Ready for Hillary, the group encouraging Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016, is hiring a new team of old rivals: a pair of President Obama’s top strategists who helped defeat her and put him in the White House.
The daily operations of a campaign-in-waiting for Clinton, ABC News has learned, will be overseen by Jeremy Bird, the national field director for the Obama campaign who was pivotal in building an army of grassroots supporters. Joining him is Mitch Stewart, who was one of Obama’s earliest campaign aides and led his effort in battleground states during the 2012 re-election campaign.
It is the latest sign that Ready for Hillary, the super PAC seeking to pave the way for a possible candidacy, is serious.
“It’s her decision to make,” Bird told ABC News. “This is about putting the infrastructure in place on the grassroots side, should she decide to run.” The new partnership is scheduled to be announced Wednesday morning.
Bird and the team at his new firm, 270 Strategies, will seek to use their on-the-ground organizing methods from the last two Obama campaigns to help bring together Clinton supporters from across the country.
“We know from years of leading the Obama organization that empowering people and engaging grassroots volunteers are the most critical components of building a winning, 21st century campaign,” Bird said. “That’s why we’re pleased to be working with the Ready for Hillary team to help tap into the organic grassroots energy we’re seeing around the country from voters of all ages who are already inspired by the notion of a potential Clinton candidacy.”
The Ready for Hillary super PAC is an independent group working to promote a Clinton candidacy. It is not officially aligned with Clinton, the former secretary of state, or her husband, the former president, although several key supporters and advisers play key roles with the group. Yet it is largely functioning as a shadow campaign for Clinton – if she decides to run for president eight years after her first bid fell short to Obama.
The firm that Bird formed is named after the number of electoral votes needed to win the White House. Bird and Stewart, along with other Obama veterans, will help the Ready for Hillary group and develop a ground and digital organization to prepare for a possible candidacy.
“She’s shown what it takes to lead on a national stage,” Bird told ABC News. “It’s up to her to make a decision, but we want to make sure she has the room to do that.”