Published January 23, 2010
David Plouffe, campaign manager of President Obama's 2008 victory, will now provide regular advice to the president and his senior staff on legislative strategy and politics, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said on Saturday.
Gibbs said Plouffe will not join the White House staff but will likely receive some compensation from the Democratic National Committee, where he is likely to take up an office.
Gibbs said Plouffe's move into the president's inner circle does not mean anyone currently advising Obama -- Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Senior Adviser Jim Messina, Political Director Patrick Gaspard -- have failed or are in any jeopardy of losing their jobs.
"The president sees this as complementary," Gibbs said.
Gibbs said Plouffe and Obama met Tuesday at the White House to discuss Plouffe's expanded role.
Gibbs said Obama sees the mid-term elections as crucial to the Democratic Party and his agenda.
Gibbs acknowledged Plouffe is among the closest advisers Obama had in the campaign and his voice will carry great weight in any deliberations on politics, strategy and tactics.
Plouffe's new role can only be regarded as a move to sharper White House focus on its agenda and its results -- both legislatively and politically.
"David's the best and he will make every meeting smarter," Gibbs said.
Plouffe will also exercise considerable influence over Organizing For America (OFA), the grassroots political arm at the DNC that Obama has tried - with limited success - to mobilize across the country on behalf of his agenda.
Gibbs said Plouffe is unlikely to spend sizable amount of time at the White House, at least initially. Obama's use of Plouffe and the direction set through Plouffe's advice could shift the power structures in the West Wing, bringing in such a heavyweight voice often does, even on the most cohesive teams.
Obama's White House team is know for its tight-knit working relationship. Plouffe's status with Obama's current inner circle could hardly be higher as many worked alongside or for him in the campaign. But the reality can't be ignored that Plouffe was on the outside before the Massachusetts special U.S. Senate election and now he is on the inside.
That will inevitably change how advice is given and how decisions are made. Plouffe's being brought to shape the advice and White House outcomes. And that will take some getting used to -- even for those on team Obama who know, admire and repsect Plouffe.