LISTEN: Obama Slams Corbyn

President Obama has delivered a withering verdict of Jeremy Corbyn: Labour is “disintegrating” because under Jez they have lost touch with “fact and reality.” Obama was speaking in an interview with David Axelrod in which he appeared to forget the Labour leader’s name:

AXELROD: Just a couple more things. Are you worried about the Corbynization of the Democratic Party? Saw the Labor Party just sort of disintegrated in the face of their defeat and move so far left that it’s, you know, in a very — in a very frail state. And there is an impulse to respond to — to the power of Trump by, you know, being as edgy…

OBAMA: On the left.

AXELROD: … on the left.

OBAMA: I don’t worry about that, partly because I think that the Democratic Party has stayed pretty grounded in fact and reality. Trump emerged out of a decade, maybe two, in which the Republican Party, because it had to say no for tactical reasons, moved further and further and further away from what we would consider to be a — a basic consensus around things like climate change or how the economy works. And it started filling up with all kinds of conspiracy theorizing that became kind of common wisdom or conventional wisdom within the Republican Party base. That hasn’t happened in the Democratic Party. I think people like the passion that Bernie brought, but Bernie Sanders is a pretty centrist politician relative to…

AXELROD: Corbyn.

OBAMA: Relative to Corbyn or relative to some of the Republicans.

Can’t wait to hear what President Trump thinks…

Labour Campaign Chief: “We Had No Strategy”

Remember those clandestine tape recordings of Labour events which mysteriously made their way into the press during the election? Guido has been sent one of Spencer Livermore, Labour’s campaign director in 2015, speaking on Tuesday night. An enjoyably candid assessment of why Miliband lost.

“The accepted wisdom is that in 2015, Labour had the wrong strategy to win the election. But my experience is not that the strategy was wrong, but that it was absent. I don’t that that we had the wrong strategy, I don’t really think we had much of a strategy at all. I think that none of the elements that I would associate with strategy were present in the run up to 2015. There was no identified electorate that we wanted to pursue. There was no attempt to de-position our opponents. There was no attempt to frame the debate on our terms. There was no coherent or persistent narrative. I think what we had was not a strategy but a credo. It was an ideological project based on a mistaken assumption that the country has shifted to the left… There was ideology there, but there was no strategy there”.

Odd when Labour paid their “senior strategic adviser”, one David Axelrod, £223,572 and Stewart Wood was Miliband‘s director of strategy…

David Axelrod on Lynton Crosby and Jim Messina

David Axelrod has the last word on his rival campaign managers…

“My operant theory about politics is you’re never as smart as you look when you’re winning and you’re never as dumb as you look when you’re losing.”

David Axelrod Praises Lynton Crosby’s Tactics

David Axelrod praises Tory TV tactics…

“The one thing they did that was particularly shrewd was they insisted that all the parties participate in the debate. They didn’t do that out of a sense of equity and fairness. They did it because they wanted to give the Scottish National Party a platform and the result is the situation you see today.”

Axelrod: British Press More Powerful Than Fox News

“The thing I’d say to you though about this, these people are less powerful than they used to be,” Ed Miliband told Russell Brand during their enlightening discussion about his critics in the newspapers. Someone should tell the man Labour are paying £300,000 to consult on messaging.

In an interview with Politico today, David Axelrod is asked whether he thinks Britain’s right-wing press is more powerful than Fox News, beamed into 87,058,000 American households. He replies:

“Yeah, I do.”

He goes on to admit he only visited the UK six times while working for Ed. That’s £50,000 a trip…

Axelrod: He Came, He Saw, He Tweeted

miliband-axelrod

David Axelrod flew into London for a couple of days, had a look around, shook a few hands, sent a couple of tweets then got on a flight back to Chicago. Axelrod managed to find time to pen a plea on behalf of Labour’s election campaign coordinator, wee Dougie Alexander, who is being run very hard by the SNP in his own Paisley seat. Well worth his £300,000 fee? At least on this visit he managed to spell “Miliband” correctly…

At Last! Axelrod Arrives

And don’t they look happy to see him?

Yeah, really buzzing.

Winners grin, losers spin. Pretty grim faces all round…

Quote of the Day

David Axelrod shows some of the insight Ed is paying all that money for:

“If you want one rule: find out what the conventional wisdom is and bet against it; I’ve done pretty well doing that. The conventional wisdom is almost always wrong. During the course of a presidential campaign you’ll hear at least a dozen times that this or that occurrence is a ‘decisive’ or ‘defining’ event, but they almost always aren’t.”

