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Sweet column: Obama reorganizing. Reinforcing top leadership ranks. Staff to the states.

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White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is reorganizing his campaign, deploying key staff from the Chicago headquarters to Feb. 5 primary states while bolstering the ranks of his top leadership.


The move, Obama advisers told the Sun-Times, has been long planned and is not a reaction to the lead chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has in national and early state polls.

Obama is pushing to have organizations in place in the more than 20 states holding a primary or caucus vote on Feb. 5, a second wave after the crucial first January votes in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

As the campaign moves towards the final months, the very top tier has been reinforced with Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett, the CEO of Habitat Co. and Steve Hildebrand, now the deputy campaign manager.

Hildebrand had been initially focusing on Iowa and the other early states. He now has a desk in the headquarters as he oversees the campaign field and political operations expanding across the nation.

“We’re the smartest political people in America because we are actually organizing in the states instead of sitting in the headquarters,” Hildebrand said. “This is what a campaign does. You organize where the votes are. This has always been the plan.”

On Wednesday, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe announced that Eureka Gilkey, who served as Deputy Political Director for the campaign, will be the Georgia State Director. On Tuesday, the campaign reassigned policy chief Mark Alexander to the job of New Jersey State director. Gilkey and Alexander are being sent to states with Feb. 5 votes.

Jon Carson moves from Illinois State Director to voter contact director for the Feb. 5 states. Nate Tamarin, who was Carson’s deputy, becomes the Illinois State Director. Cook County Board Member Forrest Claypool is also taking on a role in the campaign, closely working with Obama senior strategist David Axelrod.

7 Comments

Yes, The Obama Campaign has to undergo a drastic retooling and reorganization in keeping with changing political dynamics that have galvanized factors operating in favor of Hillary Clinton. Hillary as of now has the momentum that seem to have been left unchallenged even as her rise in polls appears to be on a protracted rise in direct contrast to Barach Obama's. Unless drastic changes are undertaken to address the obvious limitation and flaws bedevilling Obama and his campaign which sadly are likely to continue on a downward spiral to the point of no return.

Lynn,

You may know it but the post didn't include it; Mark Alexander's "reassignment" to run New Jersey is no great stretch or shake-up, to him or his family - he teaches law at Seton Hall. And I would expect he'll hang onto Axelrod's number for when there's a major policy question.

Obama had a Colorado caucus training event in early September attended by 500 (!) volunteers on a Saturday morning in Denver. Clinton is going to be surprised when Obama out-organizes her in Iowa, NH, SC, NV and the Feb. 5th states like Colorado.

eric, obama has already out organized Clinton. A friend of mine told me that in Iowa it is widely acknowledged that he has by far the best organization around and clinton's is a bit of a joke.
I suspect the same of the other states. She has a top heavy campaign and not much for the grassroots or organizing.

its not a drastic change. It's phase two of the HRC knockdown. To get an idea of how Obama campaign, check out his run for the senate under similiar circumstances.

I'm sitting in Iowa right now writing postcards to uncommitted registered Democrats in my precinct in support of Barack Obama. I've never volunteered for a campaign before; I'm just a suburban mom with young kids who thinks he's the right choice to be our country's next president. The pollsters haven't called me, and I think there are more voters like me out here in the early-voting states than the Clinton campaign likes to recognize

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Let me be precise. In Colorado the first state organized outside the first four, (IA, NH, SC, NV) has a full functioning field organization and robust volunteer organizations up and down the entire front range including: Ft. Collins, Boulder, Westminster, Arvada, Aurora, Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and more. As reported they had over 500 volunteers show up for a Saturday morning caucus convention in early September. This mirrors the efforts in Iowa Obama's organization is said to be way out and better organized office by office. BTW I heard today that Hillary had her first organizational meeting in Colorado Springs, three showed up and were totally unprepared for a caucus election. Colorado Springs of all places has over 100 volunteers & supporters. Hillary is running a national campaign had appears to have forgotten how to run a grass roots nomination campaign, but then again her political DNA has been red carpeted and orchastrated from the beginning.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 11, 2007 1:40 AM.

Sweet's Wednesday Obamaville: Rally in Maryland. Fundraising in Virginia. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet's Thursday Obamaville. APB Obama today. Somewhere in Chicago. is the next entry in this blog.

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