Ex-Obama campaign strategists to battle each other in British election
LONDON — Setting up an intriguing election battle, Britain's opposition Labor Party announced on Friday that it had hired President Obama's chief campaign adviser to help the party grab power next year from the Conservatives.
The decision to recruit David Axelrod means that the 2015 British election will pit two of Obama's strategists against each other. Working for the Conservatives is Jim Messina, who, like Axelrod, toiled on both of Obama's presidential campaigns and who served as his deputy White House chief of staff during his first term.
“David is used to tough fights, and he is going to be a huge asset to our campaign,” said Douglas Alexander, election coordinator for the Labor Party, which governed for 13 years, mostly with Tony Blair at the helm.
The Conservative Party was elected in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats in 2010, but has dropped in the polls in recent months. Voters, however, routinely rate David Cameron, the polished, articulate prime minister, more favorably than they do Labor leader Ed Miliband, who strikes many Britons as too inexperienced and off-puttingly nerdy.
Miliband is trying to improve his image by promoting himself as a vocal champion of the squeezed middle class and as a critic of Britain's widening income gap. In a video message to the Labor faithful, Axelrod said he emphasized those themes for Obama as his chief campaign adviser in the 2008 and 2012 presidential races.
The British media reported that Axelrod — whom the Labor Party website briefly identified as “David Alexrod” — would participate in strategy meetings and earn a six-figure sum.
Trying to outfox him will be Messina, whom Cameron hired last summer. Axelrod's former Obama campaign teammate is known for his data-crunching and social-media campaign expertise.
That two Democratic operatives would be recruited by opposing parties in Britain, one of which uses the word “conservative” in its name, is not particularly strange.
The Tories are further to the left than their American cousin, the Republicans.
For example, Cameron's government wrote and passed a same-sex marriage bill.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- UNHCR: Weekend shipwreck deadliest ever in Mediterranean
- Washington Post bureau chief charged with espionage in Iran
- Navy aircraft carrier Roosevelt rushes to Yemen to block Iran’s arms
- Body of alleged aide to Saddam reported
- Nazi guard’s trial ‘a gift’ for survivors
- Saudi airstrike hits arms depot in Yemen
- ‘Groundhog Day’ musical to debut on London stage
- Ethiopians shocked by Islamic State killings
- EU foreign ministers to meet after latest migrant tragedy
- Bomb in van kills UNICEF employees in Somalia
- 900 may have been killed in migrant boat disaster in Mediterranean