With Second Term Essentially Over, Focus Turns to Obama Presidential Library

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DALLAS, TX - APRIL 25:  (L-R) First lady Michelle Obama, U.S. President Barack Obama, former first lady Barbara Bush, former President George H.W. Bush and former President George W. Bush attend the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center April 25, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. The Bush library, which is located on the campus of Southern Methodist University, with more than 70 million pages of paper records, 43,000 artifacts, 200 million emails and four million digital photographs, will be opened to the public on May 1, 2013. The library is the 13th presidential library in the National Archives and Records Administration system.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
"The first ladies have voted. Next time we're doing this in Hawaii." Photo: Kevork Djansezian/2013 Getty Images

The political world is already fixated on analyzing a presidential race that hasn't started yet, but we shouldn't forget to speculate about the fate of the man leaving office in 2017. The New York Times reports that Obama insiders are already jockeying for roles in building his presidential library, with top adviser Valerie Jarrett reportedly taking an interest in the project. There's much to plan, from what issues Obama will focus on in his post-presidential years to where the library and foundation will be located. So far Hawaii, Chicago, and New York have expressed interest in hosting the library, though we suspect New York is just trying to annoy Chicago.  

The project could cost more than $500 million, and the Obamas are said to be buttering up donors, though it seems he isn't soliciting contributions yet. Hedge fund billionaire Marc Lasry reports that Obama's close friend Marty Nesbitt, who's among those leading the project, said the president "was thinking about" his postWhite House years.

"This is a project that isn’t even at its inception yet," countered White House spokesman Eric Schultz in an e-mail to the Times. "The priority of everyone at the White House is to focus on achieving the president’s second-term priorities over the next three years." Come on, the country can probably run itself for the next few years. The Obama interest-feigning exhibit and government-shutdown simulator are going to require some planning.