When she rolls out her likely Democrat presidential campaign in full, Hillary Clinton is expected to have a powerful Democrat operative on her side — one with experience and a competitive streak that could offer both verve and discipline for a second White House bid, The New York Times reports
In John Podesta, Clinton would have a focused campaign chief who is at the top of his class, top Democrats told the Times.
"Perhaps no other unelected Democrat has shaped his party as much over the last two decades," wrote the Times' Peter Baker of Podesta's skill, which he asserts will be needed to circle her family wagon, navigate its political history and create a fresh message that sidesteps any missteps of her failed 2008 run.
Podesta, 66, served as Bill Clinton's chief of staff and just recently left the Obama White House to move his efforts to Hillary Clinton's primary campaign. While he has held no elected office, Podesta has earned plaudits within his party as a guy whose organizational skills and fearlessness in politics will stand her in good stead, the Times said, describing him in a headline as a "right hand with a punch."
"He believes in and uses power in a way that many Democrats are too pusillanimous to do," said his friend and former White House aid Paul Begala to the Times.
"He's not afraid to use power, and ruthlessly if necessary. I think he's as good a political guy as I've ever seen. He's the real thing," said Begala.
Another longtime Democrat operative and Clinton adviser, Harold Ickes, said of the Podesta-Clinton confab: "When John speaks, both longtime Clinton supporters like me and people new to the circle will know that he's speaking for her. That's very important. That didn't happen in 2008, with some of the resulting consequences."
Podesta raised some eyebrows last week with a tweet about his side interest, UFOs, The Washington Post reported
: "1. Finally, my biggest failure of 2014: Once again not securing the #disclosure of the UFO files. #thetruthisstilloutthere cc: @NYTimesDowd."
As he moves to enter the Clinton campaign fray, already some, including former Obama adviser David Axelrod, are urging Podesta to quickly get her organizational structure in place.
"John Podesta has to get control of the Clinton operation. And I think that's part of his job over there," Axelrod noted on MSNBC's "Hardball"
as infighting over her early fundraising efforts had grabbed headlines.
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