President Barack Obama’s top advisers are quietly laying the groundwork for the 2012 reelection campaign, which is likely to be run out of Chicago and managed by White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, according to Democrats familiar with the discussions.
For now, the planning consists entirely of private conversations, with Obama aides at all levels indulging occasionally in closed-door 2012 discussions while focusing ferociously on the midterm elections and health care reform, the Democratic sources said. “The gathering storm is the 2010 elections,” one top official said.
But the sources said Obama has given every sign of planning to run again and wants the next campaign to resemble the highly successful 2008 effort.
David Axelrod, White House senior adviser, may leave the West Wing to rejoin his family in Chicago and reprise his role as Obama’s muse, overseeing the campaign’s tone, themes, messages and advertising, the sources said.
David Plouffe, the Obama for America campaign manager, described by one friend as “the father of all this,” will be a central player in the reelect, perhaps as an outside adviser.
“The conversations are beginning, but decisions haven’t been made,” a top official said. “If you look at David Plouffe’s stepped-up level of activity with the political organization [as an outside adviser on the 2010 races], that is obviously the beginning of the process.”