I just got an Obama campaign e-mail listing a number of staff changes and additions, one of which is this:

Chief of Staff to the Vice Presidential Nominee: Patti Solis Doyle

Aside from the juicy fact that Hillary's former campaign manager is going to work for Obama, what I'm left wondering is: Why would you hire a chief of staff for someone before you've decided who that someone will be? I know this is kinda how it's done for VPs--the presidential campaign arranges the running mate's staff, and it's basically in place before the VP announcement. Still, particularly in the case of a famously polarizing figure like Doyle, wouldn't you at least want to know that the VP nominee got along with her, and vice versa?

My guess is that "chief of staff" will turn out to be a misnomer--that the eventual VP nominee will already have a trusted chief of staff from his or her prior job, that this person will remain their de facto chief of staff, and that Doyle will basically be the chief liaison from the Obama campaign to the VP operation. But, again, given Doyle's reputation, I'm not sure even that arrangement is going to work especially well.

Update: For what it's worth, the first mainstream media mention of Peter Scher as the Kerry campaign's top VP aide came about a week before the Edwards announcement in 2004. The first mainstream media mention of Tom Nides as the Gore campaign's top VP aide came about two weeks before the Lieberman announcement in 2000. If nothing else, this announcement seems a little early. Unless Obama's going to choose a running mate a lot sooner than we expect.

Update II: Jason points out why this is unlikely to be a sign of Hillary's impending VP nomination.

 --Noam Scheiber