With little competition from other Democratic presidential contenders, Hillary Clinton has assembled a who?s who of power brokers for her fledgling campaign.
The vast political network contains an important mix ? veteran Clinton allies with intimate knowledge of her strengths and weaknesses, and newcomers from President Barack Obama?s orbit well aware of how he was able to triumph over her in 2008.
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To date, the core staffers have been mostly working on a volunteer basis. They?ve been running communications, holding strategy meetings, and making core hiring decisions while working out of coffee shops, their homes, and by squeezing into Clinton?s small office in midtown Manhattan. They are due to get an upgrade, now that a lease has been signed in Brooklyn Heights for the Clinton campaign headquarters. The more polished apparatus will help Clinton?s advisers as they struggle with not only re-introducing Clinton as an appealing candidate in tune with middle-class priorities, but also containing controversies including her use of a personal email server while she was secretary of state.
Here?s a guide to this cycle?s Clinton power map ? though not a comprehensive list, it?s a look at the most influential players in her 2016 presidential campaign.
? John Podesta, the trusted aide to both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, is campaign chairman. Podesta has had close ties to the Clintons for years: He was former President Bill Clinton?s chief of staff in the White House and later the founder of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank that is home to plenty of Clinton allies, including Neera Tanden, a longtime Hillary Clinton confidante and the president of CAP. Podesta is also well-regarded in Obama?s orbit ? he stepped down earlier this year as counselor to Obama and previously led his 2008 transition team. His presence could help integrate longtime Clinton allies with newer former Obama staffers, and he is often described as the ?adult in the room.?
? Robby Mook, the Democratic operative who steered close Clinton friend and 2016 booster Terry McAuliffe to victory in the 2013 Virginia governor?s race, is campaign manager. Mook, in his mid-30s, is known for a calm, measured demeanor, an aversion to the spotlight and an interest in data. He worked for Clinton?s 2008 presidential bid, helping her win in Nevada, Ohio and Indiana during the Democratic primary, and has also served as executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
? Joel Benenson, who was Obama?s pollster ? and helped him hone his message against Clinton in 2008 ? is on board as Clinton?s chief strategist and pollster.
? John Anzalone and David Binder will work with Benenson as top pollsters; Anzalone may focus on early states. Both are also alums of Obama?s orbit.
? Jim Margolis, who also worked for Obama, serving as a senior adviser to him in 2012, is Clinton?s media adviser. He has also been a consultant for a host of Democratic senators, including outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
? Tony Carrk, formerly of the CAP action fund, is set to direct research.
? Marlon Marshall, an influential Obama White House aide, is expected to be Clinton?s director of state campaigns and political engagement.
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