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Obama agenda: WH ramps up for '12

Politico's Allen on the White House's ramping up of the president's re-election bid: "President Barack Obama's top advisers are quietly laying the groundwork for the 2012 reelection campaign, which is likely to be run out of Chicago and managed by White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, according to Democrats familiar with the discussions. The planning for now consists entirely of private conversations, with Obama aides at all levels indulging occasionally in closed-door 2012 discussions while focusing ferociously on the midterm elections and health care reform, the Democratic sources said. 'The gathering storm is the 2010 elections,' one top official said. But the sources said Obama has given every sign of planning to run again, and wants the next campaign to resemble the highly successful 2008 effort."

On the team: David Axelrod may leave the White House, and return to Chicago to focus on 2012; David Plouffe, called "the father of all this" will be a key figure, but perhaps as an "outside adviser;" Anita Dunn is also very involved and perhaps coming on board as the campaign's communications director could be Brad Woodhouse, now heading communications at the Democratic National Committee. "White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett are likely to remain at the president's side in Washington, while exercising major influence over the campaign," Allen writes. On timing, the campaign is likely to launch in just over a year from now: "President Bill Clinton opened his second presidential campaign in the March after his first midterm congressional elections, and President George W. Bush opened Bush-Cheney '04 a month later in the political cycle."

The New York Times: "Ever since his days as a young community organizer in Chicago, Mr. Obama has held fast to the belief that by listening carefully and appealing to reason he can bring people together to get results, an approach that in Washington has often come up short. He is not showing any signs of changing his style. But he is facing perhaps the toughest test yet of his powers of persuasion: winning the votes he needs, in the face of unified Republican opposition and a deteriorating climate for Democrats, to push his health care measure through a skittish Congress." 

The New York Times' Leonhardt also previews Thursday's health-care summit.

The New York Daily News calls Thursday's summit "political theatre": "Few observers think there's a shot at bipartisanship erupting at the President's health summit on Thursday. But showmanship? Count on it."