Posts Tagged ‘Jim Messina’

USA | För franska läsare har vi här en artikel om Hillary Clinton – “Kvinnan i järnmasken” – av Philippe Bouielt-Gercourt i franska L’Obs.

L'Obs - 9-15 April 2015

Visst finns det en viss njutning i att lyssna till de franska titlarna på några av Clintons närmaste medarbetare. Eller vad sägs om Le Chef D’Orchestre, Les Stratège och La Communicatrice?

Här är hur några i kampanjstaben presenteras:

JOHN PODESTA, LE CHEF D’ORCHESTRE:  Ceux qui l’ont côtoyé ne tarissent pas d’éloges sur l’ex-dircab de Bill, l’un des rares qui puisse parler d’égal à égal aux Clinton. Son amitié de plus de quarante ans avec eux, son calme, sa parfaite connaissance des dossiers seront un atout pour éviter une réédition de la zizanie de 2008.

JOEL BENENSON, LE STRATÈGE: L’un des vétérans de la première campagne d’Obama, celle-là même qui a humilié Hillary. Il n’est pas le seul à jouer les transfuges : Jim Margolis, qui conseillera Hillary sur les médias, a lui aussi été un élément clé dans la victoire de 2008

JIM MESSINA, LE LEVEUR DE FONDS:  Encore une star de la première campagne d’Obama. Il dirige Priorities USA Action, un comité d’action politique – traduisez : un aspirateur à fric – qui est largement le bébé de Jeffrey Katzenberg, le mogul de Hollywood. Messina est aussi le lien de Hillary avec la Silicon Valley.

JENNIFER PALMIERI, LA COMMUNICATRICE: Philippe Reines, le pitbull de la com de Hillary, ne sera pas aux avant-postes. Trop agressif. L’ancienne porte-parole d’Obama est perçue comme affable et accessible par la presse. Mais la dircom de Hillary aura du mal à faire oublier les relations exécrables de sa patronne avec les médias.

ROBBY MOOK, MR. DATA: Il avait 12 ans en 1992, quand Bill Clinton – qui l’aime beaucoup – fut élu président. Avec sa « Mafia Mook » de jeunes as du numérique, des réseaux sociaux et du « Big Data », il sera l’atout tech de Hillary. Il a déjà fait ses preuves sur le terrain en 2008, dans le camp Clinton.

Tidskriftsomslag: L’Obs, 9-15 april 2015. (Le Nouvel Observateur, tidigare France Observateur, heter sedan 2014 L’Obs.)

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USA | Det var vicepresident Joe Biden som tvingade Barack Obama förklara sin syn på samkönade äktenskap.

The New York Times Magazine April 20 2014

Biden hade nämligen i en intervju förklarat sig vara för samkönade äktenskap innan presidenten officiellt tagit ställning.

”I think you may have just gotten in front of the president on gay marriage”, som Bidens communications direcctor uttryckte det efter intervjun.

När Obama väl bestämt sig ville Vita huset att presidenten skulle förklara sin syn i en intervju med den kvinnlige journalisten Robin Roberts på ”Good Morning America”. Man gillade nämligen hennes ”conversational style”.

Under intervjun fick Obama möjlighet att förklara att han förmodligen (“probably”) skulle säga ja till samkönade äktenskap innan valet. Biden hade bara ”got out a little bit over his skis”.

Det är berättelse om alla Vita husets strategiska överväganden som Jo Becker skriver om i en artikel i The New York Times Magazine.

Despite the president’s stated opposition, even his top advisers didn’t believe that he truly opposed allowing gay couples to marry. “He has never been comfortable with his position,” David Axelrod, then one of his closest aides, told me.

Indeed, long before Obama publicly stated that he was against same-sex marriage, he was on the record supporting it. As an Illinois State Senate candidate from Chicago’s liberal Hyde Park enclave, Obama signed a questionnaire in 1996 saying, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” But as his ambitions grew, and with them the need to appeal to a more politically diverse electorate, his position shifted.

