As you walk through the reception area at the new headquarters for President Obama's re-election campaign there are two large signs. The one posted on the wall opposite the receptionist reads:
Respect. Empower. Include. Win.
The other one, still lying on the coffee-table in an adjacent waiting area reads:
Countdown To Election Day 2012.
The countdown is on and staffers are working at the new campaign digs in Chicago's Prudential Building. The move from temporary work-space to the 50,000 square foot operation (making up an entire floor of the building) was just made Tuesday.
But because of a series of requests by the news media to see the new headquarters, a brief open house was held Thursday morning.
There are lots of new 2012 campaign placards hung up as well as a series of state maps. Some were early primary and caucus contest states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina. Others were later contest states like Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
The space is largely open. Rows of desks line the main room. There is a large swath of open space when more staff is to be added later. Dotted here and there on the floor were boxes of office supplies still not distributed including pens, inked stamps and at least one Swiffer Duster.
There are dozens campaign staffers working phones and laptops. How many have been hired? Our ‘tour guides' couldn't say, but resumes are still being accepted at BarackObama.com.
Private office space is reserved for a few.
Campaign Manager Jim Messina has one and was working at his desk as the media tour wandered by. Two pieces of artwork were still un-hung, a framed picture of Messina and the President (cracks in the glass came from a moving-in accident) and an autographed Derek Jeter jersey.
The view out the South windows is the best at the Obama headquarters. It features Chicago's Millennium Park. Closest is the Pritzker Pavilion and the giant, silvery, jellybean-shaped "Cloud Gate" sculpture.
Beyond that is historic Grant Park, the location of President Obama's victory celebration on Election Night 2008.
The job of those gathered at the still-being assembled new headquarters is to give the President a chance at an encore there.
Steve Brown is an author, radio broadcaster and seminary professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.