Barack Obama’s campaign is strongly disputing an Inside Edge report that Seton Hall Law Professor Mark Alexander was fired as their national Policy Director. The campaign announced this week that Alexander was returning to New Jersey to direct Obama’s state operation for the February 5 Democratic presidential primary.
“The post by Wally Edge this morning is completely inaccurate,” said Obama spokesperson Jen Psaki. “We have relocated several senior staffers to key February 5th states, including our Deputy Political Director, our mid-western political director to Missouri, and western field director to California and so on.”
“This is a new phase of the campaign and our focus is on gathering support in the states. Mark will continue to play a role as a key policy advisor, but his roots to New Jersey politics make him best equipped to lead the team,” Psaki said. “We will be opening an office in the state and plan to hold a conference call next week to announce plans. And furthermore, Mark is on our payroll, continues to advise on policy issues so the title of the post is ridiculous.”
But New Jersey Democrats supporting Obama don’t seem to agree with the spin from the national campaign office, suggesting that it is a bit unusual for a campaign to dispatch one of their issues experts to run a state campaign – especially one who has little experience in running ground operations. Those Democrats say that Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Jersey City Mayor (and Hudson County Democratic Chairman) Jerramiah Healy, and Congressman Steven Rothman don’t need Alexander to be in the state full-time.
The other senior staffers referred to in Psaki’s comments are all from the campaign’s political operation. And Psaki mentions twice that Alexander is advising the campaign on policy issues –different than heading the policy shop. That seems like a demotion.