More additions to Barack Obama's presidential campaign, with a hat tip to Politico's Ben Smith.
Most interesting from a Chicago perspective is landing Ertharin Cousin as a senior advisor. Her resume stretches from Springfield to the White House. She was last spotted by this blogger at the big Obama rally at the University of Illinois-Chicago on Obama's klckoff weekend. Though the Obama campaign is headquartered in Chicago, there are relatively few 606ers on the payroll with most of the top staffers moving in from other places.
click below for the latest on staffing...
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.
White House hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton both touch down in Selma on Saturday in a pilgrimage to a place playing a crucial role in the African-American struggle for equality in the U.S. Saturday marks the anniversary of the historic Selma march.
In advance of the trip, Obama talked to NPR on Tuesday about race. Said Obama: " And so I think my candidacy for the presidency is going to bring to the surface a whole bunch of stuff."
Bill Clinton's personal behavior...will it matter in 2008 race?
LOS ANGELES -- As White House hopefuls Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama competed for major California Democratic donors the last few days, the campaign trail took the rivals to uncharted territory.
As facts change on the ground, the frontrunning Democratic White House contenders Barack Obama and HIllary Rodham Clinton adjust their get-out of Iraq plans.
Obama on Friday morning called for President Bush to order U.S troops to start withdrawing from Iraq by May 1--66 days from today. That's a reaction to British Prime Minister Tony Blair yanking British soldiers from Iraq, which puts more pressure on U.S. military and makes the point the British see no more point to their participation in the war.
"“Tony Blair’s announcement made it clear that one of our greatest allies recognize the fact that there is no military solution to this war. Just about everyone in the world understands this except the White House and a few of their friends running for President,” Obama said in a statement.
Clinton last Saturday unveiled her plan to start a phased redeployment in Iraq in 90 days. That was an a bid to shift the conversation from her vote to authorize the Iraq war on to getting troops home.
LOS ANGELES -- Between fund-raisers in California with major Democratic donors on Tuesday, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama staged an outdoor rally at a park in the Crenshaw district, a humble neighborhood of homes and strip malls that's a contrast to the glitter and wealth of Beverly Hills.
The rally served several strategies:
• It was the only photo-op of the day to catch Obama. News photographers were banned from his star-filled Beverly Hills fund-raiser Tuesday night, so there were no image- management issues stemming from pictures of Obama hanging with celebrities and not "real people."
• And with a new 2008 presidential primary calendar shaping up that puts California in play, it was only prudent for Obama to start laying the groundwork for a Feb. 5 vote in a delegate-rich state. Watching the Illinois Democrat at the rally were five of the 15 members of the Los Angeles City Council whose backing Obama would welcome.
LOS ANGELES -- As he seeks the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama is campaigning against "the smallness of our politics" and "scoring cheap political points."
It would seem, then, that Team Obama has a higher self-imposed standard when it comes to responding to shots, even cheap ones, lobbed at the Illinois Democrat. It makes life on the trail much tougher, but that's the high-minded course Obama set for himself.
BEVERLY HILLS-- Both Illinois senators, Dick Durbin and Barack Obama, are fundraising in California this week: Durbin for his 2008 re-election campaign and Obama for his White House bid. The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson is in Los Angeles for meetings with corporate executives and this morning was slated to speak to students at a Compton high school.
Last night, by coincidence, I intersected with these three separate worlds at the Beverly Hilton. I booked a room here because this is where Obama was headlining a fundraiser Tuesday night hosted by Hollywood moguls David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- It's the Hollywood primary.
White House hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton are competing for support from stars and moguls here this week as they hunt for millions of dollars from an elite group of famous donors to bankroll their campaigns.
LOS ANGELES--it's now 10 a.m. here....and just got word that some 200 media creditionals have been reserved for the Obama rally today here...and some 7,000 people rsvp'd for tickets to the outdoor event. Right now--looks like it may rain.
For the past few hours--it is 8 a.m. Pacific time as I write this--the local NBC station has been billboarding Barack Obama's visit here today for money and votes. Tonight, Obama greets Hollywood stars and then lets his best fundraisers--called bundlers because they get credit for contributions they solicit--dine at David Geffen's home.
California is poised to move its June primary to Feb. 5--as is Illinois--making this a state in play. California will be a very expensive media battleground, since it will be impossible to do Iowa and New Hampshire house-visit style one-on-one campaigning.
LOS ANGELES -- Worried about a pending potentially negative Los Angeles Times story, Barack Obama's presidential campaign assigned its top researcher the job of tracking down people Obama worked with when he was a community organizer in Altgeld Gardens -- some the basis of composite characters in his memoir, Dreams From My Father.
WASHINGTON -- South Carolina is a key primary state, and Democratic White House front-runners Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton competed to hire the same influential African-American consultant -- a state senator who is pastor of a 10,000-member megachurch.
White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama is acutely aware of the power of the narrative in politics. That's why the Illinois Democrat and his wife, Michelle, are very deliberately trying to define what experience means in the context of his 2008 presidential campaign and turn what now is a negative into an advantage.
White House hopeful Barack Obama, after picking up a fresh supply of white shirts in Washington, hits the road again and stays on it for almost a week, taking advantage of the upcoming Senate recess.
He stumps in the early primary state of South Carolina on Friday and Saturday, heading to Richmond, Va. to headline Saturday evening the Virgnia state Democratic party Jefferson-Jackson dinner. He's expected to pick up the formal endorsement of his second governor, Timothy Kaine of Virginia. This early endorsement from Kaine, a Southern Democratic may help Obama in South Carolina.
