02/08/2013 Newsnight


Analysis of the stories behind the headlines. Including, why is Obama's election man going to work for David Cameron, and Shimon Peres on his 90th birthday. With Anita Anand.

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Jim Messina led Barack Obama back to the White House, he's a lifelong


Democrat. Ladies and gentlemen the re-elected President of the United


States. And now he's coming here to work for David Cameron. If a man


like this is willing to work for Team Cameron, what does that say


about Team Miliband, Allegra broke the story. This is shaping up to be


the longest campaign in British electoral history, but is only one


side preparing. And what links Jane Austen with an American Pop Idol.


The answer Kelly Clarkson, who has bought Jane's ring at auction, she


can't take it out of the country. Is it our pride or prejudice. And


Shimon Peres, the man with the strange power to turn Tony Blair


into Maureen Lipman. It's his birthday, he's 90, now he's


President, what comes next? After a lifetime fighting for Zionism, we


ask the Israeli president about the odds of peace in his time? British


politics seems to be turning slowly into the Premier League, dominated


by expensive foreign stars. We can reveal that Barack Obama's campaign


manager, Jim Messina, is the latest high-profile signing. With the long


and gruelling election campaign on the way the Lib Dems are being led


by a South Africa, the Tories from an Australian with help from his


new American friend. With Labour? By no-one at the moment. Our


political editor got the story. First time round was one thing, but


getting re-elected the second time round was quite something again.


One man devoted his every waking hour to that task, this man, at the


microphone. Ladies and gentlemen the re-elected President of the


United States Barack Obama. The man that got President Obama re-elected


is about to try to do the same for David Cameron. Newsnight can reveal


that President Obama's campaign manager is now joining the


Conservatives' 2015 general election team. Jim Messina has an


impressive CV and boasts never having lost an election. But it is


simpler than that, he got the most powerful man in the world re-


elected and David Cameron wants a piece of that. Jim Messina is a


lifelong Democrat, a political campaigner while at university, by


2008 he had been made deputy Chief of Staff in President Obama's White


House. He was described as the most powerful man you have never heard


of. But it is campaigning not governing that excites Messina. In


2011 President Obama asked Messina to leave the White House in order


to get the whole team back in the election of 2012. Messina decamped


to Chicago. I wanted to take a minute...The Re-election strategy


involved with communicating with vast numbers of activists through


regular video memos like this one. Hi everyone, it is Jim Messina, the


President's campaign manager. I wanted to spend a minute talking to


you about what we are building on the ground and give you a behind


the scenes look at the maps. Messina of the architect of that


effort. What he did was he and the rest of the Obama team built one of


the most robust turnout operations in the history of presidential


politics. Essentially they went out and found anyone who was even


remotely inclined to support him through e-mails and social media


and just actually canvasing on the ground and communities throughout


the country. They were able to I want you to have a quick update.


That is one part of the Messina mix, part-geek, will you about part-


political assassin. Look at this attack ad. # Oh beautiful # Forever


waves of grey. Messina told President Obama that the 2012


election would not resemble the hopey-changey thing of 2008.


America # America This time they had to get


their hands dirty. There is a pap port between the


Tories and the Democrats. David Cameron flew to the states in 2012,


attending this basketball match in the swing seat of Ohio, it was


basically an endorsement trip. America is also one of the very few


countries that has re-elected its Government since the economic


crisis. This is something the Replicate. Tonight Tories are


insisting Messina reports to campaign strategy with Lynton


Crosby, sending advice to him from America. Cross Over controls the


message, Messina the technique. This division of labour may not


last, but right now the pressure is on the opposition. This evening one


of my Labour sources said the party had been spooked by the appointment


of Jim Messina. That their leader has been caught woefully short.


