In an obvious admission that the end is near, President Barack Obama’s friends have launched a planning committee for the official Barack Obama Presidential Library.
The group is fronted by Obama’s former campaign treasurer, Marty Nesbitt; Obama’s fundraiser and deputy re-election campaign manager, Julianna Smoot; and the CEO of PSP Capital Partners, J. Kevin Poorman, a firm started by Penny Pritzker, Obama’s commerce secretary.
Obama apparently tasked Nesbitt with running the foundation last summer.
“The president’s future library will one day serve as an important part of our nation’s historical record, and our mission is to build a library that tells President Obama’s remarkable story in an interactive way that will inspire future generations to become involved in public service,” Nesbitt said in a statement.
In its statement, the library planning group said they intended to foster an “open and accessible” campaign to find a landing spot for the library, an effort they claim is “in line with President Obama’s longstanding commitment to transparency and fairness.”
The group also claimed that it would not accept donations from any organizations other than 501(c)(3)s. Further, the group will not accept donations from foreign citizens, organizations, or their lobbying firms, and all contributions over $200 will be disclosed.
Obama has also pledged not to do any fundraising while he is in office.
On the same day, the University of Chicago was the first to re-affirm its desire to be the home of Obama’s library.
“I strongly believe the Obama Presidential Library would be ideal for one of our neighboring communities on the South Side of Chicago,” University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer said. “Such a location would reflect the personal and professional lives of the Obamas.”
Several universities want to serve as the final resting place of Obama’s papers, but universities do not have a lock on presidential libraries. Both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton chose locations away from colleges.
Other interested parties are the University of Hawaii, Columbia University in New York, the University of Illinois-Chicago, and Chicago State University. Chicago real estate developer Daniel McCaffery has been pushing a site on Chicago’s southwest side, the former site of U.S. Steel.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement that Chicago should offer one proposal to strengthen the city’s chances of being the President’s top choice:
With President Obama’s deep roots here in the city–his hometown and where he launched his public life–Chicago is undeniably a natural fit for the Obama Presidential Library and Museum. Though we’re excited to welcome the President home, we are not resting on our laurels and will put forward a competitive proposal so that his choice is an easy one.