CNN: Obama Deputy Campaign Mgr. Jen O'Malley Dillon to Lead O'Rourke's 2020 Effort; More Obama Staffers to Follow
This news is breaking over at CNN as of late last night...
Beto O’Rourke set to hire ex-Obama aide Jen O’Malley Dillon to run campaign
11:00 PM, Thursday, March 21st, 2019
A week after launching his presidential bid, Beto O’Rourke is poised to hire veteran Democratic strategist Jen O’Malley Dillon to lead his campaign, officials familiar with the discussions told CNN, a move that puts a former top aide to President Barack Obama at the helm of the O’Rourke campaign.
O’Malley Dillon, a deputy campaign manager for Obama’s re-election effort in 2012, met with O’Rourke earlier this month in Texas before he jumped into the race. Since then, the campaign raised more than $6 million on its first day and the former congressman from Texas embarked on a tour of a half-dozen states.
O’Malley Dillon, who is seen as one of the party’s sharpest data experts, had been planning to head a new data exchange operation for Democrats. The effort was designed to help the party overcome its deficit with Republicans on using voter data to identify supporters and drive turnout.
But she decided this week to work for the O’Rourke campaign instead, people familiar with the matter say, a fast-growing operation that is attracting the support and advice of several former Obama advisers.
At the Charlotte airport en route to South Carolina, O’Rourke declined to comment Thursday night when asked about O’Malley Dillon becoming his campaign manager.
“Just not prepared to talk about our campaign team. Hope to be able to talk about our team soon,” he said.
O’Malley Dillon did not respond immediately to a request for comment...
More from CNN, from a week ago...
Beto O'Rourke in talks with veteran Democratic strategist to become campaign manager
By Eric Bradner and Jeff Zeleny, CNN
Updated 6:38 PM ET, Sun March 17, 2019
(CNN) Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke is in discussions with veteran Democratic strategist Jen O'Malley Dillon to become his campaign manager, a source familiar with the discussions told CNN...
...Beto O'Rourke's launch: Big promises, apologies and unanswered questions
O'Rourke and O'Malley Dillon met at South by Southwest to discuss the role last Saturday, aides tell CNN, and they talked about the possibility of her joining the campaign in a subsequent call. She remains uncertain about the role, a source said, but is likely to decide this week...
...O'Malley Dillon was the deputy campaign manager of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign and a top political consultant for Justin Trudeau in Canada. She is also a former executive director of the Democratic National Committee and recently agreed to lead a new Democratic data exchange operation...
Per the bold-type sentence in the last block quote, immediately above, O'Malley, prior to starting her own business just a few years ago, was the quintessential Democratic Party insider. However, without question, she's one of the most highly respected political p.r./strategy consultants in the industry, right now. Her firm includes companies such as Facebook and GE on their client roster. But, also without question is the fact that she's going to have her hands full on this effort, assuming CNN's latest scoop is accurate.
The truth of the matter is that--much like other leading Democratic Party presidential candidates of recent elections past--the centrist, New Democrat/neoliberal O'Rourke is downright squirrely on many of his issues positions. What plays well, politically, in Texas doesn't necessarily flush elsewhere...
O'Rourke at SXSW, campaigning for Senate in 2018 (just a couple of weeks over a year ago, to the week)...GO TO 26:30 on the video, and listen for a few minutes...
O'Rourke campaigning in Ohio, earlier this week...
(IMPORTANT NOTE: There are approximately 5,000,000 AR-15s out on the streets in the U.S., today. Essentially, the U.S. market is already saturated with 'em. So, where does Beto stand on this issue, today? See immediately below...)
Beto O'Rourke Does NOT Want to Take Away Your AR-15!
Tue, Mar 19, 2019 at 11:06 AM
The joke at Gino's Cento Anno, a blue-collar dive on the south and windward side of Cleveland's industrial valley where Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke made a pit stop Tuesday, was that two hours before his scheduled arrival, the TVs were all playing Fox News. By 3:30 p.m., the planned start time for O'Rourke's remarks, they'd been switched to CNN. And by 4:00 p.m., right before the erstwhile punk rocker and Texas Senate candidate began to gesticulate before a jam-packed crowd, they'd been tuned to MSNBC.
[GOP's STEVE KING SHARES MEME OF MODERN-DAY CIVIL WAR], the chyron read, as Beto was welcomed by Cuyahoga County Democratic Chair Shontel Brown. Hopped-up members of the crowd, chanting "BAY-to, BAY-to, BAY-to," were coaxed by frantic, Patagonia-vested campaign volunteers to please chant "BEH-to, BEH-to, BEH-to."
"They keep moving to the Left," a wisecracking cameraman observed above the din, nodding to the TVs.