Where as David Cameron has a multitude of general election


advisers hailing from all sides of the political spectrum, Ed Miliband


currently has none. I'm going to bring Jim Messina back up. Punching


home how critical hard facts are to a successful campaign, Messina is


fond of saying "we have the math, they have the myth". Now the Tory


Party has both. A man with mythical status who loves his maths. Allegra


is here now. Is this really a game- changer? It has sent shockwaves


through Westminster, even though Westminster is actually in exodus


in different parts of the world on holiday. I actually had within


minutes of our story breaking somebody contact me from their


poolside on holiday to vent. A Labour source saying this is


outrageous, we have no campaign manager, where as they basically


have two or maybe more however you count them. And since Tom Watson


resigned from his role a few months back this has been an obviously


vacant role that has not been filled. There is real fury in


Labour ranks. Even amongst loyalists to Ed Miliband, people


have close to him, they do acknowledge that Messina's skills


are really, really rather awesome and that they haven't yet got


anybody yet to fill that role. can talk further about this. We are


joined from New York by Ben Smith the Editor in Chief of Skup --


buzzfeed.com, and here in the studio with Dan Hodges who writes


for the Telegraph and Statesman. Can I start with you Ben, there is


quite a bit of hype around this man, does he live up to it? He's


American and political operative. Not from the high-end Washington


grand strategy but really from rural Montana where he came up


doing hard-fought knife-night local races. He got in trouble for


running essentially anti-gay ed ands against a Democratic rival out


there. He was not the ideas or message of the Obama operation, he


was the guy who managed the campaign in 2008 behind the scenes.


In 2012 he took over and ran the details of an incredibly


sophisticated campaign. He put a lot of faith in big data, not so


much in communicating on the Internet but using the data to


understand who the voters were. There is a campaign for labour


writing to Obama about how unhappy they are of him going to work for


the Tories. Would he have done this with President Obama's permission?


There is no doubt. That is hugely significant? It is, I think what's


concerning the Labour people is there is now a real sense of a sort


of feeling of men against boys as we enter the election running. The


significant thing about Messina's appointment which sits alongside


the appointment of Lynton Crosby. Is what you see from the Tory side


is the Tories building a campaign team around senior experienced


campaign political strategists. Now Labour has been looking to beef up


its communications operation, but at the moment it is looking to


expand its press team. I think there is a real concern that Labour


has actually quite good press operations in relation to the


Tories but it doesn't have anyone to manage the grand strategy. That


is concerning people on the Labour side. It is also the tardiness of


them realising that there is an election in 2015, that seems to


have shocked a lot of people. The Tories are way ahead, they are


starting now. When will Labour get into gear on this? That is the


question, we have certainly seen from the start of the year, the


year started with a lot of people effectively writing off the Tories,


as the years has gone on, since Lynton Crosby has come on board, we


have seen the Tories nailing down issue after issue after issue, from


the economy to welfare. We have seen Labour's double-digit poll


lead narrowing, and people on the Labour side are questioning whether


Labour will be in the game in a year or 18 months time.


mentioned Ben that his is this geeky magic, he likes big data and


big bucks. Let's not forget how much they spent on their campaign.


We neither have that kind of money in our campaigns or that sea of


data he likes to mine so much. How much use will he be? I think lot of


the data is available on Facebook in commercial databases in all the


places they looked in, with the Obama campaign building early. It


is hard to see how the British operation could afford the tens of


millions of dollars that Obama spent over the course of a couple


of years putting together a database of voters and activating


them. That is a real difference. Democrats care a fig whether one of


their shining stars is coming over here to work for the Conservatives?


I don't think there are many voters turning on Obama because of who he


supports. Part of his appeal has been generational, that is a link


to Cameron, that he's a new generation figure. It is


interesting that people can be spooked so quickly by the mention


of this name. Let's look at some of the examples, David Axlrod he was


Bill Clinton's adviser, he went to work for Mario Monti and he limped


in fourth position, it is not the magic wand? It is not, all the


political parties are chasing the Holy Grail of the Obama-style


campaign, it is difficult to run that without Obama. Also, although


this has sent shockwaves through the dispersed Westminster


establishment as Allegra said, there is a danger to overstate this.


Political campaigns at the end of the day are won by the principals


rather than the advisers. People always say where would Tony Blair


have been without Alastair Campbell or Peter Mandelson. But the truth


is where would Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell be without Tony


Blair. The problem for Labour's perspective if you stand Cameron


against Ed Miliband at the moment, that is not reassuring many people


on the Labour side either. To you Ben Smith, how will he work with


another silverback, another alpha male in the shape of Lynton Crosby.


