Entries in Staff (9)


Tearful Obama Credits Staff for History-Making Campaign

Win McNamee/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The morning after he won re-election, an emotional President Barack Obama credited his youthful staff of several hundred with running a campaign that will “go on in the annals of history.”

“What you guys have accomplished will go on in the annals of history and they will read about it and they’ll marvel about it,” Obama told his team Wednesday morning inside the Chicago campaign headquarters, tears streaming down his face.

“The most important thing you need to know is that your journey’s just beginning. You’re just starting. And whatever good we do over the next four years will pale in comparison to whatever you guys end up accomplishing in the years and years to come,” he said.

The moment, captured by the Obama campaign’s cameras and posted online, offers a rare glimpse at the president unplugged and emotional. During the first four years of his presidency, Obama has never been seen publicly crying.

He first came to Chicago, he told the campaign staff, “knowing that somehow I wanted to make sure that my life attached itself to helping kids get a great education or helping people living in poverty to get decent jobs and be able to work and have dignity. And to make sure that people didn’t have to go to the emergency room to get health care.”

“The work that I did in those communities changed me much more than I changed those communities because it taught me the hopes and aspirations and the grit and resilience of ordinary people,” he said, as senior strategist David Axelrod and campaign manager Jim Messina looked on. “And it taught me the fact that under the surface differences, we all have common hopes and we all have common dreams. And it taught me something about how I handle disappointment and what it meant to work hard on a common endeavor, and I grew up.”

“So when I come here and I look at all of you, what comes to mind is, it’s not that you guys remind me of myself, it’s the fact that you are so much better than I was in so many ways. You’re smarter, you’re so better organized, you’re more effective,” he said.

Obama said he expected many of those who helped to re-elect him will assume new roles in progressive politics, calling that prospect a “source of my strength and inspiration.”

Senior campaign officials said Thursday that the Obama campaign infrastructure -- the field offices and network of hundreds of thousands of volunteers -- would undergo a period of transition in the coming weeks to determine how to remain sustainable and influential.

“We have remarkable staff, and the campaign that Jim [Messina] put together, you know, is the best in history,” said senior Obama adviser David Plouffe. “But the reason those people got involved was because they believed in Barack Obama. It was the relationship between them and our candidate.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


How Much Do White House Staffers Get Paid? Report Released

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House on Friday released annual pay data for President Obama's staff.  

Yearly salaries for the president's aides range from $172,200 for Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor and assistant to the president, Press Secretary Jay Carney and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon to $0, which is what Special Assistant Andrew Parker and David Kaden, a senior policy advisor, get.

The White House is required to hand over the salary information to Congress in accordance with a 1995 law.  The full report can be viewed here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gingrich, Strapped for Cash, Lays Off Third of Staff

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Running low on cash and falling further behind in the delegate count, Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich will slash about a third of his campaign staff in an effort to stay in the race for as long as possible.

Gingrich staffers confirmed to ABC News that the former House speaker had shaken up the top tiers of his staff, including replacing campaign manager Michael Krull with Vince Haley, a longtime Gingrich advisor.

Gingrich, insists that he is still a viable candidate despite a third-place rank in the delegate count. He has hinged his entire strategy on hoping Mitt Romney is incapable of securing the 1,144 delegates needed to become the nominee, resulting in a contested GOP convention this summer.

Earlier Tuesday in Annapolis, Md., Gingrich told reporters “the money is very tight obviously” and suggested his communications staff would soon announce a series of layoffs.

Those announcements came Tuesday evening, on the heels of increased evidence that the campaign is striving to stay relevant and stay fiscally afloat.

In recent days, many of the reporters from the country’s major print publications stopped routinely following Gingrich. And Monday night in Delaware, Gingrich charged supporters $50 to have a photo taken with him.

“Clearly, we are going to have to go on a fairly tight budget to get from here to Tampa,” Gingrich said Tuesday. “But I think we can do it.”

On the stump Gingrich regularly talks about how his campaign was left for dead several times in the past only to resurrect itself. Most dramatically, last June, nearly all his senior staff quit the campaign en masse. It was at that time that Krull, a former advance man and friend of Gingrich’s wife Callista, was hired.

Gingrich significantly cut back the number of scheduled campaign events he holds. Currently on his schedule, he only has one event a day for the next three days.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bachmann Presses On in Iowa After Campaign Staff Shakeup

AFP/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- As GOP contender Michele Bachmann concluded a 99-county tour of Iowa Thursday, the Minnesota Republican was forced to explain not only why her Iowa chairman Sen. Kent Sorenson defected from her campaign to endorse Ron Paul at the eleventh hour, but why her senior political advisor issued a statement refuting Bachmann’s explanation.

Sorenson, she told reporters, was “offered a great deal of money” by the Paul campaign to switch teams just five days before the first-in-the-nation caucuses on Jan. 3.

She characterized Sorenson’s departure as political poaching, calling it an “aggressive action by the Ron Paul” campaign.

Bachmann’s Iowa political director, Wes Enos, who like Sorenson joined her campaign in its first days, released a statement under Ron Paul’s letterhead refuting Bachmann’s assertion that Sorenson had been paid to go.  Sorenson and Enos both say the state senator decided to back Paul because he had many friends on that campaign, and believed he had the best chance of winning.

According to Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart, Enos “is no longer with us,” but she would not confirm whether he’d been fired for insubordination or left on his own accord.

