WASHINGTON â€“â€“ President Barack Obama, as expected, has chosen Chicago as the headquarters for his 2012 re-election campaign, an official said Thursday.
The announcement came on the two-year anniversary of Obamaâ€™s inauguration.
The campaign headquarters is to open in the spring, according to the Obama campaign official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Chicago is Obamaâ€™s adopted hometown and the first ladyâ€™s actual one.
Obamaâ€™s 2008 presidential bid was based in Chicago. The news came as senior adviser David Axelrod prepared to leave the White House and return to Chicago soon after the presidentâ€™s State of the Union speech on Tuesday in order to spearhead the re-election bid.
As recently as late last month, White House officials said Obama had not decided where to locate his re-election headquarters. Observers, though, fully expected Chicago. The decision bucks recent history.
Every two-term president in the last 30 years â€“â€“ George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan â€“â€“ set up their re-election campaign offices near the White House or in suburban Virginia.
Observers said a key factor in Chicagoâ€™s favor is the anti-Washington climate that has swept the country. Another is the insurgency candidacy anticipated from Obamaâ€™s rivals, who are expected to make the case that the times are bad, the nationâ€™s capital is broken, Obama has been captured by Washington â€“â€“ and they offer voters an alternative.
Running the re-election effort out of Chicago wonâ€™t stop those arguments, but it could blunt them. A Chicago base offers plenty of advantages: The city is loaded with longtime loyalists, many with fundraising muscle.
Itâ€™s within striking distance of battleground states Obama must court: Iowa, Ohio, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.