Archive for March 20th, 2017

20
Mar
17

Chat Away

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20
Mar
17

The Boss In Chief

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Alyssa Mastromonaco: What I Learned From 10 Years Working With Barack Obama

After I became then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama’s adviser/ director of scheduling in late 2004, [chief of staff ] Pete Rouse became my spiritual guide and mentor. Pete had worked on Capitol Hill for about 40 years, many of those as chief of staff to Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, and was known as the “101st senator” and “mayor of Capitol Hill.” There is no one more thoughtful in the way he gives advice. He returns every e-mail, makes every connection, and does it all while being a wheeler and dealer. When we got to the Senate, Possum drafted one of his famous “strategic plans”—lengthy, painfully thorough memos about how to get something done.

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In this case, it was the strategic plan for Senator Obama’s first year, and it could be summed up as “workhorse, not show horse.” It included lots of time with constituents and in Illinois, and less time with D.C. insiders and celebrities. Obama was quite fine with that. Every decision we made had to stand up to the workhorse vs. show horse test. Obama had a political action committee called the Hope Fund that was right down the street from the Hart Senate Office Building. The Hope Fund ran initiatives for getting young adults from diverse backgrounds into community organizing and politics; it also managed Obama’s political engagements

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