In the course of an unsuccessful run for a House seat in 2000, he said he was “undecided” on the question. By the time he campaigned for the presidency, he had staked out an even safer political position: Citing his Christian faith, he said he believed marriage to be the sacred union of a man and a woman.

The assumption going into the 2012 campaign was that there was little to be gained politically from the president’s coming down firmly in favor of same-sex marriage. In particular, his political advisers were worried that his endorsement could splinter the coalition needed to win a second term, depressing turnout among socially conservative African-Americans, Latinos and white working-class Catholics in battleground states.

But by November 2011, it was becoming increasingly clear that continuing to sidestep the issue came with its own set of costs. The campaign’s internal polling revealed that the issue was a touchstone for likely Obama voters under 30. The campaign needed those voters to turn out in the record numbers they had four years earlier, and the biggest impediment was Obama’s refusal to say he favored allowing gay couples to wed.

“We understood that this would be galvanizing to some voters and be difficult with other voters,” said Jim Messina, the manager of Obama’s 2012 campaign.

Caught between countervailing political forces, Obama called his top aides together and said that if asked again for his position, he both wanted and needed to drop the pretense and tell people where he really stood.

“The politics of authenticity — not just the politics, but his own sense of authenticity — required that he finally step forward,” Axelrod said. “And the president understood that.”

But if he was really contemplating an endorsement of same-sex marriage, his advisers urged him to do it in a manner that caused minimal political damage. David Plouffe, a mastermind of the 2008 victory and a senior adviser to the president, reached out to Ken Mehlman for advice. The previous year, Mehlman, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee who engineered President George W. Bush’s re-election, came out as gay […] Mehlman had already met with Obama over lunch at the White House and told him that people voted for him in 2008 because they viewed him as an idealist who would put politics aside and do what was right. Endorsing same-sex marriage would remind voters that he was still that man. “The notion that politically this is going to kill you — I don’t buy it,” Mehlman recalled saying.

He told Plouffe that voters were far more likely to be supportive once they understood that gay couples wanted to marry for the same reason straight people did: It was a matter of love and commitment. Polling indicated that voters would best respond if the issue was framed around shared American values: the country’s fundamental promise of equality; voters’ antipathy toward government intrusion into their private lives; and the religious principle of treating others the way one would like to be treated.

Mehlman surveyed 5,000 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and found that a majority supported some form of legal recognition of gay relationships. Generally, marriage was not a top priority for most Republicans, meaning that a presidential endorsement was unlikely to motivate the G.O.P. base or attract the kind of full-throated Republican criticism it might have in years past.

On Nov. 10, 2011, Mehlman sent Plouffe an email suggesting that the president announce his support for same-sex marriage in a TV interview with a female host. He also laid out specific language for Obama to use. Explain that this was a family decision and not a political one, he advised: “Michelle and I have been having a similar conversation in our family that lots of American families have been having on marriage equality.I fully understand that some will agree, while others will disagree, with where our family has come down on this.” Mehlman advised Obama to talk about his daughters — “as Michelle and I have been thinking through what we teach Sasha and Malia about America’s greatness” — and about religious liberty and fairness to all. “When you’re president, you’re president of all Americans. And all includes gays and lesbians — men and women who are serving across this country — firefighters, doctors, teachers, courageous soldiers who serve and protect the rest of us.”

Och så skulle Obama också komma att sälja in idén till den amerikanska allmänheten efter många överväganden.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New York Times Magazine, 20 april 2014.

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I miss how bad campaign office smells at midnight.

– Jim Messina, president Barack Obamas ”campaign manager”.

Övrigt: Citatet hämtat från ”Obama’s Reelection Hopes Ride on This Man”. Se bilder från Obamas nya kampanjhögkvarter i Chicago.

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STRATEGI | Jim Messina, Obamas campaign manager, har ett nätverk av företagsledare som inspirerat honom inför årets omvalskampanj.

“Raise money, register voters, and persuade voters,” säger Messina. “Everything has to feed into those three things.”

