Jim Messina, who managed the Obama campaigns in 2008 and 2012, was on Saturday night dealing with allegations – first made in 2002, repeated in 2012 and now being retold on Twitter – that he was behind what has become known as the most homophobic political advert in US history. Messina was unveiled as a consultant to the Tory party on Friday.
The damaging allegations date from Messina’s time as chief of staff for Democrat senator Max Baucus of Montana, just over a decade ago. He allegedly put together a political advert in which a rival candidate, Mike Taylor, was shown applying lotion to a man’s face, then appearing to reach towards the man’s groin, while a voiceover said: “Not the way we do business in Montana.”
The footage of Taylor had been taken from an advert for the politician’s hairdressing business. The Denver Post reported at the time: “Only the most naive adult would miss the implication that Taylor is a homosexual … The supposedly inclusive Democrats deftly played on the right’s homophobia.”
After the advert aired, Taylor dropped out of the election, which Baucus won.
- Jim Messina and “the single most infamous congressional ad in contemporary history” (libdemvoice.org)
- British Conservatives hire Democrat Messina as adviser (billingsgazette.com)
- Tories hire key Obama strategist (bbc.co.uk)
- Jim Messina signs on as campaign adviser to Conservatives – in Britain (washingtonpost.com)