Despite his past denunciations of the “perpetual campaign” – and “political hacks like Karl Rove” – President Barack Obama’s version of change doesn’t include banishing hardball politics from the environs of the Oval Office.
Like presidents before him, Obama has imported pieces of his campaign into the White House, ranging from his own Rove, David Axelrod, to two dozen campaign staffers who will serve as liaisons with agencies. A top Iowa aide, for instance, is moving to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Obama resisted calls to abolish the White House Office of Political Affairs from everyone from his rival Senator John McCain to Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, installing a well-regarded, but low-profile, labor operative, Patrick Gaspard, as his political director.
He’s maintaining a giant, novel permanent campaign, Organizing for America, at the Democratic National Committee. And Obama aides Wednesday hinted that they would exact a cost from Republicans who opposed the stimulus, promising to release local jobs numbers in the districts of GOP members of Congress who voted against the plan.