WASHINGTON--Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina hit Chicago last week, taking meetings with big Democratic donors and scouting for some 50,000 square feet in the Loop for the Obama presidential campaign headquarters.
I talked to several people with knowledge of the Messina visit last Wednesday and Thursday. Traveling with him to Chicago were Rufus Gifford, who will be the 2012 Obama re-elect finance director and April Harley, the Illinois finance chair at the Democratic National Committee.
Messina is huddling with the big donor community--the Chicago fund-raising group was ground zero for Obama in 2008 with business mogul Penny Pritzer leading the drive--as he is trying to figure out how to energize the bundlers who play a critical role in major money fund-raising. Pritzker is going to be very helpful to Obama but will not reprise her role as national finance chair.
Jazzing up mega donors is on the to-do list. While some folks are on board, others already have their keepsake pictures with the Obamas--and plenty of events under their belts--and may or may not have gotten hoped for invites to Obama White House doings. .
Messina et al are also reaching out to figure ways to engage the CEOs and business leaders not in the Obama tent. Since there is no formal campaign structure in place yet, the Chicago visit was part of Messina's "touching base" with folks--some who he knew and others new faces.
A few weeks ago, Messina was in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Boston on prospecting missions.
In 2007, the Obama presidential campaign was headquartered at 233 N. Michigan.
The campaign took over a turn-key sublease from Accenture, renting 33,000 square feet with built out workstations, meeting rooms and space for the various departments of the Obama campaign.