Michael Signator, a 50-year-old police officer in suburban Chicago, is paid as one of Barack Obama‘s campaign staffers — nearly $50,000 during Obama’s Senate campaign in 2004; and $47,600 from March 2007 through August of this year — yet no one knows what he looks like, and even Obama staffers didn’t know he works for the campaign.
So just who is Michael Signator?
Although his job description is to provide “supplemental security support” and to coordinate the Obama family’s personal and campaign schedules, Signator appears to be much more than an aide.
Signator owns a home west of Chicago, about an hour from Obama’s home, and also rents an apartment in Regents Park, just a few blocks from the Illinois senator’s Kenwood residence. When Obama is at home, he works out regularly in the gym on the ground floor of the apartment building, but also occasionally stops by just to hang out with “Sig.”
Sometimes Obama has dropped by multiple times a day, particularly while he was weighing his choice of a running mate.
Obama’s presidential campaign refuses to release details of Signator’s role, citing security reasons, however, campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said it brings Signator into frequent, close contact with the Obamas.
We do know from Obama’s 2006 book, “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream” that he was hired as Obama’s driver in 2004 and was the first person Obama informed after being invited to deliver the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
Obama writes that “the process by which I was selected as the keynote speaker remains something of a mystery to me.” Though he had gotten word that Kerry wanted him to speak, Obama recalls he didn’t know what type of billing he’d get.
Then, one afternoon, as Signator was driving him from Springfield, the state capital where Obama was a state senator, to Chicago, where he had an evening campaign event, Obama got a call from Kerry’s campaign manager, who asked him to keynote the convention.
After he hung up, Obama turned to Signator and said “I guess this is pretty big,” according to “Audacity.” It reports that Signator nodded and said, “You could say that.”
Signator declined to comment on his relationship with Obama when Politico reached him by phone, saying he “can’t do any type of interview at all,” directing them to contact the Obama campaign press office.
According to Politico, the campaign press staff at first denied that Signator worked for the campaign, then discouraged Politico from writing about him. They declined to set up an interview.
There may be a reason other than security that the campaign doesn’t want Signator talking to the press.
During Obama’s 2004 Senate race, Signator accompanied Obama to an African-American parade in Chicago. The crowd began chanting “O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma!” giving the candidate such a passionate reception that Signator, Obama’s “driver and bodyguard,” joked that he “thought Barack was going to rise up over the people and start saying, ‘My children, my children, I have come to free you.’”
The comment is among the only quotes of Signator on record and furthers sentiments that Obama wants to be President of the world.