That's how one person describes the role of former University of Montana student and current Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina in a new Politico profile. The story essentially puts the fate of the White House in Messina's hands, and, while describing him as "D.C.'s alpha fixer," identifies a key question:
Democrats wonder whether Messina can make the leap from trusted No. 2 to the much more challenging role of running what is likely to be the costliest, most complicated reelection bid in modern history.
If you're interested in the answer, plenty of anonymous insiders speak both positively and negatively about his chances. There's also an interesting nugget about Messina overseeing the creation of "a massive, and secret, microtargeting and computer modeling program geared at getting to voters through social media or targeted messaging." (Google is involved.)
Perhaps more interesting to Montanans will be some of the profile's insight into Messina's working relationship with his former boss and "surrogate father of sorts," Sen. Max Baucus. For instance, Messina reportedly "pleaded with" Baucus to speed up his committee's deliberations over a bipartisan health care bill before Democrats lost their veto-proof majority. It didn't work. Writes Politico:
Many congressional Democrats still blame Messina for not squeezing Baucus, but White House officials say it wasn’t Messina’s fault and that Reid, the Senate majority leader, personally pushed Obama to give the Montana Democrat more time. And Messina, who handled the Senate arm-twisting while Emanuel worked his former House colleagues, was a key architect of the reconciliation strategy that finally led to the bill’s passage.
There's more, including some background on Messina's work in Senate races in Montana. Read the full story here.