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Ear to the Ground

Top Obama Aide Who Runs Pro-Clinton Super PAC Shills for Conservatives on the Side

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Posted on May 27, 2014

  Jim Messina, second from left, in the Oval Office. White House/Pete Souza

Jim Messina helped get Barack Obama elected and, if given half a chance, he’ll do the same for Hillary Clinton. So what is he doing in the U.K. trying to keep Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron in power?

The New York Times profiles Messina’s entry into British politics, along with fellow Obama campaign veteran David Axelrod. Unlike Messina, Axelrod is advising the Labour Party, with an anti-austerity message that would sit well with Obama circa 2008.

Messina says he is quite comfortable working for Cameron, but his former colleagues aren’t so understanding. According to the Times, there is a “sense among some Obama campaign and administration veterans that Mr. Messina’s work for the Tories has crossed an ideological threshold that his consulting for casinos and corporations only approached.”

Axelrod, on the other hand, seems tickled by the arrangement. “I’m not here on business,” he is quoted as saying. “If I were doing this for business reasons I’d be doing something else.”

The journalist-turned-strategist can jest all he wants, but there’s big money in politics no matter where the election is held, and he is most certainly being paid, though how much was a question Cameron himself rudely brought up in parliament.

Messina, who did not follow Obama into the White House after the 2012 election, is also well compensated, according to the Times profile, and may have used his position in the Obama camp to get the gig:

Mr. Messina auditioned for the job—paying in the six figures according to Tory officials—after the 2012 election by shepherding a group of Conservative officials through Washington to meet senior Obama campaign officials. “I don’t know who would have gone into that meeting not thinking that there was something going on between Messina and the Tories,” said one such official, who considered the meeting a favor to Mr. Messina.

(Tip of the hat to Political Wire).

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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