Uber, a mobile app that gives consumers an alternative to taxis, has hired President Barack Obama's former senior adviser David Plouffe to help the company wage political and legal battles against street-hail taxis and traditional car services.
Plouffe will join the tech player as svp of policy and strategy in September, according to a blog post by Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick. As if recalling the "Big Tobacco" and "Big Pharma" rallying cries of the recent political past, Kalanick attempted to add a new term to the back-handed Beltway glossary: "Big Taxi."
"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," Kalanick wrote. "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."
Uber has been fighting yellow cab services for its right to exist, particularly in New York, and Plouffe's hire could be designed to help win in the court of public opinion as well as in legal settings.
"I will look to him as a strategic partner on all matters as Uber grows around the world. David's background needs little introduction," Kalanick stated. "He is a proven field general and strategist who built the startup that elected a president."
The digital taxi/rideshare space has been hot for weeks. Just this morning, Uber revealed a test in the nation's capital that will repurpose its army of drivers as agents of grocery delivery.