Joshua Green, i Bloomberg Businessweek, skriver:

The day after Jim Messina quit his job as White House deputy chief of staff last January, he caught a plane to Los Angeles, paid a brief visit to his girlfriend, and then commenced what may be the highest-wattage crash course in executive management ever undertaken. He was about to begin a new job as Barack Obama’s campaign manager, and being a diligent student with access to some very smart people, he arranged a rolling series of personal seminars with the CEOs and senior executives of companies […] “I went around the country for literally a month of my life interviewing these companies and just talking about organizational growth, emerging technologies, marketing,” he says at Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago.


In two long, private conversations, Steve Jobs tore into Messina for all the White House was doing wrong and what it ought to be doing differently, before going on to explain how the campaign could exploit technology in ways that hadn’t been possible before. “Last time you were programming to only a couple of channels,” Jobs told him, meaning the Web and e-mail. “This time, you have to program content to a much wider variety of channels—Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube (GOOG), Google—because people are segmented in a very different way than they were four years ago.” When Obama declared for president, the iPhone hadn’t been released. Now, Jobs told him, mobile technology had to be central to the campaign’s effort. “He knew exactly where everything was going,” Messina says. “He explained viral content and how our stuff could break out, how it had to be interesting and clean.”

At DreamWorks Studios, Steven Spielberg spent three hours explaining how to capture an audience’s attention and offered a number of ideas that will be rolled out before Election Day. An early example of Spielberg’s influence is RomneyEconomics.com, a website designed by the Obama team to tell the story—a horror story, by their reckoning—of Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital. Afterward, Spielberg insisted that Messina sit down with the DreamWorks marketing team. Hollywood movie studios are expert, as presidential campaigns also must be, at spending huge sums over a few weeks to reach and motivate millions of Americans.


Messina is convinced that modern presidential campaigns are more like fast-growing tech companies than anything found in a history book and his own job like that of the executives who run them. “What they’ve done is more readily applicable to me, because they all started very small and got big very quickly,” he says.

Tidskriftsomslaget: Bloomberg Businessweek, 18 juni-24 juni 2012.

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STRATEGI | Barack Obamas strategi bygger på att kampanja över hela kartan, sidsteppa traditionell media och möta väljarna där de befinner sig. 

Strategin är dyr men effektiv. The Economist skriver:

The campaign had already spent $75m by the end of February. That is only a little bit more than the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, at $67m. But Mr Obama has used his money quite differently. Whereas Mr Romney has spent $14m on television and radio advertising, Mr Obama has devoted only $3m to that. Instead, he has spent $12m on online advertising, to Mr Romney’s $1m, and $15m on staff, to Mr Romney’s $5m. Mr Romney’s headquarters, in a drab low-rise building in Boston, is a fraction the size of Mr Obama’s. In many states, Mr Romney has no formal presence, having closed his offices after the local primary, or never having opened any in the first place.

In part, these differences are a reflection of the two candidate’s circumstances. [I]t would have made little sense for Mr Romney to build a big national network until he had clinched the nomination.


But the divergence in spending patterns is also an indication of the Obama campaign’s strategy. Jim Messina, the campaign manager, is determined to contest as many states as possible, to avoid the trap he believes past Democratic campaigns fell into of pinning all their hopes on just one or two fiercely contested and fickle swing states.


That ambition rests on the assumption that Mr Obama will be able to preserve the coalition of women, minorities and young voters that propelled him to victory last time, and perhaps even make up some ground among poorer white voters, who seem almost as dubious about Mr Romney as they are about him. Such an expansive approach, naturally, entails opening more offices and hiring more staff than a more narrowly focused campaign would.

Mr Obama’s campaign team also wants to emulate his success in 2008 in another way, by creating a huge network of volunteers, recruited and co-ordinated in large part online, to proselytise on his behalf. There is much talk of “building the biggest grassroots campaign in history”. So Mr Obama’s footsoldiers are trying to contact as many potential supporters as possible in person, either online or through carefully orchestrated door-knocking drives and telephone banks. That, in turn, has racked up big bills for internet advertising and office overheads.

