WAGES OF SPIN

Obama Consultants Go Overseas

In a bizarre riff on the 2008 election seasons, Ukraine is being flooded with former consultants from the Clinton, McCain, and Obama campaigns as its presidential race moves closer to the finish line. While some of incumbent Victor Yuschenko's advisers, including Mark Penn (formerly Hillary Clinton's chief strategist) and Paul Manafort (once a McCain consultant), are longtime veterans of the overseas election-consulting business, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has enlisted the help of a relative newcomer: media consulting firm AKPD, founded by top Obama aide David Axelrod. Since his campaign's November win, AKPD and other Obama campaign advisers have been consulting in elections in Argentina, Bulgaria, Romania, Israel, and Britain as candidates there hope to gain something from a connection to Obama. For political consultants, the pay overseas is generally higher, and a loss is less damaging to a firm's reputation.