Obama campaign chief’s future: Italy, red wine

Olivier Knox
The Ticket

Jim Messina, you just steered an embattled incumbent president to re-election despite a sour economy! Are you going to Disney World?

Pshaw, says the Obama campaign manager. "I'm going to go to Italy and figure out how to become an expert on red wine for a couple of weeks," said Messina, underlining that he was now "a member of the public, in the private sector."

Messina's comments came as he walked briskly out of the White House on Tuesday after labor union and progressive leaders met with President Barack Obama. When asked if he'd seen the president, Messina said only, "Take care, guys."

The visit came as many political observers wonder what will happen to the massive Obama campaign machine that Messina oversaw. After the 2008 campaign, it became the president's grass-roots lobbying apparatus and then morphed back into Obama for America when he formally declared his bid for a second term in early 2011. Campaign aides said last week that the fate of the unprecedented political juggernaut will be decided in "wind-down talks" that have not yet begun.

So, it may just be "Ciao for niao," as no one says, ever.