WASHINGTON -- The Obama 2012 national headquarters will be at One Prudential Plaza, I've learned exclusively, a skyscraper whose south front faces Grant Park, where President Obama held his 2008 election night victory rally.
The building -- completed in 1955 and known to Chicagoans by its original name, the Prudential Building -- at 130 E. Randolph is a very short walk from Obama's 2008 headquarters, which was on the 11th floor of 233 N. Michigan. Obama's team has been scouting locations in Chicago for weeks and settled on the Prudential Building in part because of the ability to make it a secure location.
A source inside the Obama operation confirmed what I learned on my own -- that the headquarters will be in the Prudential Building and that a skeleton crew of Obama 2012 staffers are already in Chicago, including Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina. The headquarters is not yet up and running; it will open for business at a later date.
I've also learned that when President Obama hits Chicago for a Democratic National Committee event April 14, it will be one of a series of gatherings around the country in April -- at Democrats' best donor cities -- kicking off the Obama 2012 campaign.
The DNC is running Obama's political operation until Obama registers as a 2012 presidential candidate with the Federal Election Commission, which will allow him to create a committee to accept political contributions. Until the Obama 2012 committee is formed, the DNC is raising money that will benefit Obama's drive for a second term.
Biden was the draw last Monday -- March 21 -- in Boston at a DNC event, not a fund-raiser where someone pays to attend; it was to crank up past and future bundlers to get some face time with Biden so they will take on major fund-raising duties for the 2012 Obama re-election campaign. In mid-March, President Obama attended two DNC events in Washington aimed at the megadonors who are, have been or will be on his National Finance Committee.
With Obama facing no Democratic primary -- an obvious contrast to his 2008 presidential election battle -- prospecting events with major fund-raisers and bundlers -- people who use their connections to raise money -- are a priority on the Obama 2012 re-elect agenda.
I confirmed with a DNC official that on Tuesday, Obama, while in New York, will headline two events for the DNC in Harlem: a fund-raiser at Marcus Samuelsson's Red Rooster restaurant (with a $30,800 per-person ask) and a "thank you reception" for supporters at the Studio Museum of Harlem. (Samuelsson was the guest chef for the Obama White House first state dinner in November 2009, honoring the prime minister of India.)
I've been reporting on how Messina has been traveling around the country for weeks now, prospecting with megadonors who will be the backbone of the Obama finance operation. On Thursday, Messina does a briefing for the DNC's Women's Leadership Forum, a group created to cultivate and generate donations from women.
Footnote: In 2007, the Obama presidential campaign took over a turn-key sublease at 233 N. Michigan from Accenture, 33,000-square feet complete with custom workstations, meeting rooms and space for the various departments of the Obama campaign; eventually the campaign expanded to other space in the building.