By: Kenneth P. Vogel and Ben Smith
American political consultants are hard at work in Ukraine. This fascinating article can be read in its entirety on www.politico.com/news/stories/1109/29410.html.
“In Kiev and Kharkiv and other cities in Ukraine, American political consultants who worked against one another in Iowa and New Hampshire and then in the general election are facing off again in a somewhat surreal Eastern European replay of the 2008 campaign.
The firm headed by Hillary Clinton’s former chief strategist, Mark Penn, is helping run incumbent President Victor Yushchenko’s campaign. Meanwhile Paul Manafort, whose firm worked on Republican John McCain’s losing effort, and Tad Devine, a top strategist on the Democratic presidential campaigns of Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, are consulting for Victor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian frontrunner in the polls.
For Penn, Manafort and Devine, foreign elections have been a lucrative source of business for years. But for the Chicago-based media consulting firm AKPD, the contract to help guide Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s campaign is part of a new, growth area of business that presented itself after the firm helped Barack Obama win the White House last fall.
Also assisting Tymoshenko is John Anzalone, a pollster who worked on the Obama campaign. And Obama’s lead pollster in the campaign, Joel Benenson, also worked briefly in Ukraine this year, helping supporters of a rival presidential candidate, former Parliament speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who courted comparisons with Obama (and whose billboards bear a faint resemblance to the iconic posters of Obama by Shepard Fairey).”