Obama setting up campaign offices in GOP primary states

No office space has yet been rented. No committee has been formed. No official announcement date has been locked down. But by sometime next month, the president’s team is likely to be a functioning, legal entity with a plan.

That should send a message to potential Republican candidates, who have spent the winter trying to convince themselves that they can wait and wait and perhaps wait some more before they get moving. Obama’s team believes otherwise. They know what time and effort are required to build a robust organization capable of winning a general election – and how important the work done this year will be…

The Obama team has decided it will not give Republicans a free pass to criticize the president as they fight over their nomination. The president’s reelection committee plans to put its own organizations into the early primary and caucus states – Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

“We can’t cede the playing field,” one adviser said. “We can’t just play general election. So we’re going to have to organize on the ground in early states.”