Obama 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, is on his first coast-to-coast swing this week, Politics Daily has learned, to huddle with major donors from President Obama's 2008 presidential campaign about building an organization to bankroll Obama's drive for a second term.
In addition, the grassroots arm of the Democratic National Committee, Organizing for America, is gearing up for 2012 on several fronts, including in a few weeks ramping up an outreach aimed at Latino and African-American small businesses owners in urban areas.
Messina, who wrapped up two years in the White House as deputy chief of staff for operations on Friday, was in San Franciso on Monday, Los Angeles on Tuesday and will be, weather permitting, in New York on Thursday and Boston on Friday. He was scheduled to be in Chicago for meetings on Wednesday, but the monster snow storm forced him to postpone the sessions until the end of the month.
Obama's 2012 campaign headquarters will be in Chicago, and even though a formal kickoff is set for March or April, putting together a fundraising apparatus at this stage is crucial. Traveling with Messina is Democratic National Committee Finance Director Rufus Gifford, who will likely to be the finance director of the 2012 campaign.
Obama may need to raise as much as $1 billion for 2012. Messina is prospecting with donors, not asking for any money; the Obama team has not yet filed papers to create an Obama 2012 organization with the Federal Election Commission. That is expected to take place in the coming days.
In Chicago, Messina was to have met with media mogul Fred Eychaner, a Democratic megadonor; business executive Neil Bluhm, a member of the Obama 2008 National Finance Committee, and Laura Ricketts, one of the Chicago Cubs owners.
In New York, Messina is scheduled for a session at the home of Observatory Group chief Jane Hartley and Evercore chief executive Ralph Schlosstein.
FOOTNOTE: The Democratic National Committee winter meeting is in Washington Feb. 24-26.