Buttigieg adds Obama's 2008 ad-makers to 2020 campaign

Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE bolstered his presidential campaign this week, hiring the advertising firm that directed former President Obama’s paid media efforts in his 2008 campaign. 

Larry Grisolano and John Del Cecato of AKPD Message and Media will join the South Bend, Ind., mayor’s White House bid, Politico reported Wednesday, along with Tyler Law, a former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee national press secretary who handles communications strategy for AKPD.

“All of us at AKPD are excited to be a part of Mayor Pete’s team,” Del Cecato told The Hill in a statement Thursday.


Buttigieg’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Grisolano, who worked with Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE on his 1988 presidential campaign and was the director of paid media for Obama’s 2008 bid, said he had talked to numerous campaigns before deciding to work with Buttigieg.

“I thought about a number of candidates. This is the one that ended up feeling like a right fit for the firm and a sense of what the country is looking for and what we need,” Grisolano told Politico, which was first to report the hire Wednesday.

“He has a voracious appetite for policy, for solutions and for answers,” Grisolano added. “He has a really respectful touch with how he deals with people. And he has a real uplifting, hopeful vision of where he’d like to go. Those are all things that rekindle that excitement when I started paying attention to President Obama’s run.”

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Buttigieg, who was mostly a political unknown a few months ago, has shot to national prominence after a rise in several national and statewide polls and a surge in media coverage. He has since bulked up his campaign staff to help manage fundraising efforts and made additional hires in Iowa and New Hampshire. 

Lis Smith, a top communications aide for Buttigieg, and Stephen Brokaw, the campaign’s national political director, are also Obama campaign alumni.

–Updated at 9:48 a.m.

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