A Who's Who Guide to Team Obama

Article excerpt

Barack Obama, The Candidate

With unemployment hovering around 8.6 percent and approval ratings mired in the mid-40s, Obama is embarking on a historically challenging reelection run. He'll need all the help he can get.

David Plouffe, Manager Emeritus

While the whiz kid behind Obama's revolutionary 2008 run now works at the White House, his influence is still felt in Chicago, where tech and organization reign supreme. Consults from D.C. on major decisions.

David Axelrod, Svengali

Obama's longtime message guru and closest political confidant isn't an "official" strategist. But he's at HQ constantly and is the driving force behind the president's increasingly populist rhetoric.

Jim Messina, Campaign Manager

Formerly Obama's top legislative fixer, the hard-driving Messina spent more than a decade running campaigns and Capitol Hill operations for (mostly) red-state Dems. Great qualifications--but he's never helmed a presidential bid.

Julianna Smoot, Fundraising

The well-connected Smoot served as finance director on the 2008 campaign before heading to Washington as social secretary. She returns to the Windy City to oversee the massive cash flow under Messina. …