The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

A Chicago Obama Campaign Headquarters! Unprecedented! Daring! Yawn.


Of course. “Unprecedented!”

Never in modern history has a U.S. president attempted to win reelection with a campaign operation based beyond the Potomac.

 But that’s what President Barack Obama is apparently proposing to do.

It’s a daring move that strategists hope will enable him to recapture some of his 2008 magic. Obama’s top advisers have concluded that potential drawbacks to locating the headquarters in his home base of Chicago are outweighed by the benefits they anticipate from a break with precedent. And with Republican contenders already circling, there’s a sense of urgency toward beginning to set up the reelection effort. 

The campaign is expected to take shape in the next few months, and insiders are operating under the assumption that it will do so from the Windy City. Sources with knowledge of the campaign planning said that while no decision has been made, a Chicago location is a near certainty.

It’s not just the president’s favorite adjective of “unprecedented,”; it’s “daring!” to Politico.

Indeed, the defeat of President George H.W. Bush in 1992 is attributable to the location of his campaign headquarters, right? And Reagan wouldn’t have won in 1980 if President Carter’s reelection campaign had operated out of Plains, Georgia, again, right? I’m sure Gerald Ford used to kick himself, knowing he was one Grand Rapids headquarters away from winning his own full term.

Clearly, running a campaign from the vital swing city of Chicago will help the Obama campaign. After all, what city more represents honest, straightforward heartland values or has a less unique and idiosyncratic local political culture?

Also, notice the lament hidden in this comment from Valerie Jarrett:

“Because he’s the president of the United States, he’s not out there running the way he was before when he was the U.S. senator, where you have to think about everybody in the field every second of the day,” Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said Sunday on “Meet the Press.” She added, “That doesn’t mean that, at some point, he’s not going to get out there and launch a campaign, but the most important thing that he can do for the American people is think of them every single day and let them guide his actions.”

Isn’t it unfair that the day job of the presidency gets in the way of campaigning, unlike the job of, say, junior senator from Illinois? Of course, in the past two years, Obama somehow found the time for 69 political fundraisers and 17 campaign rallies. But all those presidential campaign events in the next two years might mean Obama won’t be able to fit in the 52 rounds of golf or so he’s enjoyed since January 2009.

Tags: Barack Obama


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