Stewart said Bachmann's campaign’s organization was strong and Bachmann had registered 95 county chairs for caucus night.  She said the Paul campaign went after Sorenson after Bachmann dealt Paul a blow in the last televised debate, hammering him on national security issues.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Perry Campaign Shoots Down Reports of Staff Shakeup

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(DERRY, N.H.) -- Members of the Rick Perry campaign are shooting down reports of a staff shakeup within the team leading the Texas governor’s run for the White House. Ray Sullivan, communications director for Perry, and four other members of the Perry team told ABC News there have been “no staff changes.”

Earlier Tuesday, Politico cited unnamed sources claiming Joe Allbaugh had assumed the role of campaign manager; Tony Fabrizio was becoming chief strategist; and Dave Carney, who has been a top strategist to Perry since he was lieutenant governor, was returning to New Hampshire to lead the campaign’s efforts in the state.

Sullivan noted Allbaugh and Fabrizio were brought onto the campaign in late October along with a number of other strategists, but there have been no changes in titles or management as the Politico story suggests.

Sullivan said Allbaugh, whose official title is “senior advisor,” adopts a role of ensuring “everything’s on time, trains running on the tracks, making sure the schedule is manageable.” Allbaugh was in Iowa in recent weeks and may return in the future.

Despite being in New Hampshire since Thanksgiving, Carney currently remains in his role as a chief strategist. Sullivan said “no one knows New Hampshire better” than Carney and his business partner James McKay, but there are no plans at this time to place Carney permanently in the Granite State.

Rob Johnson, who managed Perry’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign and briefly worked for Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign prior to Perry’s, continues to serve as campaign manager but is beginning to have a more visible presence on the trail. In the past three weeks, he has spent time in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

The entire Perry team will heighten their presence in Iowa after Christmas as they head into the final days of campaigning before the Iowa caucuses.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


White House Releases Staffers' Salaries

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama pays 21 White House staffers the maximum allowable salary, $172,200 a year, the White House disclosed Friday in its annual report of salaries.
These top wage earners include all of those given the assignation “assistant to the president”: chief of staff Bill Daley, national security adviser Tom Donilon, top speechwriter Jon Favreau, counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, senior advisers Valerie Jarrett and David Plouffe, press secretary Jay Carney and communications director Dan Pfeiffer -- whose first name is Howard, the disclosure reveals.
The annual disclosure of salaries is one of the drawbacks of working in government -- imagine your own workplace if such personal data was revealed each year, and you could see your numerical value to your boss.
In November 2010, President Obama, whose annual salary is $400,000, froze the salaries of every staffer making more than $100,000. So the only way for a staffer to get a raise over that threshold is to get a new job, as when deputy press secretary Josh Earnest became, upon the departure of Bill Burton, the principal deputy press secretary.
The president pays his “body man” Reggie Love $102,000, his adviser on faith-based issues Josh Dubois $100,000 and his manufacturing adviser Ron Bloom $163,000.
Press pool “wrangler” Ben Finkenbinder gets to play golf and pickup basketball with the president, but that hasn’t bumped up his salary: he’s one of the lowest paid at $50,000.
But Finkenbinder, who departs the White House Friday to work on the president’s re-election campaign in Chicago, is not the lowest paid.  
Sixty four of the 454 White House staffers, make less than $43,000 a year. Movie actor Kal Penn (actual name: Kalpen Modi) makes $41,000 a year for his work in the office of public liaison, a fraction of the cost of munchies on the set of A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, coming this holiday season to a theater near you.
Two White House advisors, Shale Wong and Jessica Schumer, receive $0 in salary, but are on fellowships sponsored by nonprofit organizations.  A third adviser who receives $0, Patricia McGinnis, works part-time and provides advice on periodic trainings for presidential appointees authorized by Congress.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Two Herman Cain Staffers Resign from Campaign

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- Herman Cain’s New Hampshire campaign director -- and only staffer in the state -- Matt Murphy, has resigned, Cain’s Communications Director Ellen Carmichael has confirmed to ABC News.

According to the Union Leader, Jim Zeiler, a campaign regional director, has also resigned.

Murphy told the Union Leader he resigned last Friday due to strategic differences, noting there was no “ill will” toward the Republican presidential candidate.  

“There was a strategic difference and I left the campaign because of those differences.  The differences involved the New Hampshire strategy and how much investment the campaign should put into New Hampshire,” he told the Union Leader.

Carmichael gave this statement to ABC News regarding Murphy’s departure: “Matt's time at Friends of Herman Cain ended amicably and we are in touch still with him.  We are announcing a new hire in the coming days and we are excited about continuing to expand our operations in New Hampshire and across the U.S.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Press Staff Named for Obama 2012

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Starting next month, former White House assistant press secretary Ben LaBolt will serve as spokesman for President Obama’s re-election campaign.

Former White House associate director of press advance and press pool wrangler Katie Hogan will be his deputy.

LaBolt served as the spokesman for Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel’s campaign.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio ´╗┐


White House Staffing: Daley and Sperling Possible Additions

Photo Courtesy - SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has spoken to Bill Daley, former commerce secretary under Bill Clinton, about becoming White House chief of staff, a senior White House official tells ABC News, though no final decision has been made.

In a separate move, ABC News can confirm that Obama administration official Elizabeth Warren, tasked with setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will this week name Holly Petraeus to a position where she will work to protect military families from predatory lenders. Petraeus is the wife of General David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

Two important conversations the president will have upon his return from vacation are with Pete Rouse, the interim chief of staff, and press secretary Robert Gibbs. It seems likely that both will find themselves working for the president in different capacities in the new year.

The first job decision to be announced will probably be Larry Summer's replacement as director of the National Economic Council. White House insiders believe Treasury official Gene Sperling has the edge over investment banker Roger Altman.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

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