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Obama shifts political staff out of White House

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By Anne E. Kornblut
Thursday, January 20, 2011; 12:14 PM

With the biggest parts of his staff reshuffling behind him, President Obama has approved some more moves that will launch his re-election campaign, shifting his political director to the Democratic National Committee and sending two key operatives to the headquarters in Chicago.

Obama is effectively shutting down his political affairs office in the White House and moving parts around in order to prepare for his reelection campaign.

The moves, first reported by the New York Times, include moving White House Social Secretary and former campaign finance chair Julianna Smoot and Democratic National Committee executive director Jen O'Malley Dillon to Chicago to serve as deputy campaign managers. Obama long ago settled on Jim Messina, currently a White House deputy chief of staff, as his campaign manager.

Patrick Gaspard, who is now the White House political director, will move to the DNC to assume Dillon's role, a senior administration official said. Political operations at the White House will be consolidated under David Plouffe, the former campaign manager who has recently arrived as senior adviser.

Obama is making a rare move by hosting his reelection headquarters outside of Washington.

Aaron Blake contributed to this report.

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