In several hours Tuesday, 10,000 Obama supporters had responded to an e-mail from senior adviser David Plouffe asking what $40 per week, about what the payroll tax cut is worth, would mean to them, according to a White House official.
A selection of the people who submitted those stories will participate in a conference call with Brian Deese, deputy director of the National Economic Council, on Wednesday.
The White House also asked the question on Twitter, creating a hashtag, #40dollars, that was trending worldwide just hours later. The official cited data from hashtracking.com, which showed that the hash tag had generated more than 5.7 million impressions, equivalent to roughly 3 million people.
Democratic officials crowed about a series of polls showing a meaningful uptick in the president's approval ratings, a rise partly attributable to the debate about how and whether to extend the popular tax break.
The president's political aides are eager to use the momentum from the battle, which they believe they are winning, to start 2012 on a high note. Even members of Obama's political base are responding: the Huffington Post's "Huff Post Hill" report, which has mocked Obama for caving to Republicans on important issues before, noted today that he did not seem prepared to do so here.
Obama has not called for Senate Democrats to return to Washington, and White House officials are waging that Republicans in the House will settle for a promise from Senate Democrats to re-open the payroll tax cut talks early next year in exchange for allowing the Senate-passed short-term extension to slide.
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