Axelrod Speaks: Guru Lukewarm About Miliband on CNN

David Axelrod was caught off guard by Christiane Amanpour on CNN and asked about Ed Miliband. Watch his face fall:

The most positive thing Axe says is that that polls say Ed could win and that no one likes the Tories. A minute later he says to ignore the polls.

Unsurprisingly, Axelrod refuses to compare Ed to Obama. He doesn’t sound very enthusiastic about things though.

You would have thought for £300,000 Labour could have given their star guru at least one or two talking points about what their leader is up to?

Axelrod: Ed Is No Obama

It is 95 days since David Axelrod has bothered to mention Miliband on Twitter, the PLP are sharpening their knives and Labour’s six figure strategist has let slip that he is done with campaigning. Today Axelrod earns his dollar by telling the Guardian that his star British client “falls short of Obama”:

DA: “I had been spoiled. The thought of starting over with someone new – and almost certainly somebody who would fall short of Obama – was unappealing.”

Guardian: Would he put the Labour leader into that same category?

DA: “I think Obama’s a once-in-a-lifetime candidate. I can’t think of another person who I would put in his category in my experience of consulting. So I wouldn’t put that burden on Ed or anyone. I think Ed is a smart, earnest guy.”

The Axe was then asked for his six word summary of Labour’s election message. He replied:

“The promise of fixing Britain and creating jobs is that it says nothing about raising wages or economic security. That’s what’s fundamentally missing. If you are willing to proliferate zero-hour contracts and encourage policies that undercut wages you may claim that you’re creating jobs but you are also creating jobs that don’t support families. The question is do you have economic policies that are going to promote living wages, put people who are working hard in a position to support their families? Are you making education and training accessible to young people or are you going to make it so costly they are burdened with debt when they leave? The Tories just don’t look at the British economy through the lens of everyday people. They don’t have a kitchen table philosophy of economics and that’s why the recovery hasn’t reached kitchen tables around Britain.”

That’s 145 words. In the same interview Axelrod admits “my colleagues” deal with Labour rather than him. No kidding…

Axed: 90 Days Since Obama Guru Spun for Labour

David Axelrod

David Axelrod is really earning his crust from Labour, telling a book-promoting interview that he’s retiring from campaigning: “I’m not going back on that circuit. It’s exhilarating, it’s addictive, but it’s not good for you. I’m done”. With his comments picked up by the Sun this morning, and sure to wind up already tetchy Labour MPs, Guido has crunched the numbers. Today it has been 90 days since Axelrod even bothered to mention his star British client on Twitter. He was reportedly in London for a brief visit in December, but is embarking on a book tour around the USA for the duration of the British election campaign. Worth every penny…

Axelrod Can’t Even Spell Miliband

Was it revenge for calling him Alexrod? At least he didn’t call him David.

 UPDATE: He’s also following the wrong Miliband Twitter account:

What Exactly is Axelrod Here to Win for Labour?

20140516-085926.jpg

Labour have focussed on what really matters in this morning’s papers; briefing out every single detail of David Axelrod’s movements and first meeting with the Shadow Cabinet to the Times, FT and Guardian. However it is unclear from the spoon-fed lines whether his warning that “people are working harder and getting nowhere” is about the British people or Labour themselves.

All this begs the question, what is Axelrod actually here to achieve? Do Labour want him to win the election or merely the odd news cycle? Is this a gimmick that gets them a bit of coverage, or is he actually here to restructure their sprawling organisational mess and install some much needed discipline? This morning it looks like it is much more about PR than anything else…

Wee Dougie Not Letting Axelrod Out of His Sight

The Labour fan-boys will be pleased to know where they can spot their guru:

Given his hourly rate, would it not be more cost effective to send someone else to get his packed lunch?

Guido hears that it was actually Caxton Street branch near the St. Ermine’s Hotel and Axelrod was being escorted by Douglas Alexander and four others. Presumably they were worried he might try do a runner under the pretence of popping out for sandwich. “TAXI! …Heathrow please.” 

Wheels Coming Off Labour Axel …rod

Dan Hodges has more on the high speed separation of the wheels from Labour’s axel… rod:

“The election campaign is being managed by Spencer Livermore, who is trying to sell the whole package via classical New Labour hard marketing techniques. His colleague, Douglas Alexander, has reportedly been banished to Scotland as scapegoat for the disintegration of Labour’s Euro election campaign. Michael Dugher, one of the party’s most accomplished campaigners, has been shunted off into the murky world of political black ops, managing the party’s “SEAL” attack team. The rest of shadow cabinet have simply vanished without a trace. 