Illinois Gov.Rod Blagojevich is for Obama but is not making a big deal about it. He was in Springfield for the Obama kickoff Saturday. He told my Sun-Times colleague political writer Scott Fornek "I am very much for him and you know I talked to him about helping him along the way, raising money, that kind of thing....and I am eager to help him raise money."
Could it be that the Obama team did not want a spalshy endorsement session with Blagojevich because of the scandals surrounding the governor and a controversial donor they share, the indicted Tony Rezko?
Obama will be stumping in the coming days in South Carolina, Virginia, California, Texas, Nevada and Iowa.
click here for a story on the Virginia endorsement
Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) is personally closer to Barack Obama than Hillary Clinton. But he owes his vault to the upper levels of political life to the Clintons. So he has been bobbing and weaving when it comes to saying who he is for, though in the end, when he has to, he will check the Clinton box.
Anyway, Obama has the backing of the other two Emanuel brothers.
Click below for the latest try, this by NBC's David Gregory, to get Emanuel on the record on who he favors.
Pooler was not allowed in the ballroom to observe remarks by
Michelle Obama and Penny Pritzker, who spoke before Obama's
remarks. But your pooler, staffed by Burton, was allowed to take
notes and tape the amplified sound she could hear clearly
through a wall.
Obama Pool Report
Sunday, Feb. 11
CHICAGO-The following is a pool report from a fundraiser for
White House hopeful Barack Obama. Since it is getting
late.reporters on deadline please note that your pooler will be
moving a few grafs about the event and a quote from Obama with
more to come. The campaign did not send out an advisory about
the event or include it on the schedule but did allow one print
IOWA FALLS, IA.—It’s almost 11 p.m. on Saturday and Barack Obama is about to call it a day, his first on the campaign trail as a candidate for president of the United States that started with his announcement 13 hours earlier in Springfield, Ill.
The traveling Obama entourage—Obama, his wife and daughters, staffers, reporters—are staying the night at two modest inns across the street from each other in this town.
SPRINGFIELD, ILL.—Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign launched its revamped web site aimed at the Facebook and YouTube generation with a slogan, “This campaign is about you.”
Obama, who kicks off his White House drive at 9:55 a.m. central time Saturday in a theatrically staged event in front of the Old State Capitol in this city of Abraham Lincoln, personally inspected the site just before it went live at midnight.
WASHINGTON--Watch for Barack Obama's campaign to hunt for the student vote as college visits and rallies will be a key strategic element of his Democratic primary campaign.
Clearly Obama, the youngest candidate in the Demoratic field, has collegiate appeal. Last Friday, Obama filled a hall at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. at a rally organized mainly on the Internet by an ad hoc group of students. He's working the Facebook crowd.
On a weekend swing as a White House candidate, Obama stumps at Iowa State in Ames; University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
But it is very tough to translate student support to primary votes--each state has rules about registration, absentee voting, etc. to navigate. Still, Obama is staking a claim to the college vote as a voice of the post-baby boomer generation.
WASHINGTON--Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) last week introduced his bill to pull troops from Iraq, with the goal for most to leave by March, 2008. On Tuesday Obama stood with two vets, House Democrats Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania and Mike Thompson of California, who will sponsor the companion legislation in their chamber.
It's a longshot, given the way presidential politics will play out on the Senate floor, that any of the 2008 GOP or Democratic White House contenders will end up with their name on a final piece of legislation cutting into President Bush's ability to send more soldiers to Iraq. That is, if the Democratic leadership can muster 60 votes and avoid a few Republicans from blocking the bill. It will be a different matter in the House, were the Dem leaders have more power to push things through.
WASHINGTON--"Actually, Nicorette works pretty well," said Barack Obama, a closet smoker coming out as the spotlight shines on him with his White House run.
Here's the scene on Tuesday morning.
It's after a press conference Obama, the Illinois Democrat running for president, called to draw attention to his legislation to pull troops from Iraq.
A pack of scribes follow him from the Senate Radio-TV gallery because a newsmaker in these informal post press conference moments often commits more news. The sharp elbowed scribes jostle to keep within earshot of Obama to catch his words.
Jones' Obama pitch to black Democrats stirs controversy
WASHINGTON -- Seeking to solidify African-American backing for Barack Obama's presidential bid, Illinois Senate President Emil Jones Jr. told black Democrats meeting here last week they don't "owe" anyone, alluding to, but not mentioning by name, Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
WASHINGTON--On Saturday, Barack Obama "officially" kicks off his presidential quest in Springfield, followed by visits to Iowa and New Hampshire punctuated in between by a Chicago fund-raiser.
But, short of the formality and hullabaloo of an announcement in the city where Abraham Lincoln once lived, Obama is already in presidential campaign mode, with a theme that can be summed up in one word: "Hope."
Sweet Scoop: Democratical presidential hopeful Barack Obama will headquarter his national campaign at 233 N. Michigan Ave. Staffers will be based there for at least the next year, and maybe more if he wins the nomination.
Barack Obama launches his White House bid with almost nothing in the bank. His chief rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, has more than a $10-million running start for use in her presidential quest. In the money game, even Joe Biden is ahead, with some $4 million in his various campaign warchests.
As scooped in my blog Wednesday afternoon, Obama is tapping Chicago billionaire Penny Pritzker to be the national finance chairman of his presidential campaign. Pritzker is a member of one of the wealthiest clans in the nation.