Plouffe, Obama’s former campaign manager, will be taking on an expanded role as an outside political adviser to the White House, the Washington Post reported Saturday. Plouffe’s increased role in advising the White House political operation comes in the wake of Democrats’ stunning loss last week in a Massachusetts special Senate election which deprived Obama’s party of the filibuster-proof supermajority it previously held in the Senate. The loss of a crucial 60th vote in the Senate has immediately deprived Democrats of the support necessary to pass a health care reform bill, Obama’s top domestic agenda item of the past year, and has likewise called into question some of Obama’s other ambitious plans including a cap-and-trade energy bill and financial regulatory reform.
Asked whether the White House’s decision to bring in Plouffe suggested that he had not done enough, Sen. Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said Sunday that he welcomed Plouffe.
“We welcome the White House beefing up their political operation in a volatile political atmosphere,” Menendez told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
“Clearly, we did everything we could in Massachusetts,” Menendez also told King, defending his committee’s work in support of Martha Coakley’s failed campaign.
“I think the big take-away from Massachusetts, however, is that, in fact, there is enormous economic angst in the country. . . . And that economic angst came out to play in this election. It is something that I expect the president to deal with in his State of the Union speech and something we will deal with as a jobs package.”