Obama for America will fill an entire 50,000-square-foot floor of One Prudential Plaza, a half-century ago the city's tallest building. Boxes are being unpacked, wiring is getting an upgrade and cubicles are being installed to transform the workplace into a pulsing campaign headquarters. The location is literally across the street from the office used in the successful 2008 campaign.
David Axelrod, former senior Obama presidential adviser and current re-election political guru, justifies the move to Chicago by observing that his replacement in Washington, David Plouffe, compares the White House to working in a submarine.
"He is exactly right," Axelrod said. "You come in before dawn. You have all your meals there. You don't leave the building all that much. And you look at the world through a periscope and you're sitting there in the biggest echo chamber in the world in Washington, D.C., and you don't get a real read on what people are thinking and talking about. That's why I like being here in Chicago and working from Chicago."be sure, there's plenty of symbolism in the campaign becoming the first in decades to move its re-election headquarters outside the nation's beltway. Given the state of technology — including video conferencing, smartphones, email and in the Internet — a campaign could be based virtually anywhere and critical communications would remain intact.
"It's a fundraising operation. In some ways, it doesn't really matter where it is. A smoked-glass office building in Chicago or Virginia, the same activities go on," said David Yepsen, the former longtime political writer for the Des Moines Register.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Rick Pearson writes at The Chicago Tribune: