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Messina to Become Obama Campaign Chief of Staff

Jim Messina, who is currently serving as chief of staff to Montana Sen. Max Baucus, will join the presidential operation of Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) in a senior advisory role -- the latest addition of a longtime party operative to the Illinois Senator's political inner circle.

Messina's title will be campaign chief of staff although he will not replace current manager David Plouffe. Instead, the two will work together to coordinate the massive political, policy and field operation Obama has built over the course of the primary season. One source familiar with the move made clear Plouffe remains at the top of the heap in Obama's political world and that Messina reports to him.

Neither the Obama campaign nor Messina, both of which were contacted late Sunday, would confirm the arrangement or offer any details.

For Messina, his new post is the latest in a series of political efforts over the past decade. The common thread for Messina in politics is Baucus, for whom he has served not just as chief of staff but also campaign manager in the senator's 1996 and 2002 reelection races. Baucus is up for reelection again this fall but is certain to coast to a sixth (!) term as Republicans failed to recruit a top tier (or even a third-tier) opponent.

Obama's campaign has made a number of moves since he emerged as the de facto party nominee earlier this month. The campaign has put in place teams of consultants tasked with handling geographic regions of the country, installed Obama field ace Paul Tewes as the lead political operative at the Democratic National Committee and moved much of the DNC's field operation to Chicago.

More changes are to come in the very near future as Obama takes over the operations of the national party and puts in place the pieces necessary to run -- and win -- a national campaign in the fall.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 16, 2008; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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I rarely read the national political blogs and comments as Montana blogs keep me busy enough. Yet I'm discovering that Montana's wacko fringe pales in comparison to the commenters on this site. What's with all this Barrack 'Hussein' Obama stuff? Mr. Cillizza must wince when he looks at the comments his posts generate. There certainly seem to be a lot of vitriolic, uninformed folks with too much time on their hands.

Posted by: Pete Talbot | June 17, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Hatred against whites is still RACISM. The Obama campaign has a hostility toward whites and white culture which is so nuts that the country is under great pains to even understand it.

It is crazy.

You see, in the POST RACIAL WORLD, the country is attempting to understand why the Obama campaing has adopted so many RACIST TACTICS AND HOSTILITY TOWARD THE WHITE COMMUNITY.

It may be fine to go through that exercise.

However, Obama should NOT be elected. The people around him will hurt this nation - the Obama people should not be in control of the policies of this nation.


Posted by: Anonymous | June 17, 2008 1:45 AM | Report abuse

To the poster at 907

I really hope you are David Axelrod - the charge is that there are Obama staffers or a group closely associated with the Obama campaign like family members - who are harassed other posters on the internet boards of the Washington Post and other forums.

I really do hope you are Axelrod.

First I would like to point out that a person who is running for the highest position in the land must take the oath of office which includes an oath to support the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech. Clearly, this group of pro-Obama posters are harassing people and seeking to dicourage Freedom of Speech.

It is a horrible sign of what kind of people Obama may have in his administration and what kind of policies the Obama people plan on putting forth.

Last week, one of the posters actually threatened to sue the Washington Post if the the posters who were defending themselves against the harassers were not removed - CORRECT the pro-Obama harassers were threatening a lawsuit if their point of view did not prevail.


I hope you are David Axelrod - because I would like you to look into your internet posters at your campaign headquarters and come clean and tell us who




and a whole bunch of others

These are the screen names of some of the pro-Obama offending parties.

Nixon had an enemies list - it appears that the Obama campaign has an enemies list too - however it is only a list of screen names.


Posted by: Anonymous | June 17, 2008 1:42 AM | Report abuse

This is very reassuring.
Acropolis Review has a summary of some more good reasons to consider supporting Obama:

Posted by: Jean | June 16, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

So I see the paid young Obamafools so-called "volunteers" are out attacking anyone who refuses to bow down to their
self proclaimed Messiah Barack Obama and
even now refer to a woman as being a male
no less,as one Typical Kool Aid Drinker
Obamafool did me here today as well. Oh well just goes to prove too much Toxic Obama Kool Aid will rot your braincells
permantly. Better luck next time Stupid!
Just say No to Barack Hussein Obama. NOBAMA

Posted by: Sherry Kay | June 16, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

"For a presumed nominee to take over the DNC seems totally out of line. It means that Obama will run the Convention, not the DNC which should remain independent of the candidates."

It's not out of line. The nominee becomes the head of the party and thus, its national committee.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 16, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

anotherview posted:

"At least with a Republican we maintain the system of checks and balances our forefathers envisioned."

Do you really believe the system of checks and balances is as our forefathers envisioned? Looks to me like the the checks are being written to the Repuglicans and the whole system has lost its balance under the current leadership.

