Patti Solis Doyle, who was Hillary Clinton's campaign manager until this February, is joining Barack Obama's staff, the Obama campaign announced Monday. And she's in a position that will no doubt make some observers stand up and take notice: chief of staff to the vice-presidential nominee.
Solis Doyle's appointment to that post is likely to add to the speculation about the possibility of Hillary Clinton as Obama's running mate. The New York Times' Adam Nagourney -- who was first to the story on Monday -- and the Politico's Ben Smith -- who was first to report the possibility of Solis Doyle's hiring, back in May -- are both throwing some cold water on that idea, however, and seemingly with good reason.
"Clinton fired her in February, and many of her backers view Solis Doyle as a bit of a traitor for having signaled that she'd move to Obama before the primary was over," Smith notes, and Nagourney writes, "More likely, the Obama campaign was looking for a high-profile spot to put Ms. Doyle, given her previous position, and most of the major roles in Mr. Obama's campaign are filled."
There's one other data point to suggest that the move was not made in anticipation of an Obama/Clinton ticket: Clinton and Solis Doyle have not spoken since Solis Doyle was ousted in mid-February, the Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes reported earlier this month.
Update: An Obama aide tells Salon that the hiring is not meant to sent a message one way or the other about a joint ticket, and that there's a precedent in recent history of hiring staff for the eventual vice-presidential nominee before the actual nominee is chosen. The Obama camp wants to have the running mate's staff prepared so that he or she can be ready to run as soon as the choice is announced, the aide said.