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Obama Snaps Up Senior Clinton Policy Hands

By Jonathan Weisman
As Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton were pledging unity in Unity, N.H., the convergence of the Obama and Clinton camps continued in Chicago on a more tangible level in the form of another round of campaign mergers and acquisitions.

The Obama campaign announced it had hired Neera Tanden, Clinton's longtime policy aide and her campaign's policy director, as Obama's domestic policy director, under Heather Higgenbotham, his overall policy director. Obama will also bring on board Melody Barnes, the executive vice president for policy of the Center for American Progress, as senior domestic policy adviser.

The Center for American Progress was founded by former Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta as a liberal think tank to counter the conservative Heritage Foundation, but it has also served as something of a Democratic government-in-waiting -- though that government was supposed to be headed by the former first lady. CAP also employed Cassandra Butts, a long-time friend and policy adviser of Obama's who is now serving as a bridge to the Clinton policy world.

Obama's policy shop had already brought on board another old Clinton hand, Jason Furman, to help with economic policy, but Tanden represents the most senior hire from the Clinton camp yet. She is a longtime confidante of Sen. Clinton's, a legislative director and policy director for Clinton's Senate campaigns. And, unlike another recent Obama hire, fired Clinton campaign manager Patty Solis Doyle, Tanden remains near the center of the Clinton orbit.

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 27, 2008; 2:50 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Barack Obama , Cast of Characters  
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Next: Party Unity in NH, as Clinton Talks and Obama Says "She Rocks"


While Mrs. Clinton has a large and intense set of voters supporting her - she really brings none of the gravitas needed by Obama to fend off charges of his inexperience.

Further, it is well documented that Hillary is an intellectual lightweight relying on her husband for all significant policy understanding and on her staff for the tactical policy negotiations that have characterized her 10 years in elected public office.

Obama needs the senior staff --- not an empty pantsuit.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

UnfortunatelyObama's tacking to the right. Fortunately, McCain's such a loser that he wouldn't be able to win even if Jesus Christ was his running mate

Posted by: David | June 28, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Re: Great news

This is great news for McCain's Campaign: See how Obama's policy discourse will be shifting how many times--from now on.

McCain's Campagin needs to relax and enjoy the summer. NO response: Let him play his own game with his money.

Posted by: peace4world | June 28, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is an evil hag and I'm glad she is gone.

Posted by: Don | June 28, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

obama and clinton need each other. The world is tired of Bush and needs change we can all believe in. Not vanity

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2008 2:38 AM | Report abuse

Obama said one of his changes would be to get rid of the old politics in Washington. He knew he couldn't do that because he was already embedded in the old politics. I knew he wouldn't do that, but a lot of people believed him. He has used the old politics since day one, and now is is hiring people from the old politics. That won't be the only promise he will break. He acts as though he is in agreement with 90% of Hillary's issues. That percentage will be a lot lower when he starts breaking other promises.

Posted by: Terry | June 27, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

I dont believe the Obama family will ever reside in the white house.
Posted by: JULIE | June 27, 2008 6:10 PM
JULIE, I hope you're right.

Posted by: Michael | June 27, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I dont believe the Obama family will ever reside in the white house.

Posted by: JULIE | June 27, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

The GOP has more to gain than lose, if Hillary is Obama's VP.

They have years of dirt researched on her, and would Swift Boat her right before November with all the Clinton baggage.

