Officials: Obama ramping up 2012 campaign -

Officials: Obama ramping up 2012 campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is stepping up his re-election bid, shifting White House staff to a campaign that will be run out of Chicago.

Administration officials say staffers are looking for offices in downtown Chicago. Obama will file papers with the Federal Election Commission to formally declare his candidacy around March.

Obama will name deputy chief of staff Jim Messina as his campaign manager. Officials said Messina is already talking to potential campaign donors and consultants. The officials insisted on anonymity in order to speak about internal White House matters.

The developments come amid wider staff changes as the White House focuses on Obama's re-election. Senior adviser David Axelrod will join the campaign in Chicago, and departing press secretary Robert Gibbs will serve as a consultant.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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