Obama campaign manager Messina announces engagement

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The group, which counts former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) and former Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) as honorary co-chairmen, gave the award to Messina “for his visionary strategic leadership and exemplary implementation resulting in the decisive reelection” of the president, said Robert Blancato, the chairman of the IADLC.

Reflecting on the November election, Messina said working on the president’s 2012 campaign was “one of the most amazing experiences of my life.”

“I don’t think it’s a surprise and I’m incredibly proud that the president would turn to an Italian-American to run his campaign,” he said. “He was silly to pay me, I would have done it for free. It was the best professional experience of my life.

“And you know on Election Day, I got to call him up and say, ‘Mr. President, in a couple hours you’re going to win reelection.’ And to have that moment, to be part of that, to be with him when he found out he had won, you know for any kid — especially a kid who grew up loving politics his entire life — to be a part of that was one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” Messina added.

Messina is the chairman of the Inaugural Parade on Monday, and told reception attendees that “if you’re going to the parade, wear lots of clothes.”

Forecasters are calling for a brisk day, with temperatures expected to reach 44 degrees as Obama takes the oath of office at the Capitol.

Going forward, Messina will chair the newly launched Organizing for Action organization, the restructured version of Obama for America that’s focused on reaching out to past supporters of the president’s campaign to rally support for his second-term policy initiatives. 

When asked what’s next for the revamped organization, Messina told The Hill it will focus on “grassroots organizing across the country to push for the president’s common sense legislative agenda.”

“We want action on immigration, gun safety, debt and deficit, and we think the best way to do it is to organize across the country in all 50 states,” he said

Other notable attendees at the reception included New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, a Democratic candidate running in that city’s mayoral race, and Bob Perciasepe, the deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Attendees at the reception snacked on classic Italian fare, including fried ravioli, bruschetta and fried risotto balls.