Uber hires Obama’s former campaign chief

Transportation company Uber has hired President Obama’s former campaign manager to plot its battle against taxi unions and local regulators.

The company announced Tuesday that it hired David Plouffe, who ran the president’s 2008 campaign, as its new senior vice president of policy and strategy.

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The move is a significant escalation for the upstart company, which lets people order rides through their smartphones, and will add firepower to its effort to operate more widely across the globe.

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick wrote in a blog post that his company is “in the middle of a political campaign” against “the Big Taxi cartel” and needs Plouffe to manage the effort.

“Earlier this year, I made it a top priority for Uber to find a leader who could help cities and citizens understand the Uber mission,” he wrote announcing the hire.

“We needed someone who understood politics but who also had the strategic horsepower to reinvent how a campaign should be run — a campaign for a global company operating in cities from Boston and Beijing to London and Lagos.”

In his new post, Plouffe will be overseeing all global political and policy battles for the company, Kalanick wrote, and will serve as a “strategic partner on all matters as Uber grows around the world.”

Uber’s rapid rise to a company worth as much as $18 billion operating in 44 countries has come despite roadblocks from local and state regulators, as well as taxi companies.

“Uber has the chance to be a once in a decade if not a once in a generation company,” Plouffe wrote. “Of course, that poses a threat to some, and I’ve watched as the taxi industry cartel has tried to stand in the way of technology and big change.” 

After Obama's victory in 2008, Plouffe became a top White House adviser from 2011 to 2013. 

Uber had previously been linked to former White House press secretary Jay Carney, who was reportedly in talks to lead the company’s communications department.