Obama Aides Axelrod, Messina Advising Labor, Conservatives in UK

Wednesday, 28 May 2014 07:28 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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Two of the masterminds responsible for getting Barack Obama elected are outsourcing their political expertise across the pond in Great Britain. But this time, Jim Messina and David Axelrod are on opposing sides, facing off in the 2015 election for Great Britain’s next prime minister, according to The New York Times.

Axelrod worked as a political adviser to President Bill Clinton and later as a campaign adviser to Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign. When Obama won the White House, Axelrod became the president’s senior adviser until 2011, when he left to work on the president’s 2012 re-election campaign.

In the U.K., Axelrod is farming out his expertise — and parroting a similar income inequality platform as the one used by Obama — for the liberal Labor Party candidate, Ed Miliband.

Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, is fielding criticism for his decision to accept a position with Prime Minister David Cameron, leader of the country’s Conservative Party with an agenda some say is in stark contrast to Obama’s. Similar to conservatives in the United States, Cameron takes the position that his country needs to rebound after years of Labor Party rule and that "tough immigration laws are protecting British values and jobs," the Times reports.

While it’s not uncommon for American political wonks and strategists to go into private consulting and take work in other countries, what is unusual in this case is that two former colleagues of a sitting president will be working against one another in an election that will determine the leader of America’s closest ally, according to the Times.

While Messina insists there is no bad blood between he and Axelrod, Axelrod refused to comment on their relationship to the newspaper.

Adding vexation to American Democrats is that Messina heads the super PAC Priorities USA, which supported Obama and is now "pro-Hillary Rodham Clinton."

His decision to go to work for the Tories in England has caused internal strife for some Democrats, including White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and American pollster Stanley Greenberg, who told the Times that working for the Tories "ought to be disqualifying" for Messina to then work on a Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

"This is 'make as much money as you can,' not the ideological side of the Obama project," he said.

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