Change =/= Clinton

Posted by: Franky | June 27, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Title: Mrs. Clinton for V.P.
This is an unbiased opinion and I waited till after the Unity, NH meeting to share it.
1. The American people and the world desparately need positive changes in leadership and direction to keep up their hopes and anybody who will copy anything from the failed policies and directions of the leadership of the last seven to eight years will not win the presidency in November, 2008.
2. Senator Barack Obama seems to be on the right path to become the next U.S. President.
3. To be safe and help make assurance doubly sure, especially from the Democratic Party's standpoint, he NEEDS Sen. Hillary Clinton as his running-mate. Mrs. Clinton has more weight, more following and more readiness than anyone else he might be considering for the V.P. slot and therefore will be the most effective in helping him win the presidency in November.
4. Hiring everyone that worked for her has No REAL meaning if she is not the V.P. She is not running for President anymore, but will deliver more than expected if she REALLY puts her mind, heart, energy, strength, enthusiasm, knowledge and forces into it. I strongly suggest that Sen. Obama and his wife, Michelle, sit down with Mrs. Clinton and ask her to choose the role she would like to play and give it to her before moving forward. She has incredible abilities and bringing her husband on-board too will help ensure a knock-out victory in November.
5. The Clintons turned the U.S. economy around, balanced the budget, achieved a budget surplus and helped to create millions of jobs. Giving Mrs. Clinton an opportunity that will make it easier for her to succeed Obama after their two terms in office (which is next to what she wanted through her campaign)will help Obama, his administration, the Democratic party, the american people, the Clintons and the world.
6. Mrs. Clinton becoming Obama's running- mate will help turn off some Republicans and Independents who hate the Clintons from voting for Obama, but putting someone else in that position will turn away a lot more Democrats who are die-hard Clinton supporters and that will hurt the campaign even more. If Obama and Mrs. Clinton start early to show the Americans what they can do for them together, they will drastically reduce the baggage before the election. The two of them together will beat Sen. McCain and anyone he chooses as his running mate.
7. With the Clintons fully on-board, the American voters will have a ninty-nine percent (99%) confidence level that their economy will be turned around. The opportunity cost of fighting the Iraq war (spreading our resources too thin)that we were misled into doing and not focusing on finding Mr. Bin Laden and his forces is a host of economic, domestic and even international problems we have been failing to address and solve well including making progress in finding ways to end our dependence of foreign oil and energy sources.
8. Sen. Obama and his forces should not allow their opponents to decide who they should choose to be his running-mate. Sen. Clinton has done everything she has been asked to do very well and will do more if the motivation is there.
9. Sen. Clinton offered Sen. Obama her runnin-mate's slot even when she was behind in the race, like a great visionary person would do. Therefore, Sen. Obama should return "the match" according to a popular Nigeria actor, chief Zebrudia Okoroigwe Nwaogbo.
10. To really unite the Democratic party forces is to get Mrs. Clinton and other candidates and their forces on-board and truly involved toward their common goal of winning the presidency and more in November.

Posted by: Dr. Bert Opara, Houston,TX | June 27, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Unless these are war advisers, don't plan on having a job when McCain gets elected.

We need to be fighting in Iran, Iraq, Afgan, North Korea, and China ASAP!!

McCain better use all those nukes he plans to build on killing these nations before they kill us first! We must strike now!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Justin | June 27, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Seniors should really get to know Mccain before they vote for him. Are you sure, Mccain can be trusted and is he who the American people want as president. Judge for yourself:

Posted by: Linda | June 27, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Since Hillary and Obama's policies are about the same, this makes total sense.

Posted by: Marshall | June 27, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Okay...give it another two to three weeks and then these polling firms should polls swing states and national polling, then when we will see a big bounce for Obama (i.e. national polling with a double-digit leads).

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | June 27, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Baggage? Clintos invented new definitions for the word! Nevertheless, Billary did have some top drawer advisers...those we need to see again in the Obama presidency. We do not need arrogant sore loser feminazis wearing ugly shoes trying to emasculate any man with a thought of his own. Dig?

Posted by: Daddio on the Paddio | June 27, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"..Clintons turned the economy around, balance the budget and had a surplus..."

True? yes, true. If you do not mind they sucked all the money out of the Social Security fund to do it!

Posted by: Joe | June 27, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Get a clue, the Clintons turned the economy around, balance the budget and had a surplus, in addition to creating millions of jobs. Obama and the Democratic party need the Clintons and their crews to turn this economy around. Except for Lewinksy, the Clintons don't really have any baggage. Frankly, I really don't care if Bill gets 100 Lewinsky a day. I care about the economy, health care and surplus. Let the Clintons share their experience to shape up this country!

Posted by: Hey You! | June 27, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

If Obama should acknowledge the role of sexism in the primaries, Clinton should acknowledge the role of racism. Sexism played a role, but it was certainly not decisive. When Clinton supporters harp on it while ignoring racism, the nicest thing I can say is they're wearing blinders.

Maybe the answer is a joint statement by Obama & Clinton that the media showed too much racism AND sexism during the primaries, & are continuing to show too much racism now.

Posted by: Neal in San Leandro, CA | June 27, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

More strong women in important positions.

Posted by: FirstMouse | June 27, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

If I wanted another Clinton in the White House, I would have voted for her in the Primary. Get rid of those Billary folks and get your own people, PLEASE.

Posted by: Daddio | June 27, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

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