Gaspard to be White House Political Director
Patrick Gaspard, a longtime labor operative, will be the White House political director for President-elect Barack Obama, sources with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed to The Fix.
Gaspard served as national political director for much of Obama's general election campaign and was named deputy director of personnel for the transition effort. Prior to his work with Obama, Gaspard was the lead political operative for the 1199 branch of the Service Employees International Union, a huge and hugely influential union representing health care workers in New York. He spent the 2004 general election as the national field director for America Coming Together.
"Patrick is a talented leader of our union and has made an incredible contribution to workers as an organizer and a political strategist," said Anna Burger, the Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU. "We celebrate with him his new role. He's earned it and will serve our country well."
Gaspard was featured prominently in Ryan Lizza's recent New Yorker piece detailing how Obama won.
Of his job interview with the Illinois senator, Gaspard recalled Obama saying: "I think that I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm gonna think I'm a better political director than my political director." Following the first general election debate between Obama and John McCain, Gaspard emailed his boss to praise him as "more clutch than Michael Jordan." The Democratic nominee replied: "Just give me the ball."
With the news of Gaspard's hire, Obama has filled out much of his White House senior staff with Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel to be chief of staff, Greg Craig to be White House Counsel, Jim Messina and Mona Sutphen will be deputy chiefs of staff while Pete Rouse and David Axelrod will serve as senior advisers to the president. Robert Gibbs, one of Obama's closest confidantes, is widely expected to be White House press secretary but no announcement has been made yet by the transition team.
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