Beto's political movement is less clear, in large part because his initial position is still somewhat vague. But in a high-energy campaign speech framed as an in-person introduction to local voters, and in answers to questions from the crowd, he presented much as he did on the Texas trail: an "authentic" charismatic Gen-Xer who absolutely loves Rock 'n' Roll and wants to make America a better place. O'Rourke spent 20 minutes earlier in the day at the Rock Hall, in fact, and opened his speech with a celebration of the ingenuity of America's musicians.
No one could argue with the things this tall, lean man said he wanted: affordable trips to the Doctor for everybody; a fairer criminal justice system; humane immigration policies that welcome refugees and don't lock children up in cages; a belief in science (!) and the need for bold action on climate change, etc.
But the criticism from the Left that O'Rourke is a bit of a nothingburger — "neither a bold progressive nor a distinguished legislator" — was difficult to dispel on first blush. He advocated for very few specific policies, though he did gesture toward the full legalization of marijuana and a bunch of stuff concerning "the VA," and in many areas where Democratic candidates have staked out aggressive progressive positions, he proposed what might be deemed "pragmatic" lesser measures.
On gun control, for example, speaking to a cohort of Moms Demand Action attendees in their trademark red shirts, O'Rourke said he wanted universal background checks — obvs — but then said something extremely weird and contradictory.
He talked about what a bad idea it is to have military-grade assault weapons in our communities. These are weapons, he said, that "could blow a hole out of your back so large, destroy the insides of your systems so much, that you'll bleed to death before [a doctor] can save your life."
O'Rourke warned the crowd that what he was about to espouse was a "much more difficult" issue than something palatable like universal background checks. It was this: "If you own an AR-15, I don't want to take it from you. Keep it. Use it responsibly. All I'm saying is that we don't need to sell any more of them in our communities."
O'Rourke's from Texas, "a responsible, proud gun-owning state." And he said there's "nothing wrong with" gun ownership for hunting, collecting, etc. "In fact, there's so much right with the way we take that responsibility seriously." And yet, what a lame non-stance. It's no surprise that "use your assault weapons responsibly" didn't quite generate the same applause as, "I believe in a woman's right to choose." And why would it? He'd just spent an impassioned minute-and-a-half talking about what a senseless and irresponsible death-machine an AR-15 is...
Again, there are 5,000,000 AR-15s in the United States, alone! So, what does Beto do? Apparently, Beto just keeps smooth-talking out of both sides of his mouth. In his neoliberal mindset, it's OK to leave 5,000,000 AR-15s out on America's streets.
Doubling down, O'Rourke keeps galloping straight up the center-right side of the political spectrum on most issues in his current stump speech, demonstrating his vapid political con as it relates to matters vitally critical to U.S. voters this election cycle...
...On health care, he doesn't want Medicare for All, necessarily. He just wants it to be a bit more affordable, maybe by putting the Medicare option on the public exchanges for people who don't have, or aren't happy with, their employer insurance. On college affordability, he doesn't want free public college, necessarily. He wants to refinance student loans at lower rates.
When asked about the structure of the Supreme Court, he literally threw out a few rhetorical questions — Do we let an equal number of current Democratic and Republican justices select new members? Do we expand the body? Do we impose term limits? — and said he was partial to the option (term limits) that had generated the most applause.
But the Gino's crowd was largely receptive. (What he proposed would be improvements!) The chatter among attendees before Beto arrived, though, seemed to describe curiosity more than ardent support. Given the current occupant of the White House, local Democratic voters are ready to be energized by national politics. And honestly only upon review did the candidate's wishy-washy positions become clearer (other than the AR-15 comment, which was instantly a head-scratcher). In the moment, and in the excitement of the crowd, he sounded courageous and idealistic and hoarse from the fervor of his beliefs. He was a handsome, sweating politician in peak physical shape who had no qualms whatsoever about repeatedly name-dropping Sherrod Brown for the Cleveland crowd. And people were enjoying themselves.
Even the Gino's regulars, even the blue-collar Cuyahoga County "Democrats" who prefer Fox News, sipped their domestics approvingly now and again...
Beto's style's about a decade late--younger voters are far beyond this 2008 con--but he sure as hell doesn't look like he'll be a dollar short. It's no wonder Obama staffers are flocking to him.
Perhaps more germane to the matter is the reality that, just a few days after O'Rourke announced his candidacy, the most recent public poll (Emerson) of leading 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidates shows Beto as the only "leading Democratic candidate" (the Emerson poll also includes match-ups versus Trump, among other leading Democratic candidates, including: Biden, Harris, Sanders and Warren) to not come out on top in a head-to-head race against the guy with the orange hair (and face), currently residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. (Granted, given the Emerson poll's margin of error, it's quite the neck-and-neck horse race, at the moment; and, chances are no "horse" will lead from start to finish; never mind the fact that they're just coming out of the gate.) But, of course, a LOT could--and will--transpire between now and the second-half of 2020....
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