President Obama opens his reelection campaign on Monday with a familiar cast of consultants; an economy that's improving, sluggishly; wars that he is struggling to extract himself from; and an implacable partisan fight in Congress that might shut down the government by week's end.

The Obama campaign made the announcement in an e-mail to supporters.  Obama will hold a conference call on Monday with donors and supporters and will begin to raise money for his campaign late next week.

"We're doing this now because the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas, but with you -- with people organizing block-by-block, talking to neighbors, co-workers, and friends. And that kind of campaign takes time to build," Obama wrote in the e-mail.

"So even though I'm focused on the job you elected me to do, and the race may not reach full speed for a year or more, the work of laying the foundation for our campaign must start today. We've always known that lasting change wouldn't come quickly or easily. It never does."

Assuming that roughly 80 percent of the electorate will vote for their party, Obama’s reelection targets can be broken down by demography, propensity to vote and ideology. He can win if he replicates the coalition of young voters, blacks, Latinos, single women, and suburbanites that accepted his nebulous but optimistic message of change. He will have to peel back into the Democratic fold older voters who deserted the Democrats in 2010, and though the growth of minorities in key states can cushion the blow of defecting working class white voters, he needs to construct a floor underneath that constituency. A blowback over Republican efforts to deinstitutionalize labor might help him here. 

 The Republican National Committee responded quickly, blasting Obama's leadership in an e-mail entitled "Back Seat Presidency."