Good Friday morning from Washington, where sledders have become thiswinter’s rebels with a cause and Republicans are preparing their red-meat rhetoric for a weekend in Iowa. President Obama is heading south to talk about the economy, and another big jobs report is coming out. While emails remain the topic of the day in Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s camp, her team is trying to stay focused on the big picture.
As the soon-to-be Clinton presidential campaign continues to take shape, many would-be staff members who live in Washington are scouting out housing in New York City, where her headquarters are likely to be.
But John D. Podesta, the recently departed counselor to President Obama who is expected to play a senior role on the campaign, isn’t one of them.
Mr. Podesta has told several people involved with the campaign-in-waiting that he plans to split his time between the two cities and has no intention of relocating.
His decision is notable because Mr. Podesta is the one to whom many Democrats are looking to provide a steady hand and calming presence for Mrs. Clinton’s hybrid team of Obama and Clinton aides.
His influence with both Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Clinton, is rivaled by few people. Mr. Podesta, who was a chief of staff to Mr. Clinton in the White House, is often described as someone who can be blunt with the two Clintons, and as someone who will play an outsize role in guiding her new effort to keep drama at bay.
Current plans call for him to spend the majority of the workweek in New York City, according to a person who’s spoken with him about his intentions.
Since leaving the White House, Mr. Podesta has been spending time at the offices of the Center for American Progress, the liberal think tank he helped established after the Clinton White House years. He is also teaching a class at the Georgetown University Law Center, a spokeswoman for the think tank confirmed.
When a group of Republican presidential hopefuls descended on Iowa in January for a forum sponsored by Representative Steve King, they essentially had an open microphone to deliver remarks of their choosing.
That will not be the case on Saturday when many of the same likely candidates return to Des Moines for an agricultural summit meeting at the state fairgrounds.
Bruce Rastetter, the wealthy Iowa Republican staging the event, said in an interview that he would ask eight to 10 specific policy questions.
Among the possible topics: immigration, crop insurance, food safety, water regulations, trade, renewable fuels and country of origin labeling.
The candidates, of course, may try to weave their stump speeches into the answers. But they will need to have something to say about corn policy in addition to offering up hunks of rhetorical red meat.
– Jonathan Martin
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