Obama’s Speech Guy Helped Vito Lopez


Jason Horowitz (isn’t he supposed to be in Washington?) has a piece about Obama’s foreign policy speech writer, Ben Rhodes, who kept himself busy with some work… in New York:

From The Washington Post:

In the summer of 2001, a childhood friend, Karl Camillucci, offered Rhodes a summer gig on a New York City Council campaign. The candidate, Diana Reyna was a former aide to Vito Lopez, the boss of the local Democratic machine.

“He put together, you know, some data for us,” Lopez said of Rhodes. “He just sort of assisted.”

Lopez’s legendary ability to micro-target voters from housing project to housing project was a revelation to Rhodes, who saw similar skills in Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. “It’s the same thing as our primary,” Rhodes said. “Understanding where the votes are.”

On Sept. 11, election day, Rhodes was poll-watching on the Williamsburg waterfront in Brooklyn when the planes hit the twin towers. He had an unobstructed view.

“I remember walking around with him on September 12 on the Upper West Side, and you just sort of noted this transformation for him of wanting to become much more engaged in the world,” said Schaeffer. “By the time he graduated he really knew he wanted to do something in Washington.”


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