Charting Obama’s New Campaign Team

OBAMALAND REDUX: A look at new faces in new places as the president gears up for November

Standing before a large cheering crowd that packed the town square in Springfield on a frigid February morning in 2007, the charismatic and idealistic first-term senator Barack Obama declared his insurgent candidacy for the White House. That was sooo last campaign! In April, the embattled president officially launched his reelection bid with an understated e-mail and an Internet video (featuring a bunch of supporters—not himself) talking about the need to reelect him. Obama 2012 undoubtedly lacks the novelty—and the political euphoria—of his first campaign. But it’s not just the campaign ethos that has changed. This go around, Obama has a new headquarters, a new staff (sort of), a new, though yet to be fleshed out, slogan, and even new campaign swag. Here’s a brief look at some differences between Obamaworld in 2008 and now.

2008

2012

CAMPAIGN SLOGANS

2008 campaign logo

“CHANGE WE NEED”
“CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN”
“YES WE CAN”

 

2012 campaign logo

SUGGESTIONS: “I WOULDN’T GET YOUR HOPES UP” (McSweeney’s)
“SERIOUSLY, NOTHING LIKE JIMMY CARTER” (Mighty Righty blog)

CAMPAIGN HEADQUARTERS

2008 campaign headquarters

233 N. MICHIGAN AVE.
33,000 square feet, 11th floor, subleased from Accenture

2012 campaign headquarters

THE PRUDENTIAL BUILDING
50,000 square feet, sixth floor, views of Millennium Park and Grant Park, site of Obama’s victory party in 2008

CAMPAIGN INNER CIRCLE

David Axelrod

DAVID AXELROD, Chief Political Strategist
Obama’s political alter ego and media guru struck a chord with the optimistic messages of hope and change.

 

David Plouffe

DAVID PLOUFFE, Campaign Manager
The former Axelrod partner quarterbacked the ’08 playbook, then wrote a 400-page book about it; now advising from the White House.


 

Steve Hildebrand

STEVE HILDEBRAND, Deputy Campaign Manager
Engineered Obama’s historic win in the Iowa caucuses; took a pass this time

 

Anita Dunn

ANITA DUNN, Director of Communications, Policy, and Research
Joined early on and became a key strategist; was briefly in the White House; sitting out the reelection

 

Robert Gibbs

ROBERT GIBBS, Press Secretary
Obama’s mouthpiece and bad cop is now a campaign consultant.

 

Penny Pritzker

PENNY PRITZKER, National Finance Chair
Led Obama’s record-breaking fundraising efforts; still opens her checkbook but isn’t overseeing the whole effort

 

David Axelrod

DAVID AXELROD, Chief Political Strategist
Can he sell a president whose approval rating barely tops 40 percent? More on Axelrod here.

 

Jim Messina

JIM MESSINA, Campaign Manager
Plouffe’s No. 2 in ’08 is now No. 1. The respected problem fixer has one big problem: the economic doldrums that can foil reelections.

 

JULIANNA SMOOT and JEN O’MALLEY DILLON,
Deputy Campaign Managers
Smoot, the ’08 campaign finance director turned White House social secretary is back in an elevated role. Dillon o
versaw post-’08 grassroots organization and is now trying to reenergize its more than 13 million members
 

Stephanie Cutter

STEPHANIE CUTTER, Director of Communications, Policy, and Research
Michelle’s chief of staff in campaign ’08, named chief spokesperson of the transition; now lured over from the White House for extra press help

 

Ben LaBolt

BEN LaBOLT, Press Secretary
One of Gibbs’s understudies in ’08, went on to handle press for Rahm’s mayoral race; now the top talker

 

Matthew Barzun

MATTHEW BARZUN, National Finance Chair
Left his post as ambassador to Sweden for what could likely be the first billion-dollar campaign

COOLEST CAMPAIGN COLLECTIBLES

Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” poster



Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” poster
(free for those lucky enough to snag one at Obama rallies)

 

Juicy Couture’s “Dude, Where’s the Hope?” T-shirt



Juicy Couture’s “Dude, Where’s the Hope?” T-shirt, $60

A campaign button featuring Bo, the First Dog



Campaign button of Bo, the
First Dog, two for $5

 

A mug featuring President Obama's birth certificate



“Made in the USA” mug with an image of Obama’s birth certificate, $20

 

 

   
   
   

Photography: (Obama) Pete Souza/White House; (233 N. Michigan Ave., Prudential Building) Todd Urban; (Axelrod) Brendan Smialowski/Chicago Tribune; (Plouffe) Obama for America; (Messina) Alex Garcia/Chicago Tribune; (Hildebrand) courtesy of Steve Hildebrand; (Dunn) AP Photo/Susan Walsh; (Cutter) AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki; (Gibbs) Pete Souza/Chicago Tribune; (LaBolt) Christopher Dilts/Obama for America; (Pritzker) Yvette Marie Dostatni/Chicago Tribune

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