Chicago is the likely base for Obama`s reelection campaign

A Chicago base would offer plenty of advantages as it is loaded with longtime loyalists with fund-raising muscle.

Last Updated: Dec 26, 2010, 20:41 PM IST

Chicago: Bucking recent campaign history, US
President Barack Obama may return to his 2008 election
headquarters here for his planned 2012 bid for the White
House, according to a media report.

The White House says Obama has not made a decision on
where to locate his reelection headquarters for 2012, but
Chicago Tribune, quoting observers reported that the President
may return to his 2008 base: Chicago.

Such a decision would buck recent history. Every two-
term president in the last 30 years - George W. Bush, Bill
Clinton and Ronald Reagan - set up reelection campaign offices
near the White House or in suburban Virginia, it noted.

"A key factor favouring Chicago`s selection is the anti-
Washington climate that has swept the country. Another is the
insurgency candidacy anticipated from Obama`s rivals, who are
expected to make the case that the times are bad, the nation`s
capital is broken, Obama has been captured by Washington and
they offer voters an alternative," it said.

Running the reelection effort out of Chicago wouldn`t
stop those arguments, but it could blunt them, the paper said.

One sign that the campaign may be based in Chicago is
the planned return to the city of David Axelrod, the top
strategist behind Obama`s win in 2008 and a White House senior
advisor since.

After Obama`s State of the Union address in January,
Axelrod is expected to come back to Chicago, possibly in
February, and begin working on what`s known as "the reelect."

A Chicago base would offer plenty of advantages. The
city is loaded with longtime loyalists, many with fund-raising
muscle.

It`s within striking distance of battleground states
Obama must court: Iowa, Ohio, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin
and Michigan.

"He will and must select Chicago," said American
University political science professor James Thurber. "He
needs to project an anti-Washington image and keep the
campaign staff far away from the echo chamber in D.C."

Potential drawbacks involve coordinating the president`s
moves and messages with top political advisors split between
the Washington and a Chicago campaign shop.

In 2008, Obama`s anchors - his wife and daughters - were
in Chicago, but now their home is the White House.

Patti Solis Doyle, a Chicago native who for a time led
Hillary Rodham Clinton`s 2008 campaign and joined Obama`s
after Clinton`s concession, said Chicago was a logical pick.

"Chicago makes more sense than Washington," she said.

"He`s from Chicago, he still has his home in Chicago..."

In the 2008 general election, Obama defeated Republican
nominee John McCain and was inaugurated as the 44th US
president on January 20, 2009.

PTI