Today Politico has a headline claiming "Obama presidential library campaign begins." If you read the article, however, there is nothing in it about any effort actually having begun on a presidential library campaign by President Obama -- or anyone else for that matter. What it does contain is lots of speculation about and discussion of what the issues involved in such an effort would be. Here's an excerpt:
President Barack Obama’s next campaign is about to begin.
Even though his second inauguration is still weeks away, the work of his presidential library starts soon: Libraries take years of planning and decisions by the president and his inner circle, from choosing a location, to picking achievements to highlight. It’s a chance for Obama to begin shaping his legacy, and has in the past been an increasingly large priority during presidents’ second terms.
But it requires the kind of personal fundraising that Obama clearly dislikes, full of potential pitfalls that led his predecessors into trouble.
Add more complications for Obama: He’ll have to decide whether to build the library in his birthplace of Hawaii or his adopted hometown of Chicago and possibly raise funds for a presence in both. Even for one, he could need to raise close to $500 million. Though much of the work will be done by a circle of close friends who will begin mobilizing in the coming months — including one longtime friend of the first lady already starting to make way for the library to be associated with the University of Chicago — much of the fundraising is going to come down to Obama himself.
“It’s like a third-term contribution,” said Skip Rutherford, a longtime friend of Bill Clinton who was involved in the planning for the library in Little Rock. “These are the friends and associates and supporters of a particular president, and they all want attention from him.”
Clinton’s library cost $165 million and George W. Bush has brought in more than $300 million for his library, due to open next year. But Obama will need to raise even more since Congress has hiked endowment requirements for future libraries to at least 60 percent of the cost of construction.
Presidential libraries are constructed and endowed with private funds, before being handed over to the National Archives. Federal employees staff the facilities, which include archives, museums and presidents’ final resting places. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to oversee a library being built, and putting one together has become an assumed part of serving in the White House.
Even before the President was reelected, there were articles about the competition between Honolulu and Chicago for the location of a future Obama Presidential Library. Not surprisingly, Politico ran one of those articles: Hawaii waging campaign for Obama library. At least that article included this line:
Of course, Obama is thoroughly focused on finishing his first term and winning his reelection campaign this year. There is no indication the president has even thought about where he would like to house his papers at this point, but people with a stake in the issue have been considering the matter for years.
I suspect the President is still totally focused on things other than his library, but now that Politico has misleadingly claimed otherwise, I am sure we will start hearing criticism of him on this issue soon.