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Obama to return to Chicago for re-election campaign?

December 26, 2010 21:19 IST
Bucking recent campaign history, United States President Barack Obama may return to his 2008 election headquarters in Chicago 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 DC"

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.

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