Reacting to Mass. Rebellion, White House Beefs Up Outside Political Arm

By Dschabner

Jan 23, 2010 3:12pm

Still reeling from the upset victory of Sen.-elect Scott Brown, R-Mass., earlier this week, President Obama is augmenting the political operation at the White House by bringing several key 2008 campaign aides back into the fold.

Senior White House officials tells ABC news that Obama for America campaign manager David Plouffe will soon set up shop at the Democratic National Committee to oversee House, Senate, and gubernatorial races this fall, in what is shaping up to be a difficult political environment for Democrats.

"Plouffe is one of the smartest guys in the business, he has the full trust of the President and his team, and we appreciate any and all help he can give us," White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said. "This is a very challenging political environment and you want all the best players on the field."

In the wake of the loss of the Massachusetts Senate seat — the first time a Republican has been elected to represent the Bay State since 1972, when President Obama was 11 — the president has ordered a review of the Democratic Party's entire political operation.

In addition to the return of top aides such as Plouffe, other mid-level operatives from the 2008 Obama campaign who helped bring candidate Obama victories in Iowa and in Feb. 5 "Super Tuesday" primary states, will be enlisted to work on campaigns to keep expected Democratic losses to a minimum, aides said.

Within the White House, deputy chief of staff Jim Messina and political director Patrick Gaspard are primarily responsible for supervising campaigns. Aides stressed that these new positions would be augmenting — not replacing — their roles.

Brown's victory and the voter discontent it represents have scared Democratic incumbents in Washington, D.C., threatening to kill off any attempt at health care reform legislation and threatening the confirmation of Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, whom Obama has nominated for a second term.

-jpt

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