When David Axelrod, the former Obama strategist, arrives for his first meetings with his new employers today, he could be forgiven for thinking he just walked into a lunatic asylum. “Where’s that guy who hired me?”. “Douglas? He’s off polling the Gorbals”. But he won’t have walked into an asylum. He’ll have walked into Ed Miliband’s Labour Party.

How long before a Labour MP breaks cover to moan on the airwaves? Guido’s money is on before PMQs tomorrow…

Knives Out for Wee Dougie as Insiders Pray For Axe Swing

Labour insiders have confessed that they are “confused and worried” about where the party’s message is going after last week’s PEB and poster. “We’re all over the place” says one, adding “our messaging is not working”. Staffers are questioning why the party are spending over £300,000 on Axelrod when such terrible ideas can be signed off. “None of this adds up.” And where was the yank campaigning genius when it was all going wrong? Finishing writing a book. Axelrod’s arrival in the UK is imminent for a two day briefing on British politics. Something tellingly required if you are from Chicago, compared to, say,  Australia. Only the Labour Party could end up paying for the pleasure of teaching their own guru rather than the other way round.

The finger of blame for last week’s clusterf**k is being pointed at Labour’s election coordinator Douglas Alexander for his stubborn refusal to “take the fight to UKIP”, instead focussing on the LibDems. Guido hears a row has broken out with attack dog Michael Dugher, who wants to train Labour’s fire on the party with 29% in the EU polls rather than the one on 9%. Dugher, speaking with unmelted butter in his mouth, tells Guido “we are beautifully aligned”.

Meanwhile, as revealed in yesterday’s Sun, Alexander’s enemies are wondering out loud why he got the top election job after losing two campaigns in Scotland, coordinating Labour’s loss in 2010 and then running David Miliband’s doomed leadership campaign. “Presumably he must have won his seat selection vote once” whispers a catty colleague.

As if by magic, Alexander was booked into yesterday’s Sunday Politics, where he was pummelled with a blunt instrument. Not only did he try to suggest that claims the Tories deliberately targeted disabled people were “factual” but also having a naked Nick Clegg eaten by a giant cat is not negative campaigning. His defence of the VAT poster fell apart pretty quickly too:

Alexander crumbled at the suggestion the VAT hike really has added £450 a year to average shopping basket. For that to be true the average family would have to be spending £21,600 a year on items that are 20% VATable. However average take home pay is less than £20,000 and an average family spends a large percentage of their income on zero rated food, travel, housing or low rated energy. It is inconceivable, even with welfare top ups, that an “average” family could spend £21,600 on 20% VATable goods. When Alexander was presented with this yesterday he moved the goalposts, suggesting that the cost would be over the course of the last Parliament. Which is not what his colleagues were saying:

You could forgive Axelrod for getting straight back on the plane and never coming back.

UPDATE: An sharp eared reader points out that at 3.19 in the above video Dougie himself says the £450 refers to a year before later attempting to say that it was “not an annualised figure”. Eek.

Read Guido’s Column in the Sun on Sunday Online

In today’s Sun on Sunday column Guido exclusively reveals that the Conservatives have received their largest donation ever under Cameron. Find out who cleared their debts exclusively in The Sun.

sun-twitter-promo-AXELROD

Don’t miss out on all the latest gossip, including:

  • Labour infighting over Dougie Alexander’s strategy of attacking LibDems rather than UKIP – “confused and worried”, “We’re all over the place… Our messaging is not working.”
  • Dubious expense claiming to the end – Tim Yeo’s claim rejected, Charlie Kennedy’s too
  • Where was David Axelrod this week?
  • Ed Miliband is a fan of the old “mass debater” pun

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Quote of the Day

David Axelrod on trade unions:

“I don’t think huge funders, Right or Left, who singlehandedly eclipse the spending of parties & candidates are healthy for democracy.”

Black and White Bun Fight

The reaction to Labour’s comedy PEB has been almost unanimously negative, yet the LibDems have felt compelled to hit back with some rapid rebuttal:

Guido hears there were some division internally about the Labour ad spot. Did Axelrod sign that off then?

Pfizer’s FixersAxelrod Hamstrings Another Labour Attack Opportunity

Pfizer are turning out to be just about as well-connected as you would expect a major multinational pharmaceutical corporation to be. They are well in with Downing Street having paid No. 10 director of external relations Gabby Bertin £25,000 when she worked with Adam Werrity at Liam Fox’s struck off Atlantic Bridge ‘charity’.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

David Gauke rejects Corbyn as a ‘national unity PM’

If anyone thinks the answer is Jeremy Corbyn, I think they’re probably asking the wrong question.

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