Over the weekend, The New York Times ran a profile of Jim Messina, who is moving from the White House to Chicago to run Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. This will be the first presidential re-election campaign not run from Washington, D.C., which will “put Mr. Messina and his team closer to the grassroots supporters whose enthusiasm was vital in 2008.”
It will also put him closer to the wealthy donors who have been vital to promoting Obama’s career since he was a state senator. Obama is planning to raise a billion dollars for his re-election -- that’s $1,000,000,000. Obama will headline a Democratic National Committee fundraiser on April 14, here in Chicago.
That’s why it’s not news that Messina is moving to Chicago. The Obama campaign began moving to Chicago last fall, when the president dispatched his chief of staff here to become mayor. Obama needs the Democratic Party’s most aggressive fundraiser running the city that’s been his best source of funds. In the White House, Messina was deputy chief of staff, which meant he worked for Emanuel. Reports the Times:
After the election he became a deputy to Rahm Emanuel, the first White House chief of staff, and the president began relying on him for legislative strategy, political advice and football talk.
What, you thought Rahm was coming back here just to run Chicago?
“Some people go to meetings so they can hear the sound of their voice,” Mr. Emanuel said in an interview in Chicago, where he is now the mayor-elect. “Jim goes to a meeting to come up with solutions to problems.”
Don’t be surprised if Emanuel continues to act as Messina’s supervisor. According to the Sun-Times’ Michael Sneed, Emanuel is still an integral part of the White House operation:
Although former U.S. Commerce Secretary Bill Daley has taken over Emanuel’s job as President Obama’s chief of staff, Sneed hears the phone lines between the White House and Emanuel are still sizzling.
“It’s astounding how Rahm’s presence at the White House is still in play,” said a top Dem source. “Messages are constantly going back and forth. He’s still ‘The Man’ in many ways.”