I'm glad Senator Obama is choosing the best political talent available. Under his leadership maybe the weaklings among the Dems will man-up and use their power in both houses to pass meaningful legislation to help the citizens.

Posted by: Henry Gandolph | June 16, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"Actually SC- if the Democrats had no super delegates and we were like Republicans and gave a state and its delegates to the winner of the primary Hillary would be the candidate not Obama."

These are two different things. The proportional representation helped Obama. Clinton won NY and Cali. Under Republican rules, this would have cinched it up for her.

The superdelegates helped Clinton out in the sense that they gave her a rationale to remain in the race. As absurd as her staying in the race seemed, it would have been even more absurd without superdelegates.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 16, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Obama's has always used the best political insiders, so nothing new.

Change...just in the way politics and a candidate is packaged is all.

Posted by: anotherview | June 16, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"Obama takes over the operations of the national party and puts in place the pieces ..."

For a presumed nominee to take over the DNC seems totally out of line. It means that Obama will run the Convention, not the DNC which should remain independent of the candidates.

So what else will he take over as President? Will he be like Bush, doing what he wants with the Legislative Branch controlled by his party?

At least with a Republican we maintain the system of checks and balances our forefathers envisioned. Do we really want four years of a Bush style government where no one challenges the actions of the President. You would hope we have learned something in the 6 years of an unobstructed President..

The other issue is I have is the democrats did nothing with the power they have held in the Senate and the House since the mid-terms. Their tenure has been " The Great Disappointment".

Posted by: Anotherview | June 16, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I think the key to Obama's victory will be whether he can maintain the squeaky clean image, which set him above the average politician.

Hopefully, there will be no more revelations of the typical political corruption which sorrounds so many other politicians. I think Johnson's resignation really hurt Obama's image.

Posted by: jed | June 16, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Actually SC- if the Democrats had no super delegates and we were like Republicans and gave a state and its delegates to the winner of the primary Hillary would be the candidate not Obama.

But again that is irrelevant at this time.

But to those who want to continue to attack Clinton take a lead from your candidate and don't do it. You only lose by that and Obama knows it.

And smartinsen- Hillary is on vacation and she is not speaking out as a favor to Obama. The focus now should be on Obama not Clinton. Hillary has months to speak our for Obama and I am sure they will work out a schedule that he wants her to do and she will help.

The time is now for the Obama people to relax and realize the Clinton people will come on board it will just take awhile. The goal must be to leave the convention in Denver united and to get the 18,000,000 Clinton primary voters to vote for Obama in November. It doesn't have to happen this week or next.

And to the Obama supporters who like to gloat- remember McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore and Kerry, and lets make sure we don't add Obama to that list- Democratice candidates who celebrated winning the nomination and then lost the Presidency. In the last 40 years Demcorats have only won the Presidency 3 times- Carter once and Clinton twice. Carter was a failed Presidency by all accounts and Clinton's was a success.

So let's use what the Clinton's know about elections to the benefit of Obama. Let's stop the name calling and win this time

Posted by: peter DC | June 16, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I would give Obama a chance of winning Montana (and North Dakota which is also in his so-called "winning" strategy... if Obama were not so darn liberal.

There really is a notable difference between western Conservative Democrats and the Illinois/Chicago Liberal Democrat. They may actually have to figure out how to get those dead liberal Missoulans to vote.

And maybe this time they will actually let the Indian Reservation votes be counted. Look up Montana Indian voting rights violations. It should fill you with rage.

Posted by: Nickyle | June 16, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Obama is going to need a lot more than just a good campaign manager when you read facts like this in a WP article.

"Obama had backed Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic Senate primary in Connecticut. After he lost to Ned Lamont, an anti-war candidate"

I am a Democrat, but Obama raises a lot of questions as to where he really is at. How can he be against the war and then
support Lieberman, of all people, as recently as 2006. I think I have been had! The "change" candidate is just another politician! That is great, another election between the best of two pandering fools! I'll save my vote for 2012!

Posted by: Steve L. | June 16, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

cillizza, do you have a photo of jim messina? i've met the guy, and i'm sure he's extraordinarily smart and capable, but (and i say this with full knowledge that you're not supposed to judge a person by his appearance) he looks like a slimy used-car-salesman political dealer. it's almost cartoonish. again, i have no reason to believe that he is less than reputable in any way, but he's funny-lookin. post a picture for the masses.

Posted by: caveman | June 16, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Uh, Stonecreek? Do you mean to say that this Messina guy is an expert on how to win over those "bitter" voters? You know, the gun-clingers and God-fetishists that Obama has continued to diss over and over again?

