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Posted at 3:42 p.m. on Aug. 19, 2014
Uber, the company with the popular car-hailing app that has spawned taxi driver protests in cities from Milan to San Francisco, has hired President Barack Obama’s former political strategist David Plouffe to run its political and public relations operations.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced Tuesday that Plouffe would be “managing all global policy and political activities, communications and Uber branding efforts,” starting next month.
Kalanick said, “Uber has been in a campaign but hasn’t been running one. That is changing now.”
Alluding to Uber’s battles with municipal and state regulators, Kalanick said, “Over the years, what I’ve come to realize is that this controversy exists because we are in the middle of a political campaign and it turns out the candidate is Uber. Our opponent – the Big Taxi cartel – has used decades of political contributions and influence to restrict competition, reduce choice for consumers and put a stranglehold on economic opportunity for its drivers.”
Plouffe said in a statement that Uber “has the chance to be a once in a decade if not a once in a generation company. 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. Ultimately, that approach is unwinnable.”
Plouffe helped shepherd Obama to victory in the battle for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination by expanding the traditional Democratic electorate and by using demographic and data analysis to identify and motivate potential Obama supporters.