Former European Union commissioner Mario Monti has hired one of President Barack Obama’s top campaign strategists, David Axelrod, to advise him on his campaign for prime minister of Italy in February’s general elections, the Financial Times reported.
Axelrod was Obama’s campaign manager in the 2008 US presidential election and a senior strategist in his 2012 campaign.
It’s the first campaign for Monti, an academic and technocrat who was appointed to head an unelected government focused on saving Italy from financial meltdown in 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Monti resigned in Dec. 2012 after 13 months in office. He can get another crack at being Italy’s prime minister if the party or coalition he leads wins the election on Feb. 24 and 25.
Monti’s party has formed an alliance with the centrist UDC and Futuro Liberta parties, Italy Magazine reported.
More from GlobalPost: Mario Monti to lead Italy centrist coalition
Axelrod told the Financial Times that Monti had hired his old firm AKPD Message and Media, and said he had been dispatched “to take a look and come in for a day to meet with Monti and his team, which I did.”
Axelrod is known for his go-for-the-jugular campaigning style and, from an appearance on an Italian television show on Tuesday, it seems that Monti is a quick learner, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Acccording to the Wall Street Journal:
"Monti, who usually speaks about the balance of payments and the machinery of the European Union, ripped into Angelino Alfano, the putative candidate for premier for the People of Freedom party headed by Silvio Berlusconi, using atypically aggressive sarcasm."
“This is a battle between modern spin doctors, focus groups and opinion polls on the one hand, and old fashioned clientelistic and machine politics on the other,” James Walston of the American University of Rome remarked to the Financial Times.