October 19, 2008

BECAUSE SOMEONE HAS TO POLISH THE UNICORN'S HORN:

'Mystery' man lends support to Obama (KENNETH P. VOGEL, 10/19/08, Politico)

He's the star of bulletins chronicling Barack Obama's movements, one of only a few nonrelatives to consistently get time with the Democratic candidate for president and a trusted confidant who has shared some of the most pivotal moments of Obama's career with him.

Yet journalists who have followed Obama's campaign for the better part of two years don't know what he looks like, staffers who have logged countless hours traveling with Team Obama didn't even know he works for the campaign and there's never been a story in a major media outlet about him.

He is Michael Signator, an aide and buddy of the man who — according to polls — stands a better-than-50-50 shot of becoming the next president of the United States of America.

Technically, Signator's job is to provide "supplemental security support" for Obama's presidential campaign and also to coordinate the Obama family's personal and campaign schedules, according to Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt.

A police officer in a suburban Chicago town, Signator met Obama while volunteering for his 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, which eventually hired him as Obama's driver.

For security reasons , Obama's presidential campaign refuses to reveal the details of Signator's role, but LaBolt said it brings Signator into frequent, close contact with the Obamas. [...]

Reached by telephone, he declined to comment on his relationship with Obama and his family, and asked how Politico obtained his telephone number. He directed inquiries to the Obama campaign press office and explained, "I can't do any type of interview at all. I apologize. I'm sorry, and please just disregard this phone number, because I can't take any calls."

The campaign press staff — which at first denied that Signator worked for the campaign, then discouraged Politico from writing about him — declined to set up an interview.

That leaves public records and the protective pool reports — written by journalists tapped from the traveling press contingent to follow Obama during all non-campaign-related activities and report back to their colleagues on the typically mundane details — to piece together a picture of Signator and his place in Obama World.


Back in 1985, I was the Reagan Republican body man for the Atari Democrat (remember that term?) candidate for governor of NJ. The job is a peculiar combination of dogsbody, protector, and whatever else the politician in question chooses to make it. Our campaign had a shoestring budget so I was basically a traveling advance man, press liaison, weekend driver and security, etc. The main qualification for the job though is that the body himself and his spouse like and trust you, so I don't blame this guy for being so reticent.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 19, 2008 10:31 PM
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