Magical. Mysterious. Scary. All those adjectives to the Bostonian named Michael Whouley, probably the most famous, least-attention seeking and most-regarded political organizer of his generation. If there is a vote to be gotten, he is the best getter.
According to a campaign official, Mr. Whouley has been brought in an as extra set of eyes for the Clinton campaign. He's finishing a review of the campaign's New Hampshire field operation at the moment.
So far, so good: Whouley apparently likes what he sees.
Fieldwise, Clinton's top generals are in Iowa. And it is perhaps a sign of confidence -- or a gesture meant to be interpreted as a sign of confidence -- that Mr. Whouley has not been asked to take a gander at the campaign's Iowa operation. (Yet.)
David Barnhardt and Karen Hicks, both Whouley protege, helped design the campaign's sophisticated turnout program, he as caucus director and she as the planner. And then there is Clinton's Iowa state director, the extremely well-regarded Theresa Vilmain, whose legend in the Democratic world is eclipsed only by Mr. Whouley's (and, perhaps, by Steve Hildebrand, a deputy campaign manager for Obama who now lives at a Des Moines hotel.)
Clinton's national political director, Guy Cecil, a younger, less bald, less profane version of Whouley, is in New Hampshire, and his supervision of a field organization put together by state director Nick Clemons, apparently passed Whouley's bow-to-stern inspection.
In 1992, Whouley served as national field director for the Clinton-Gore ticket.
In 2000, Whouley is credited with forcing Gore to engage in more retail policking, a decision that helped to save his campaign in New Hampshire against Bill Bradley.
In 2004, he helped John Kerry turn around his fortunes in Iowa. He was Kerry's annointed field czar in the general election, and, horrors, actually found himself conducting telephonic phone briefings with the press.
In 2007, he waited for Kerry to decide whether to run; when Kerry did not, he privately agreed to help the Clinton campaign.
(Note: the Page reported on 12/14 that Whouley was a secret "conscript" in Clinton's army.)
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