White House intern in 201, figure among 35 state, local and community leaders named as national co-chairs, or "ambassadors" for the president, who will play a high-profile role in defending his record and mobilising voters for November.

"The president's national co-chairs will be tremendous assets on the ground as we build the biggest grassroots campaign in history," Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina said in a statement.

"They each share the president's vision for a future where every American can have a fair shot at success, where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded," Messina said.

The list includes current and former Democratic members of Congress, governors and mayors, as well as business and labor leaders, members of clergy and a few local campaign organizers, a nod to the value Obama places on his grassroots volunteers.
Kamala Harris, daughter of a Tamil mother and a Jamaican American father and Sai Iyer, a student at the Virginia Commonwealth University and OFA (Obama For America) volunteer leader from Virginia will play key roles with former White House chiefs of staff Bill Daley and Rahm Emanuel.

Actor Kalpen Modi, who served as White House Associate Director for the Office of Public Engagement, is expected to lead outreach to younger voters, while actress Eva Longoria will spearhead efforts to reach women and Hispanics.

Although some Indian Americans like Obama's information technology chief, Aneesh Chopra, his tech guru Vivek Kundra, who streamlined the federal government's massive IT infrastructure and Obama's export czar, Suresh Kumar have left in recent days, his administration still has more people of Indian origin than ever before.
Among them USAID administrator Rajiv Shah, by far the highest ranking Indian-American in any presidential administration, Obama appointee Preet Bharara, US attorney for New York, nicknamed the "sheriff of Wall Street, who recently made it to the cover of the Time magazine and Preeta D. Bansal, who serves on an advisory council promoting improvements in government procedures.