12/23/2008 12:41 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Patrick Gaspard: Obama's Political Director

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Politicians and strategists praise Patrick Gaspard highly, although he stays away from the limelight.

"Patrick is the best political mind of his generation in New York and maybe the nation," says Kevin Sheekey, who as Michael Bloomberg's right-hand-man has frequently worked and battled with Gaspard.

"I wouldn't dispute that," said David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist and Gaspard's cohort on the campaign trail. When reminded that such a title could be bestowed on Axelrod himself, the strategist said he was "happy to cede that" to Gaspard.

The Washington Post, among others, has announced that a longtime labor operative of Barack Obama's, Patrick Gaspard, will be named Obama's White House political director.

Gaspard served as national political director for much of Obama's general election campaign and was named deputy director of personnel for the transition effort. Prior to his work with Obama, Gaspard was the lead political operative for the 1199 branch of the Service Employees International Union, a huge and hugely influential union representing health care workers in New York. He spent the 2004 general election as the national field director for America Coming Together.

Gaspard was featured prominently in Ryan Lizza's recent New Yorker piece detailing how Obama won. Of his job interview with the Illinois Senator, Gaspard recalled Obama saying: "I think that I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm gonna think I'm a better political director than my political director."