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Obama manager: Watch for Christie, Bush, Kasich

Jim Messina, President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, says that Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and John Kasich are the presidential candidates to watch on the Republican side. 

{mosads}”I think [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie could potentially be a very strong general election candidate, obviously [former Florida Gov.] Jeb Bush is the flavor of the week,” Messina said on MSNBC’s “Ronan Farrow Daily.” “I think the country suffered during the first two Bush administrations, I can’t imagine them wanting a third, but I know everyone’s looking at him. I think John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, would be an interesting candidate. So those are the three that I think make sense.”

Messina is now co-chairman of the super-PAC Priorities USA Action, which is working to elect Hillary Clinton. He pointed to the more moderate candidates as being better-suited for the general election, but added that they have problems getting through the conservative voters in Republican primaries.

“[In 2012,] the guy that we were always most afraid of was Jon Huntsman, the governor of Utah, who I think would be a smashingly great general election candidate,” Messina said. “You and I have the same chance he does of getting the Republican nomination for president.”

On the Democratic side, Messina took a small jab at liberal groups that are urging Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to challenge Clinton from the left. 

“I love Elizabeth Warren, she’s one of the people that I most respect,” he said. “She’s made it very clear that she’s not running for president. Everyone can sign all the letters they want, she’s not running.”

“I think she understands that we need to make sure a Democrat replaces President Obama and the best candidate for that is Hillary Clinton,” he added.

Messina mentioned former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) as among the possible contenders.

“Look, we’ll have a primary,” he said. “No one’s saying that no one’s going to run against Hillary Clinton, but I think it’s clear that she will be the Democratic nominee.”

“It’s her turn, I think it’s her time, I think she would be the right leader for this country moving forward and we’re going to do whatever it takes to make sure she’s the president of the United States,” he said of Clinton. 

Like many Democrats, Messina spoke out against the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, allowing for super-PACs that raise and spend unlimited funds. 

“I run a super-PAC and I think they should be outlawed tomorrow,” he said. “But if [Republicans are] going to have that kind of money, I’m going to push back and I’m going to push for the ideals I believe in.”

He said a constitutional amendment or changes to the makeup to the Supreme Court are the best ways to fight the decision.

Messina is also currently working on the reelection campaign of British Prime Minister David Cameron, and praised the stricter British campaign finance rules.  

“They have higher turnout and I think a better system than our system, where we had to raise and spend $1.1. billion to win a presidential campaign,” he said.   

Tags Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren Hillary Clinton
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