That would take one heck of a miracle-worker, and his name is Messina, not Messiah.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 16, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

BTW if Obama thinks Montana will be a good place to spend money/time and become competitive, he is truly delusional. Not only will the state stay red, but Republican Roy Brown will re-take the statehouse for the Reps due to the huge resentment of current Dem gov. who increased state govt. employees by nearly 20% as his only real accomplishment. Montanans have now tasted big-government democrat policies....and aren't about to vote them into the White House.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 16, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Somebody explain to me why a guy who's been handling a senator who basically walks through every election and has no real opposition is a GOOD choice for a candidate who has to fight HARD to win? For that matter, Sen. Baucus is hardly a dynamo with a huge list of accomplishments in his career and...oh, wait. NOW I see the "match" for Obama.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 16, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Will Jim Messina's Dep. CoS be Kenny Loggins?

Posted by: Casanova Frankenstein | June 16, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Good move by BHO. As AlanInMissoula pointed out, BHO has a chance to make MT competitive with Missoula being fairly liberal and his strong support from the Native Americans. If BHO and Dean are serious about a 50-state strategy, it is an important step.

Of course, BHO stocked his campaign staff with Daschle's people and it didn't do him much good in SD.

Posted by: mnteng, | June 16, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Since people seem to like pointing out scary names here, I've got some other scary names:

John (x2)
Charles (x3)

Some of the most prolific serial killers in US history.

John McCain has the same first name as John Wayne Gacy and John Allen Muhammed! Lookout!

Posted by: Dan | June 16, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Where is Hillary anyway?

Has she fallen off the map?

Is she sulking? Plotting her revenge? Filling out loan applications?

Now would be the time for her to come out to rally her supporters for Obama if she is true to her word that she wants the Dems to win in November.

Posted by: smartinsen | June 16, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"What Obama has no way of predicting is how people will vote when they enter that booth."

Yes he does, it's called polling, which has been quite accurate, generally, in predicting how many votes he gets.

"In the end, Hillary was outdone by short-range thinking Democratic superdelegates.

McCain will win, despite media bias and money, because there won't be superdelegates this time to rescue Obama."

Incorrect; she was outdone by the voters, who gave Obama more elected delegates than she did. If there were no superdelegates, Obama would still have won; in fact, he'd have won earlier.

Posted by: SC | June 16, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Hussein!! Oh my goodness, that must mean he is a horrible person. Right?

Fear is for the weak. Weak minded individuals who think a name makes a person, need to go back to the 1800's. These are the same people who think skin color rubs off when you shake hands. If we had a nation full of people like this running the country, we would still be struggling to achieve any thing of significance. So for all of you with the middle name JOSEPH, I will now refer to you as Stalin-ites, since you must represent one of the greatest murders of all time.

Yes, that is an idiotic comparison, but so is trying to link Obama to Saddam, based on a common name. And yes, Hussein is not that uncommon of a name in the world.

Educate yourselves people. Fear is for the weak.

Posted by: Ha | June 16, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

For those who think that the anti-Obama/pro-Clinton posts on The Fix are by trolls, take a look at the first Point in Tim Craig's thread from yesterday on the Post's Virginia Politics blog.

When Sen. Clinton finally reached the point where she no longer had any numerical chance at winning the nomination, Maureen Dowd wrote,

'Whoever said that after denial comes acceptance hadn't met the Clintons.'

That appears to apply to many Clinton supporters, also.

Far too many of these posts have to be by Clinton supporters still in Denial; because the posts just don't have don't have the normal characteristics of trolls flaming a thread.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | June 16, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Also now on the staff: Oates, Crofts, and the other guy in Wham.

Posted by: Spectator2 | June 16, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Sorry that my comment @ 10:25 omitted my sig line. Posting should not be anonymous.

Fixing the log on sure would be great.

Posted by: smartinsen | June 16, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

That is great news, if it's true. Watch the The West turn Blue in 2008!!

Posted by: thebob.bob | June 16, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Sandy 5274 | June 16, 2008 10:00 AM
Claudine 1000 | June 16, 2008 9:01 AM
Sherry Kay | June 16, 2008 7:37 AM

All using variations of "under the bus".

Pretty clear that they are c&p trolls.

Maybe even the same one.

One thing that the Obama campaign has shown is their (his) excellent organizational skills. It gives him the advantage of being able to mount a quick response as the GOP goes increasingly negative because they realize that their candidate does not have much to talk about other than his hawkish and obsolete views.

This, I believe will be an asset to the Obama campaign.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 16, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

So when will Jim what was his name and that
Linda something have a Barack Hussein Obama
Bus Accident and end up under the bus after
Bus Driver Obama throws them there as well?

Posted by: Ralphinphnx | June 16, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I think this bodes well for the Music aspect of the campaign :). And for all you freepers who keep saying Hussein, his middle name is Hussein, big deal, it isn't scary, it just means you are scared the crazy old man who will not vote for anything that has to do with Women's health care issues is going to lose this fall. Hahahahahaha

Posted by: TeriM | June 16, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Who wants to bet how fast looney toons empty suit Barack Hussein Obama will throw
both Messina and Douglas under the bus?
One more good reason not to vote for Obama.

