Obama's Chicago-based campaign advisors help president win 2nd term

November 7, 2012 3:18:52 PM PST
The president's re-election was made possible in part by the work of a small, dedicated and close-knit group of advisors.

All are from Chicago. And many have been with the president since his political career began.

Regardless of whom you voted for Tuesday, you have to give credit to the Obama campaign for a hard-fought victory. His team employed skills honed precinct by precinct in Chicago and perfected at the national level. They are a motley crew bonded by battles and grounded in this city.

David Axelrod's old office in Chicago is a museum to races past. His advice has helped local politicians from Harold Washington to Richard M. Daley get elected. But, Wednesday, it is the feat of re-electing Barack Obama that has strangers stopping him on the street and cabbies kissing his hand.

"To finish my career in campaigns with this man in this position is a dream come true," said Axelrod, the Obama campaign's senior advisor.

Axelrod is a former Tribune reporter who teamed up with Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett and a small group of other Chicagoans who continue to comprise Barack Obama's inner-circle.

"There's a roundness to this," said Axelrod. "For me, personally, to start my career with Paul Simon and finish with Barack Obama -- and for a lot of us we've been together since that time."

"That shared experience is a lifetime of friendships that you will never forget," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Mayor Emanuel says the friendships he developed dating back to his days working to elect a young governor named Bill Clinton are among his closest. He says governing, not campaigning, is where political operatives make their mark.

"Those are special moments that you did something with your life, and at some point in life you've left your thumbprint on our larger society," Emanuel said.

White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett has known the Obamas for 21 years, dating back to her days working at Chicago City Hall.

"Let's face it, a lot of Republicans opposed him in Washington," said Jarrett. "That notwithstanding, just look at how much progress we've made."

So what's next for these three Chicagoans?

Rahm Emanuel remains at City Hall, unless of course he gets the itch to run for higher office, which he promises he won't.

David Axelrod will teach at the University of Chicago's newly formed Institute of Politics.

And Valerie Jarrett? She hasn't said if she will stay on in a second term, but no one in the White House is personally or professionally closer to The First Family.

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