David Plouffe, the political strategist who managed Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, is taking on an expanded role as an outside adviser to the White House, a move that comes amid a series of legislative and electoral setbacks for Obama and his party.
Administration officials cast the move as a natural stepping-up of Plouffe’s involvement after a planned hiatus in which he wrote a memoir about his experiences on the campaign. But the timing of his arrival — less than a week after a stunning loss in Massachusetts cost Democrats their filibuster-proof Senate majority in a state considered among the most favourable to their party in the country — signaled an important shift as Democrats brace for what are expected to be difficult midterm elections.
White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer acknowledged that the administration is “operating in a challenging political environment” and that the addition of Plouffe is aimed at putting “all the best players on the field.”
Plouffe will become the administration’s lead political liaison operating outside the White House, with responsibility for coordinating efforts on House, Senate and gubernatorial races.