He has worked with significant figures in America, I'm thinking of


Rahm Emmanuel, zees he work well with people with sharp elbows?


Messina has always been the mechanic or deputy to these


strategists who are close to the principal. David Axlrod was


communicating with Obama and setting the strategy, and Messina


was executing it, that was his role. Thank you very much indeed. She


liked it, she paid for it, but she can't have it. Not if the British


Government has its way any way. A row is brewing over the fate of a


ring that once belonged to the British author, Jane Austen, she of


Pride and Prejudice and �10 fame. The American popstar Kelly Clarkson


bought it at auction last year, she paid �150,000 for it. But the


Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, has put an export bar on the ring to


stop it leaving the UK. # My life


# Would suck # Without you It was a line that Mr


Darcey never used, but even without Jane Austen's modern literary


tongue, recent adaptations of her work have been as regular as


flirtatious dances at a high society dance. Nothing symbolises


Jane Austen's position as national treasure, quite as much as the Bank


of England's recent announcement to use her face on the �10 note. Has


all this veneration gone too far. Some feel the Government's decision


to stop Kelly Clarkson taking one of Jane Austen's rings out of the


country, pending a UK bid is well bad manners, quite frankly but for


now if you live in the UK and you have �150,000 lying around, you


could own a piece of British history. Oh and ruin the day of a


global superstar while you are at it. I'm joined by two historians,


Kate Williams who has a Gollum-like fascination to hang on to the ring,


and my other guest who doesn't care where it goes as long as it has a


good home. Why is it so important that we hang on to it? It is a ring


that is really vital. Austen had a modest lifestyle, she didn't have


many items. There were only three pieces of jewellery she had and


this is one of them. It is so vital to know her as a person and see the


things she had around her. We know she had this, she passed to her


"dear Cassandra" whom she wrote to so much. This had a massive impact


on her imagination, as a wriert the things around you have an impact.


It is such a lovely love story, there is this man who loves this


woman, Kelly Clarkson, who loves Jane Austen, so she goes and has


the ring from him. Jane Austen would have approved of that


wouldn't she? I do feel for poor Kelly Clarkson, obviously she


bought the ring at auction and expected to have it. This happens a


lot, there are a lot of export bans on items the British Government


believe belong here in an institution and they put them out.


If nobody can give the �150,000 Kelly can keep it for herself, she


has agreed to sell it, but she accepts the fact it might have to


stay in the UK. We have seen a lot of things overseas because money


couldn't be raised, expensive things that cost millions. �150,000


is not that much. For me the estimate for this was about �30,000,


we should have thought more carefully before putting it on sale


to offer it to anyone who wanted it. Why are you so much more relaxed


about this? Because I don't think this is a national treasure sure. I


think these are the sort of things we bandy about the terms of things


we need to keep, perhaps if we were talking about a Turner I would feel


differently or her manuscripts, this is just a trinket that she


owned. But one of three, she didn't have much bling has was said?


don't know her as a fashion icon but as a writer. This is not


relevant really to the story. I think actually the question of you


know which historic items we want to hold on to, there has only been


three temporary export bans apart from this, all random things. At


the same time there is a question about ownership, she has fairly


legally procured this and paid for it. If the Government felt so


strongly about it and it was so important to keep it they should


have intervened to stop the sale or purchase it. It is interesting


isn't it, if you believe this should stay in Britain because of


the British heritage, we have museums filled with stuff that


belongs to other countries. The Queen in her own Treasury has a


large diamond the Indians would like back. If you carry that to its


conclusion and someone has a passionate link why send them all


back? I wouldn't disagree we have to engage carefully with what we


have in our museums, and whether or not things like the Elgin Marbles


should go back. These are important questions we have to deal with as a


wider question with heritage. For me this is a vital part of her life.


Nowadays we are throw-away about our objects, we have objects around


us, we recycle them or put them on Ebay. In the 18th century we had


few things, even the upper middle- classes had few items. What they


did have was vested with a huge amount of significance, in Austen's


novels the objects are invested with so much significance, there is


a whole section in Mansfield Park where Fanny bonders for pages about


which change to wear. That is because rings, objects, items were


vital to women of Austen's time. Even though we haven't writing


about it in a book, it would have impacted a lot on her creative


imagination. That is an exposure of the woman she was. She's enigmatic,


it is hard to know much about her, because she put her heart and soul


into her books. Do you understand why she inhabits the place that


Kate describes, why she is on the �10 note? I understand that and I


understand the point about material possessions, but I think this is a


political argument. This isn't toe do with the value of this object.


