Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

After jumping ship to join the UK's Conservative party, former Obama campaign manager told MSNBC he's now "all Hillary all the time." (Screenshot: MSNBC)

After jumping ship to join the UK's Conservative party, former Obama campaign manager told MSNBC he's now "all Hillary all the time." (Screenshot: MSNBC)

Former Obama Campaign Manager Led Austerity-Loving Tories to Victory

After bringing American-style negative campaigning to the UK, Jim Messina says he's coming home to throw his weight behind Hillary Clinton

Lauren McCauley

After the surprise win of the United Kingdom's Conservative Party in Thursday's national election, the spotlight has now fallen on American political operative Jim Messina, who led the pro-austerity party to victory.

Prior to working the British political machine, Messina served as campaign manager—or self-described "mastermind"—of U.S. President Barack Obama's successful 2012 election bid and, before that, White House deputy chief of staff under Rahm Emanuel from 2009 to 2011.

Before his appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday, host Joe Scarborough introduced Messina, who was hired as an official adviser to the party of Prime Minister David Cameron, as "the man being called a traitor by liberals worldwide."

During the interview, Messina credited the victory of the austerity-driven Conservative Party to a "resounding economic mandate for the prime minister."

"First of all, the prime minister laid out a compelling economic vision, and second you had a campaign that tried to take us back to the 1970s and 1980s," Messina said of Cameron's liberal Labour Party challenger, Ed Miliband.

"All elections are always about the future, especially an economic future," Messina continued. "We won that choice by over 20 points last night and that's why we stunned the world. And it looks like he'll have an absolute majority, which I don't think many people thought we'd have."

When asked if he has "seen the light" and plans to support a Republican candidate for the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Messina said that he will throw his full weight behind Democratic candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Last year, Messina became co-chair of the pro-Clinton Super PAC Priorities USA.

"I am all Hillary all the time," Messina said. "Whatever its going to take to get Hillary."

In a recent profile of Messina, The Intercept's Ken Silverstein wrote that the consultant was known for his "scumminess," and that he rose to prominence after producing "one of the more homophobic ads of modern political times" during Montana Senator Max Baucus's 2002 reelection campaign. The piece outlines the piles of money that Messina has amassed in speaking and consulting fees, which Silverstein describes as "astonishing, even by Washington standards."

Messina joined the UK's Conservative Party in 2013 as a paid consultant and, as Time reports, "worked to export the latest innovations in American-style campaigning to the UK."

In a much-publicized match-up, Obama's former senior adviser David Axelrod also took part in the UK election, serving as a consultant for Labour Party leader Ed Miliband.

Ahead of the elections, Nigel Farage, leader of the UK's Independence Party, blamed the "Washington spin doctors" for bringing an unwelcome negativity to UK politics.

"What I’m seeing in this election is the influence of these big American advisers and it’s becoming the most negative, personal and nasty campaign I’ve ever seen," Farage said.

Politico reports that Messina and Axelrod weren’t the only ones taking part in the campaign. Obama’s former body man, Reggie Love, also reportedly helped the Conservatives with their field and social media efforts.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Poll: Overwhelming Majority of US Voters Want Robust Regulation of Tech Companies

"When it comes to Big Tech's monopoly power and surveillance business model, the public is unified: They want action. They want to see the Big Tech companies broken up and users' privacy protected."

Brett Wilkins ·

228 Republicans Blasted for Brief Urging Supreme Court to Overturn Roe v. Wade

"Every single politician who signed this amicus brief is actively working to strip away our fundamental freedoms and endanger pregnant people and families across the country."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Historic Victory': Bayer to End US Residential Sales of Glyphosate-Based Herbicides

"As agricultural, large-scale use of this toxic pesticide continues, our farmworkers remain at risk. It's time for EPA to act and ban glyphosate for all uses."

Kenny Stancil ·

73 Major Corporations Paid Just 5.3% Federal Tax Rate Between 2018 and 2020: Report

Thirty-nine other companies paid no federal corporate tax during the three-year period, in which they collectively reaped over $120 billion in profits.

Brett Wilkins ·

Biden Asks Congress to Act to Prevent Evictions—Just 3 Days Before Moratorium Expires

"These calls should have come weeks ago, not 72 hours before the moratorium expires."

Jake Johnson ·