UK opposition party hires top Obama adviser

AP News
Posted: Apr 18, 2014 11:21 AM
UK opposition party hires top Obama adviser

LONDON (AP) — Britain's opposition Labour Party has recruited David Axelrod — a key figure behind Barack Obama's two presidential victories — to help with its leader's election bid next year.

Axelrod will join Labour's election campaign team as senior strategic adviser, the party said Friday, describing him as a "huge asset."

Labour expects a tough campaign in the general election next May against the governing Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

Although opinion polls have consistently suggested Labour is most popular among voters, recent polls indicate the party faces uncertainty as Britain's economy improves and incomes begin to rise. Voters are also lukewarm about the prospect of Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, 44, becoming prime minister, with many seeing him as inexperienced and too bookish to connect with the public.

The party said Axelrod will work closely with senior Labour officials and take part in regular strategic discussions with Miliband starting next month.

"We believe that, given his track record, that he has a great deal to offer this campaign," said Labour election coordinator Douglas Alexander. "He has been able to get middle-class Americans to support a progressive political project, he is used to winning big majorities and he is used to discrediting negative personalized attacks."

Axelrod said in a statement he signed up because he was struck by Miliband's ideas — particularly those about the economy. Both Miliband and Obama had the vision to focus on the "experience of everyday people" as they faced higher costs of living and income inequality, he added.

"This is a problem not just for Britain but everywhere in advanced economies, including here in the U.S.," he said. "Ed Miliband has a real vision of where we need to go to solve those problems. He has answers to these questions, which will be very potent in the next election."