This is about the fact that she has been put on the �10. In practice


actually this object it doesn't have that great cultural


significance to us. The point you raised about the Elgin Marbles you


raised is crucial, this is posturing to say we have to keep


the things that are our's and not our's as well. It is greedy above


all things and hypocritical. I just wonder whether I detect somewhere


in your voice feeling that maybe she's a little overrated is that


why you are quite as laissez faire about it? I'm not laissez faire


about historical objects at all, I like Persuasion particularly and


like Jane Austen very much. I think the heart of this isn't about


whether this is the care for the historic object, of course these


things must go where they are going to be cared for and preserved,


completely agree with that. That is not what's at stake here, what is


at stake is a question about nationalism and investing national


pride in an object that has actually been legally procured when


some of the other objects we were talking about were not. I hear you


are starting a whip round? I am, and lots of people joining in, and


saying let's go for it and join together. Obviously if it was going


to �29 million I wouldn't have a chance, but if someone comes


forward with �150,000 they have to give it to an institution for 100


days of the year, so it will be shown for 100 days of the year. To


me this is a vital national object and it shows a lot about one of our


greatest authors. President Shimon Peres is the


world's oldest head of state. He has served as his country's Prime


Minister twice in his own right and once as interim Prime Minister. It


has been a long political career which has seen the one-time hawk


who helped establish Israel's nuclear programme turn into a dove.


Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 after signing the Oslo accord.


As he celebrates his 90th birthday, we travelled to Israel to ask what


he thought of his legacy and whether he believed the chances for


a two-state solution had life in them yet?


# Happy birthday to you # Happy birthday


Reaching 90 is a landmark for anyone. But the birthday party for


this President was something else. A spectacle. His friends and family


came from far and wide. It is his birthday, he's 90, now he's


President, what comes next? Well, we in Britain have our Queen and


you have your Shimon. Shimon Peres was born in what was


then Poland in 1923. The son of a librarian and timber merchant. His


family migrated to the Middle East in 1934 during the British mandate


of Palestine. It wasn't long before he stood with the men tasked it


with building the state of Israel. Includinging its first leader,


David Ben-Gurion. At 29 Peres became the youngest-


ever Director General of the Defence Ministry. It became his


mission, building Israel's military might. I did what was the most


essential thing, they say I was buying out, I was buying life.


you played a key role as Director General of the military it was


absolutely important that Israel developed as a military power in


the region? Yes, to defend ourselves, we were alone. Nobody


came on to our side. We were 650,000 people. There are 40


million Arabs, we are outgunned, outnumbers. The country was poor,


no land, no water, no houses. What should we have done? People speak


as though you have a choice, we didn't have a choice.


Today Israel has the most advanced military in the Middle East.


Including figure air power. The man who bought the first plane is still


ring side. When another class of airmen and women graduate. Even on


days when Israel's talking about making peace it is showing off its


formidable defences, that is what it has always been here. Not just


about peace, but peace and security. The two have always been left-wing


-- linked in the life of Shimon Peres. He was a hawk as long as


there was a danger to Israel. I didn't change, the situation


changed, if somebody wants to kill you you are a hawk, if somebody


wants to make peace with you you are a dove, as simple as that.


