Obama’s Campaign Manager Draws 180 to Rally

By Diego Ruiz

Proclaiming that Mac students could be part of “the biggest grassroots political movement in American history,” Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign manager and former deputy chief of staff Jim Messina addressed over 180 people at a rally in the Weyerhauser Boardroom on Wednesday. “I came here to ask you to give me your next 257 days,” said Messina, referring to the amount of time until the 2012 presidential election. Messina’s visit to campus was part of a larger organizing and fundraising tour through Minnesota. In addition to calls for students to become involved in the presidential campaign, Messina told humorous stories about his trajectory in the Obama campaign and administration. Joining Messina was Mac-Groveland’s House Representative Betty McCollum and Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, who said that Macalester was “one of the first campuses to get behind Barack Obama.” The campaign is hoping to recapture the energy at college campuses like Macalester that it saw in 2008. “Of the six places [Messina] went to [in Minnesota], two of them were colleges,” said Lydia Lippold-Gelb ’14, the principal organizer of the event. “This campaign wants to engage students and wants to get us involved now.” Although Obama won Minnesota in 2008 by 10 percent, Lippold-Gelb said that Minnesota is “a swing state in its own way,” citing recent narrow state-wide elections for senate and governor. Lippold-Gelb, an organizing intern for the Obama campaign, said she learned an event would happen on campus with a week’s notice. After planning an event for the John B. Davis lecture hall, campaign headquarters requested that the event be shifted to a smaller venue that would fill up. The location was changed to the Weyerhauser Boardroom on Monday. Lippold-Gelb said the campaign hopes to hold a youth summit of students from around the Twin Cities, and is also planning “educational events about what the Obama administration has accomplished and how it has impacted students.” refresh –>