Sunday 23 July 2017

David Usborne: Quiet man Obama busy working behind scenes

As Republicans scramble to find a presidential candidate, Barack Obama’s team are plotting his re-election from an anonymous office in Chicago

It is in the Prudential Building in downtown Chicago, but we are not allowed to say on what floor. We can tell you that it is bright, with views to the lake and Millennium Park, and, because of all the brain power assembled, it's the sort of place where you'd like your son or daughter to work. Never mind that it has only one product which might have passed its sell-by date, or that whatever happens everyone involved will be out of a job within a year.

Here, across 50,000 square feet of fawn-coloured carpet with row upon row of desks and office chairs (and one blue ping-pong table), are the people -- about 200 so far -- whose job it is to bring Barack Obama back for a second term. Some have been at it since last April, even though the election is not until November.

The first surprise may be that his re-election team are here rather than in Washington. Chicago is where Mr Obama sprang from to become a US senator and where his 2008 campaign, first against Hillary Clinton in the primaries and then John McCain, was based.

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