The Obamasphere: Political Allies

by Editorial

harry-reidHARRY REID
The Senate majority leader developed a reputation for sparring with President Bush and Senate Republicans after he assumed the party’s leadership in 2005. As a member of the Obama’s own party, this former Nevada gaming commissioner and convert to Mormonism is poised to play a pivotal role in advancing the president’s legislative agenda.

patrick-kennedyPATRICK KENNEDY
The youngest member of the Kennedy clan to currently hold elected office joined his father, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and his cousin, Caroline Kennedy, in endorsing Obama during a rally at American University in early 2008. The Rhode Island congressman has championed health care legislation, particularly mental health.

adrian-fentyADRIAN FENTY
Washington’s popular young mayor supported Obama in the primary and was at his side campaigning in the District, even lunching with him at the venerable diner, Ben’s Chili Bowl. Like the president, Fenty is a “BlackBerry” aficionado, known for carrying three of the devices at all times, one of which connects him directly to D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier.

george-millerGEORGE MILLER
After more than 30 years in the House, Miller has earned a reputation as an expert in education issues and a champion of U.S. humanitarian efforts. In early 2007, he became one of the first members of Congress, as well as one of the first super-delegates, to endorse Obama over Hillary Clinton, despite his constituents’ majority support for Clinton.

nancy-pelosiNANCY PELOSI
Many believe the Speaker’s tacit support for Obama over Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary was a crucial vote of confidence for the young senator. Since assuming leadership of the 110th Congress, Pelosi has shown grit and political talent, but her legislative agenda appears be more progressive than the President’s.

Despite withdrawing his candidacy for the top job at the commerce department after questions arose about an unrelated matter, the New Mexico governor remains a Democratic Party heavyweight, and his breadth of experience will still be useful to the Obama administration, albeit in an unofficial capacity.

bill-clintonBILL CLINTON
Although no official position has been handed to the 42nd president, he hopes to be a “helpful sounding board” for Hillary as she takes on the job of secretary of state. Since leaving the White House, Clinton continues to comment on contemporary politics throughout the world, and assisted the political campaigns of both his wife and the president.

al-goreAL GORE
The former VP and environmental champion kept a low profile during the campaign—though he enthusiastically endorsed Obama in June—focusing his attention on his Alliance for Climate Protection. The Nobel Peace Prize recipient is also co-founder and chair of Generation Investment Management and Current TV.

dickdurbinDICK DURBIN
This senior senator from Illinois has been called Obama’s political ‘godfather’, a reference to his unwavering support and encouragement. Currently majority whip, Durbin is credited with launching an online petition in ’06 to encourage Obama to run for president, the same year Time named him as one of  “10 Best Senators.”

harold-fordHAROLD FORD
The former Tennessee congressman and Blue Dog Democrat led the relatively conservative Democratic Leadership Council, and appeared as a frequent political commentator. Ford remained neutral through much of the primary campaign, before ultimately backing Obama. Expect another Senate run.

kathleen-sebeliusKATHLEEN SEBELIUS
One of the country’s most popular governors, this Kansan  reduced debt without raising taxes, endorsed Obama early, and proved that conservative  states can be successfuly led by Democratic governors. A rising star in the party, speculation abounds as to her political aspirations.

williammdaleyWILLIAM DALEY
Along with his brother, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, this former secretary of commerce and Democratic Party elder leads an influential Illinois-based political dynasty, which backed Obama from day one. Rumored to have gubernatorial ambitions for 2010, Daley can count on the support of his six elder siblings.

caroline-kennedyCAROLINE KENNEDY
JFK’s daughter endorsed a non-family member for the first time ever in her New York Times Op-Ed, “A President Like My Father,” and helped secure the endorsement of her uncle, Sen. Ted Kennedy, for Obama. Caroline Kennedy appears ready to make her own political waves in the new administration, while adjusting well to higher levels of media scrutiny.

john-kerryJOHN KERRY
The newly re-elected senator and early Obama supporter is in line to head the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where global warming will reportedly be a top priority under his leadership. After false speculation that Kerry would join the Cabinet, the Mass. legislator will preside over Sen. Clinton’s confirmation hearings this spring.

patrick_murphyPATRICK MURPHY
This moderate Pennsylvania Democrat is currently the only Iraq war vet in Congress, where his criticism of Bush’s policies helped break the taboo against questioning an administration at war. The Bronze Star recipient was also an early Obama supporter, and his endorsement challenged a perception that vets would gravitate towards  fellow veteran John McCain.

timkaineTIM KAINE
Virginia’s governor was instrumental in shifting his state from red to purple on the political map, and was one of Obama’s key southern allies from day one. Initially considered for vice president, some say the president initially preferred Kaine, until advisors warned him against running with a relative newcomer.

patrick_devalDEVAL PATRICK
The first African-American governor of Massachusetts shares deep ideological bonds with the president, so much so that they’ve acknowledged sharing speech lines. Adding to the synergy is the fact that they’ve also run successful campaigns under the guidance of campaign manager David Axelrod.

claire-mccaskillCLAIRE MCCASKILL
Floated as a potential running mate during the campaign, the freshman senator from Missouri endorsed Obama while most of her female colleagues were backing Hillary Clinton. As an informal advisor, she helped him pull in the women’s vote, and advised him to campaign in rural, conservative areas.

jennifer-granholmJENNIFER GRANHOLM
Michigan’s governor helped to ultimately deliver the state for Obama by supporting him early on, when the majority of her constituents backed Hillary Clinton. Proving that “being Sarah Palin” wasn’t just the work of Tina Fey, Governor Granholm played the role of the Alaskan VP candidate during Joe Biden’s practice debates.

richard-lugarRICHARD LUGAR
One of Obama’s biggest and earliest foreign policy supporters (when the then-candidate didn’t have very many), Lugar is the seniormost Republican senator in the 111th Congress, following the retirement of Pete Domenici and the defeat of Ted Stevens.

mark-warnerMARK WARNER
The former Virginia governor endorsed Obama early while running for office himself in Virginia, and was, for a time, considered a veep contender. Going forward, Senator Warner will be an important southern ally from the newly minted purple state.

jon-corzineJON CORZINE
This former Goldman Sachs chairman and current New Jersey governor worked to pass legislation against corporate malfeasance during his years in the Senate by  agressively pursuing executives of  Enron, Tyco, and WorldCom after their companies failed.

A member of one of America’s wealthiest families, the founder and current chair of Classic Residence by Hyatt served as national finance chair of Obama’s presidential campaign. Pritzker has donated nearly half a million dollars to political campaigns and PACs since 2000, and wields broad power in Democratic political circles.

jack-reedJACK REED
The former paratrooper and senior senator from Rhode Island’s name was floated as a possible running mate for Obama. In 2002, he was one of 22 Senate Democrats who voted against the use of force in Iraq and he traveled to the Middle East with Obama in 2008.

Next up: Washington Supporters

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