In the early years the hawk prevailed. Peres was the driving


force behind the construction of a highly-secretive nuclear site in


the late 50s. He did it despite fierce opposition at home and


abroad. To this day Israel has still not officially confirmed the


extent of its nuclear capability. You pushed almost singlehandedly to


give Israel that nuclear power. What happened? Where is the


opposition? And now ...You Feel vindicated now? I really tried to


build a nuclear option in order to get peace. Not to get bombs. And I


think it achieved the purpose. I think peace started because some


people thought that we have things that we don't have or may have it


doesn't matter. I never thought in military terms. So this is Shimon


Peres's view on it, you can make peace as long as you are sure that


Israel can win any war? No that Israel, but our enemies came to the


conclusion they cannot destroy us. In its 65 years Israel has gone to


war in every decade. Done battle against Arab neighbours and


Palestinians. Always insisting it acted in self-defence. Always


accused of aggression and occupation. But two decades ago the


guns fell silent. At least for a moment. Trying to make peace became


the best defence against war. we are doing today is more than


signing an agreement. It is a revolution. Yesterday a dream today


a commitment. September 1993 and enemies came together on the White


House lawn. Israeli and Palestinian loaders put their signatures to the


Oslo accords. An interim deal on sharing the land, intended to move


them towards a more peaceful co- existence. Both Prime Minister


Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister, Peres, had made a strategic shift.


But two decades on the two sides still haven't signed a final peace


deal. And the US is still trying to broker one. Now it's thek Secretary


of State John Kerry who is doing the shuttling. For the Palestinians


involved in this protracted process settlement building remains a major


obstacle. Mr Peres's greatest mistake was to show tolerance to


settlers. Very unfortunate. They felt they could have both. Shimon


Peres thought they could have settlements and peace. Mr Peres you


can't. I have told him many times, the choice is between settlements


or peace? Some of the first Jewish settlements in the West Bank were


built when Peres was Defence Minister, settlement building on


occupied land is regarded as illegal under international law,


but it has never stopped. Recent Israeli Government figures show


construction is at a seven-year high. Those who listen to you


talking about peace expect you to be more critical of settlement


building. They look back saying the first settlements were built on


your watch, some of the first in the 1970s? When my party lost there


were in Israel 22 settlements with, I think, 6,000 people. So it was


building settlements. When you compare the 6 ,000 to 350,000.


Palestinians say you can't discuss the land for a Palestinian state


while Israel continues to build settlements on it. How do you


reconcile that contradiction? are solutions. First of all the


Palestinians agreed there will be three blocks. There are Jewish


settlers on the West Bank and they can remain, that was a proposal


introduced by President Clinton, it was right and acceptable. And you


know in my experience negotiations are not trading, negotiations are


creating, namely to have new solutions. The search for new


solutions is what drives the new peace talks that have just started


in Washington. Peres watches this closely. But in his role as


President there is only so much he can do.


In your relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu, do you truly believe


that he shares your idea of a two- state solution? He didn't start


with the two-state solution, you know, the Likud was not for the


two-state solution. For me his declaration that he is for a two-


state solution is at least an ideolgical step forward, which I


appreciate. But he doesn't have a kind of cabinet that can make peace.


Most of it is against the two-state solution? Look he is running his


party and his considerations. Maybe I look upon it differently, so


what? Look I can do what I can do, there is no dictator in our country.


I can't give orders. My wish is really peace between two peoples


who deserve it, who need it, who can do it. Many say time is running


out to make peace. Now in the twilight of his career, Shimon


Peres may never achieve his life's ambition. He knows that. But it


won't stop him from trying. So it can be done, in your time? Yes,


sure. That's all we have time for, have a


Hello there, it may not be the headline you would like for the


weekend, but we are back to sunny spells and scattered showers. The


showers isolated first thing on Saturday, persistent rain up into


the far North West and here a stronger wind. By the middle of the


afternoon we will still have a scattering of showers across


Northern Ireland and Scotland. Sheltered eastern areas should see


the best of the breaks in the cloud and the dryer weather and


temperatures reflecting this with 18-19. Largely fine and dry with


decent shun shine. A pleasant feel to things, a breeze in the north of


England. Showers more organised in bands stretching across the


Midlands and towards the north of London. Sandwiched either side


there will be sunshine and warmth. Here the temperatures into the mid-


20s, some of the showers down through the south west could be


fairly potent, maybe with the odd rumble of thunder, as in the


southern part of Wales. With the showers you may be lucky and escape


them and enjoy decent sunshine. The showers will continue to fade away


during Saturday. A quiet night and the best of the sunshine to come on


Sunday through sheltered eastern areas. A few more showers to the


North West, more organised rain arriving to the extreme south-west


Why is Obama's election guy going to work for Cameron? Should Jane Austen's ring be sold to America? And Israeli president Shimon Peres on his 90th birthday.

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