White House hopeful Barack Obama is using this week in Washington to lock in the support of House members. In 30 minutes, Obama meets with a group of House Democrats at the Democratic National Committee headquarters.
Obama's "whips" --deputies--tasked with lining up House backers--will be at the meet and greet. Members of the Illinois delegation are the corp of his whip team. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) has taken a lead organizing House recruits. The House is ripe for picking up supporters. The Senate has too many members running--Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden--and recent former candidates--John Kerry and Evan Bayh--to expect most Dems to choose sides.
Meet the Obama whips:
From Illinois: Sen. Dick Durbin; Reps. Luis Gutierrez; Jerry Costello; Bobby Rush; Jesse Jackson Jr.; Danny Davis; Melissa Bean and Phil Hare. (That's all the Illinois Dems but Rep. Rahm Emanuel, expected to come up from under the table and one day officially state he is for Clinton and Rep. Dan Lipinski who is waiting for a personal call from Obama.)
Other whips are Reps. John Lewis; Neil Abercrombie; Adam Smith; Elijah Cummings; Artur Davis and Keith Ellison.