Chicago Ties Sustain Obama

Key aides, friends go way back in Obama's hometown
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 14, 2008 8:47 AM CDT
Sen. Barack Obama leaves a barber shop after a hair cut Saturday, July 12, 2008, in his Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago.    (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama’s Chicago home base has provided the candidate with a wealth of influential allies who serve him in a variety of ways, from the political to the personal, the Washington Post reports. While some play official campaign roles or are informal advisers, others keep Obama grounded on his beloved basketball court. Either way, they must follow two rules: No drama and no leaks.

There’s Penny Pritzker, Obama’s fundraising chair, a billionaire heiress who provides a link to the Jewish community; David Axelrod, his political adviser and a member of Chicago’s “progressive elite"; and Martin Nesbitt, a city businessman who serves as both campaign treasurer and grounding force for the candidate. Watching Obama’s ascent, his longtime friends are impressed. “You can never be fully prepared for the rigor and the discipline," said one.