by Atul Hatwal
The Tories’ tartan scare is the defining political gambit of this campaign.
Labour advisers see Lynton Crosby’s handiwork. But Crosby is not the only big name consultant, calling the shots in their campaign.
Sitting along-side Crosby, at the top table is Jim Messina, the man who masterminded President Obama’s re-election and will run Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President.
Crosby is a convenient lightning rod for Labour discontent but Messina has had a critical role in framing their strategy.
Unlike the absent David Axelrod, Labour’s own big US name hire, Messina has been a constant presence in the Tory campaign, in person and on the phone.
On Thursday he was in Conservative HQ finalising plans for the fortnight to polling day and giving the Tory campaign team a pep talk on the floor of the war room.
A sign of his status is that he operates outside of the strict media rules that govern all other consultants and advisers. Lynton Crosby’s code of omerta does not apply to Jim Messina who tweets freely about his activities.
Just had a great time addressing staff @David_Cameron Campaign HQ. Thanks team!
— Jim Messina (@Messina2012) April 23, 2015
The previous week he had been in London, reviewing the Tories’ field intelligence and focus group research on the effectiveness of the tartan scare message on their target voter groups – Ukip supporters and centrist and right-leaning Lib Dems. He even hit the phones to see the effectiveness of the messaging for himself.