Obama recalls key aide to avoid rout in elections

Election supremo to lead embattled Democrat in to vital mid-term elections

Barack Obama has called back the architect of his insurgent campaign for the presidency to take charge of Democrat efforts to avoid a rout in this year's mid-term elections.

Stung by the loss of the Massachusetts Senate seat to Republicans last week, the White House move is part of a broader effort to regain the political agenda and rebuild the reforming coalition that swept Mr Obama to power.

The President had hoped to use his first State of the Union address this week to herald a successful healthcare reform package. But instead, after that key electoral defeat, he will focus on the economy, on the deficit and on demands for change on Wall Street, while still promising to fight for the comprehensive health package that he still hopes to get through Congress.

The appointment of David Plouffe, Mr Obama's presidential campaign manager, may have a more material effect on the future of the party. Mr Plouffe was called to the White House last Tuesday, as it became clear Mr Brown was headed for victory, and told to re-energise the grass-roots movement he assembled via the internet and text messaging.

Although Mr Plouffe has continued to be an informal adviser to the White House, he has spent most of his time writing and promoting a book about the campaign, called The Audacity to Win. His new role overseeing all the Senate, House and gubernatorial races this year gives the White House a powerful advocate inside the party election machine as it gears up for what could be a serious challenge to hold on to majorities in both Houses of Congress.

The White House has played down the idea that Mr Plouffe's expanded influence represented a major shake-up in response to the surprise loss of independent voters in Massachusetts. David Axelrod, the President's chief strategist, said: "We want all our best players on the field for 2010 and he is the best of the best when it comes to marrying strategy and tactics."

Senior Democrats fanned out across the media over the weekend to assert that the victory of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts did not represent a popular uprising against the Obama agenda, but rather was another example of the anti-Washington sentiment that the President tapped in 2008. Mr Brown's campaign capitalised on public discontent and the perception that the healthcare bills before Congress were too big and not central to the task of repairing the economy.

The State of the Union address to Congress on Wednesday will be a chance for President Obama to set out his agenda for the coming year. He has stepped up populist rhetoric against Wall Street and promised to fight for middle-class families on the economy.

And in Mr Plouffe's first public statement as campaign supremo, he had some striking advice to Democrats, "No bed-wetting".

In an article in the Washington Post, he urged party members not to cave in on efforts to pass comprehensive healthcare reform, and also to tout the benefits of last year's $787bn economic stimulus package. "In 2006 and 2008, voters sent an unmistakable message: We want decisive change," he wrote. "This was not just a change of political parties.

"Instead of a government that works for the entitled and special interests, a government that looks out for Wall Street, they wanted a government that works better for them."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
i100
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HE Dyslexia Tutor/Study Skills Tutor P/T

£21 - £22 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: Randstad Education has been help...

Newly Qualified Teachers

£90 - £115 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: We are currently seeking dy...

IT & Business Studies Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: ICT & Business Studies Teacher f...

IT Support Engineer (1st and 2nd Line) - London

£22000 - £24000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer (1st...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?