WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Uber made a huge show of force Tuesday when it announced it has hired David Plouffe - a man largely responsible for helping Barack Obama get elected in 2008 - to lead their fight against what they call the "Big Taxi cartel."
"Starting in late September, David will be managing all global policy and political activities, communications, and Uber branding efforts. I will look to him as a strategic partner on all matters as Uber grows around the world," said Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on Uber's online blog Tuesday.
When describing why Uber decided to bring on such a political powerhouse to lead their self-described "fight" against opponents to the service, which provides major competition to taxi companies, Kalanick likened Uber's struggle for dominance to a political campaign, with Uber as the presidential hopeful.
"Not enough people here in America and around the world know our story, our mission, and the positive impact we're having. Uber has been in a campaign but hasn't been running one. That is changing now," Kalanick wrote.
"Our mission has become a surprisingly controversial topic. 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," he continued. "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."
That backlash from the so-called "Big Taxi cartel" has been waging right here in the D.C. area in recent months - from a cease and desist order smacked down on the company by the DMV of Virginia, to taxi drivers purposely clogging streets in protest in the District.
"I couldn't be more excited about Uber's new leader, who will be bringing the expertise, wisdom, and strategic mindset to the next phase of the Uber movement, shepherding us well beyond the challenges of the Big Taxi cartel, and into the brave new world of software-powered transportation," Kalanick said.
Plouffe himself commented by saying, "I look forward to doing what I can right now to ensure drivers and riders are not denied their opportunity for choice in transportation due to those who want to maintain a monopoly and play the 'inside game' to deny opportunity to those on the outside."