Posted by: Sandy 5274 | June 16, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Have you noticed how the posts by guys posing as anti-Obama women all have that narrow right-hand margin?

Looks like a lot of emailed talking points being copied-and-pasted all over the place.

Really, do these kids have nothing better to do?

Posted by: Doug in NYC | June 16, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

So it's fine that he's hired Messina... But what about Loggins?

Posted by: north_aufzoo | June 16, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Claudine 1000 and Sherry Kay arent even females. It is the same person spewing the same vile as usual, then using a different name to agree with himself. Just another sad republican trying to brain wash people with fear so they can keep on recording record profits with their oil companies.

Posted by: BORING | June 16, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Have they chosen their VP's yet?
Who do you think should be picked as VP running mate? is running a weekly poll.
Check out their results and vote your choice.

Posted by: wesley | June 16, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Obama is making staff changes/additions and coining money, accompanied by the adoring press.

What Obama has no way of predicting is how people will vote when they enter that booth.

That's what happened with Hillary, who won a majority of the popular vote as well as the big states, despite the biased media and despite being out-moneyed 2-1. In the end, Hillary was outdone by short-range thinking Democratic superdelegates.

McCain will win, despite media bias and money, because there won't be superdelegates this time to rescue Obama.

McCain does not have Obama's rhetoric. He is just a man of integrity and experience and accountability - and that's who we need for president. We can't afford to experiment...Obama is a novice.

Posted by: Lesley | June 16, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Yep Power Mad Barack Hussein Obama will be
throwing Messina under the bus faster then
he did his VP Vetter and his "Uncle" Rev
Jerimiah Wright and all the rest. Wake up
people all Barack Hussein and Michelle Obama are out for is Barack & Michelle Obama and noone else. Vote No Obama!

Posted by: Claudine 1000 | June 16, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

So far Obama has run a very well organised campaign which won the strategy war with Clinton in the primaries. He has shown signs of running an equally well organised campaign for November.

Could it be that this was an act of Government rather than politics? Plouffe and Axelrod will no doubt have little interest in working at 1600 Penn. Ave as they will be raking in huge fees from their professional clients at their political consultancy. Obama will need a Chief of Staff who undertands governing. I am not familiar with Messina's bigraphy so I don't know if that is him. But it could be that he is being introudced now to take the reigns of the good ship Obama if and when it reaches port in Novemeber.

Posted by: Mike | June 16, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Just a lightly snide aside:
Anyone seen the Clinton staff resume file?

Posted by: JMFulton, Jr. | June 16, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Why do anti-Obama trolls always say that he can't think without a teleprompter? Have you ever seen him in a one-on-one interview? He does extremely well in those situations, and there is no teleprompter.

Posted by: Elrod | June 16, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Great addition to the Obama team.

I hope it has regional as well as structural significance.

I also hope people like Sherry Kay keep ranting like crazies. It actually makes Obama and his supporters look good. Keep up the good work Shezza.

Posted by: Boutan | June 16, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like a good move. Messina undoubtedly has a handle on how to run an effective campaign in rural areas and the West. His influence in the campaign increases the likelihood of Obama carrying NM and CO, and helps put MT in play. Although the geography doesn't appear the same on the surface, he surely understands how to reach voters in non-urban parts of OH, IN, PA, MI, WI, and other important states where that vote can swing a whole state. Simply tying into some of the Baucus institutional understanding of how to prosper with progressive ideas in a traditionally conservative state is a very smart move by Obama.

Posted by: Stonecreek | June 16, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I like the speed and certainty at which these changes are taking place. Not in a rush, but certainly giving the impression that a lot of these choices have been thought through over time, even if final decisions are happening now.

If Senator Obama is fortunate enough to prevail in November, these kinds of stories now make me expect a sure and rapid transition then--early naming of good cabinet officers, getting a jump on the clearance and approvals process, etc.

The Obama campaign is simply well-managed. I don't think voters vote on that one way or the other, but it's pretty cool to see.

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | June 16, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

So don't even bother to learn the new Obama
Campaign Chief of Staff name as this guy
Jim Messina will be throw under the bus,
by crazy power mad Barack Hussein Obama
long before the Denver Democratic National
Convdention in August 2008. So when will
the Democratic Party and all its various
Obamafools and Obamabots realize that
Barack Hussein Obama is totally unelectable
and too brain damage by his cocaine abuse
to even think without his teleprompter and
too emotional unstable to be President?
Hey Democrats Wake Up & Dump Obama! NOBAMA!

Posted by: Sherry Kay | June 16, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Obviously, the Baucus cakewalk is the reason Messina is available. But does his selection indicate the stress BHO will place on the Mountain West?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | June 16, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

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