This approach has multiple virtues. Voters are more likely to respond to a friend’s political urgings than to a television advertisement or a flyer, according to Mr Obama’s strategists. Direct contact with a large pool of potential voters allows Mr Obama to present his own pitch, unfiltered by the media, and the campaign’s technical wizardry will ensure that it is tailored to the recipient.

Bild: Artikel och tidskriftsomslaget är från The Economist den 14-20 april 2012.

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USA | Medan allt fokus är på de republikanska presidentkandidaterna har Barack Obamas kampanjteam sakta men säkert finslipat sin strategi.

Oavsett dåliga opinionssiffror (ca 46 %), höga arbetslöshetssiffror (8,6 %) och en inte alltför imponerande ekonomisk utveckling är det sannolikt Obama som tar hem segern 2012.

Om han vinner kommer det att bero på att han – till skillnad från de republikanska kandidaterna – har en över hela landet vältrimmad organisation, välfylld kampanjkassa och ett stort teknologiskt försprång.

För Newsweek har Andrew Romano intervjuat bl.a. campaign manager Jim Messina och David Axelrod som är Obamas chief political strategist.

Without a primary war to wage, his staff has been able to dedicate the past 10 months exclusively to general-election preparations—a head start not only over 2008 (and previous incumbents) but over a bumper crop of clumsy Republicans who have been too distracted by 2011’s 13 televised debates to bother with old-fashioned chores such as fundraising or field organizing. “We now have people on the ground all across the country who’ve spent four years, five years in our system and know how to do this, who believe in this guy, and who are trained,” Messina told me. “That’s just a huge piece of business. [Mitt] Romney and [Newt] Gingrich don’t have operations on the ground in these states.”

Consider the numbers. In January 2004, George W. Bush’s aides bragged that they’d held a grand total of 52 training sessions around the country for precinct leaders. The Obama campaign, by comparison, held 57 … in a single December week … in a single state, Iowa. Right now, there are more than 200 paid staffers working in Chicago—double Bush’s head count at the beginning of 2004, and more than double Romney’s current total. (Bill Clinton employed only 40 people at this point; the first President Bush was still stuck in the single digits.) Messina has already hired an in-house design crew, an in-house gear team, and in-house tech developers, who are tinkering away on a top-secret application that will track every conversation that every single Obama volunteer has, every door they knock on, every action they take.


The plan for 2012, according to Axelrod, is to tout the president’s achievements while also recognizing that “people are less interested in a tote sheet of what has been accomplished” than in “how we, and alternatively how the other side, would approach the larger economic challenges” facing the middle class. Translation: voters should expect (1) more talk about the future than the painful recent past, and (2) a merciless populist assault on the Republican nominee’s alleged belief in “trickle-down social Darwinism”—an “every man for himself” ideology designed, according to Axelrod, to ensure that “whoever starts with the advantages will likely multiply them, while everybody else pedals faster and faster just to keep up.” Think No We Shouldn’t (elect a Republican) instead of Yes We Can. “You’re looking at a lot more competitive situation, and that’s what we’re preparing for,” Axelrod admits. “It’s going to be a very vigorous debate.”

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BARACK OBAMAS återvalskampanj har lanserat en attacksajt som skall avslöja vad man kallar motståndarnas ”smutskastning”.

I ett mail till presidentens anhängare skrev campaign manager, Jim Messina, att AttackWatch.com är en resurs som skulle göra det möjligt “to nip these attacks in the bud before they show up in the airwaves and in e-mails and then fight back with the truth.”

Vad som är den ena sidans smutskastning inom politiken är den andra sidans sanning.

Men oavsett villket påminner upplägget om den hemsida – fightthesmears.com – som Obamas kampanjstab satte upp redan under presidentvalet 2008.

Då var det för att stävja olika rykten som cirkulerade om presidentkandidaten Obama. Målet var att inte bara motbevisa utan också aktivt försöka spåra upp och avslöja de personer eller organisationer som medvetet försökte sprida olika rykten.

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