Australian politician Kevin Rudd replaced his former deputy Julia Gillard as prime minister and leader of the Labor Party on 27 June 2013. Rudd previously served as prime minister from 2007 to 2010 and leader of the Labor Party from 2006 to 2010. A former diplomat and Chinese-speaker, Rudd is the first former Australian prime minister to return to office since Robert Menzies in 1949.
Australia's Kevin Rudd brings in Obama strategists
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has hired strategists from US President Barack Obama’s team to help him get re-elected, vowing on Wednesday his campaign will use the “best brains in the world”.
Rudd said the foreign consultants - said to include Tom McMahon, a former executive with the Democratic National Committee during Obama’s last year campaign - were very welcome.
Social media expert Matthew McGregor and experienced campaigner Joon Kim are also part of the team to help Rudd’s centre-left Labor Party retain office in polls later this year, the Sydney Morning Herald said.
“We’re a very broad church. We sort of take advice from wherever we will,” Rudd told reporters.
“I’ve always been a strong supporter of President Obama, both in his leadership in the world, also his message to the American people and we’ll draw upon the best brains in the world.”
He added: “They’re very welcome. We’re a very welcoming bunch here in the national campaign team of the Australian Labor Party.”
McGregor, who is British, was reportedly responsible for the digital rapid response unit which attacked Obama’s opponent Mitt Romney during the last year election, often using the presidential hopeful’s own embarrassing slip-ups.
“Matthew was one of the great unsung heroes of the campaign,” Teddy Goff, digital director of the Obama campaign, told The London Times last year. “Every video, everything we did on Twitter, every e-mail had his fingerprints on it.”
McMahon and Kim were also said to have played key roles in Obama’s campaign.
Rudd, who was reappointed leader a month ago in a bid to resurrect Labor’s chances, has yet to call an election but voters must go to the polls before November 30.
Opinion polls suggest he has clawed back support for Labor, even drawing level with the conservative opposition led by Tony Abbott in some polls.
The Liberal opposition leapt on the US recruitments, saying they highlighted that Labor was “terrific at spin but terrible at government”.
“Importing spin doctors to run negative political campaigns is another reminder for Australian voters that if you re-elect Kevin Rudd and Labor you will get three more years of division, dysfunction and chaos,” Liberal politician Jamie Briggs said.