Jan 8, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Landrieu to join Biden's campaign as national co-chair

Mitch Landrieu. Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Mitch Landrieu, the former New Orleans mayor who has been helping President Biden implement his $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, is leaving the White House to be a national co-chair of the Biden-Harris campaign, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Landrieu will take his fingertip feel for the president's brand and accomplishments to a campaign that is struggling to convince voters that Biden's policies are improving their lives.

  • The scion of a Louisiana political family, Landrieu will help advise the campaign while also selling Biden's legislative achievements across the country and serving as a high-profile surrogate on television.

Zoom in: Landrieu's move comes as many leading Democrats are expressing concern that Biden's campaign isn't moving urgently enough to counter the threat that Donald Trump could be reelected president.

  • Landrieu also brings the campaign a deep understanding of the internal dynamics at the White House, which could help him coordinate work and messaging between the West Wing and the campaign's headquarters in Wilmington, Del.
  • He will leave the White House at the end of the week and join the campaign in the coming weeks, according to people familiar with the matter.

What they're saying: "Mitch has always known that the real measure of success is not about scoring partisan points — it's about building bridges, and fixing the problem at hand," President Biden said in a statement.

  • "I offer my deepest gratitude to Mitch for his leadership and for his decades of service to the American people," he said.
  • I'm thrilled that he'll be joining our team as a co-chair and key voice for our campaign as we continue this fight," said Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Biden's campaign manager.
  • "Mitch has been a key leader in the Biden-Harris administration's work to build a more fair and more free America," she said.

The big picture: Across the country, Democrats are grumbling that Biden's campaign and the White House need to be more fully aligned to defeat Trump.

  • Those arm-chair campaign quarterbacks include former President Obama, who reportedly told Biden that he needs to hire a political operative like David Plouffe, Obama's 2008 campaign manager, to help coordinate the efforts inside the West Wing and the campaign's offices in Delaware.
  • On Sunday, a Biden official insisted that Biden and Obama were "aligned" on the direction of the president's reelection campaign.
  • "We're gonna continue to do what we need to do in order to be competitive and in order to make sure we're growing the infrastructure that we need to win," Quentin Fulks, Biden's principal deputy campaign manager, said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

What we're hearing: Landrieu's move isn't a sign of Biden caving to the outside calls to bring in a Plouffe-like maestro.

  • For one, Landrieu is more politician than tactician.
  • Second, Landrieu has been looking to leave the administration since the fall. In early November, NBC news reported that he planned to leave at the end of the year.

Between the lines: Landrieu has one qualification that many other Biden advisers lack: He has faced voters with his own name on the ballot — and won.

  • That experience gives Landrieu standing with Biden, who values the advice of current and former elected officials.

Go deeper: Behind the Curtain: Why Obama, Dems fear Biden complacency

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a statement from President Biden.

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