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Man of the Moment

In the weeks before and since the 2012 presidential election, the grassroots technology infrastructure built by President Barack Obama’s campaign team has been credited with changing the future of politics in America.

The man behind those groundbreaking tactics: UM alum Jim Messina.

Messina served as Obama’s deputy chief of staff during his first term and stepped up as his campaign manager for the hard-fought 2012 election. He’s been hailed as the “most powerful man in Washington you’ve never heard of” and the mastermind behind the social data-driven campaign that broke the mold.

Talk to Messina for more than a few minutes and you’ll quickly learn he’s a Griz, and proud of it. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1993, and in 2009 UM awarded him a journalism degree after a review revealed he’d fulfilled those credit requirements as well.

Messina started in politics at a young age. As an undergraduate at UM, he led Missoula Mayor Dan Kemmis’ successful campaign. From there he went to work for U.S. Senator Max Baucus and other political players around the country, all the way up to the White House. But he never forgot his roots in Montana.

Since the election, Messina has made headlines around the nation and the world. In mid-November, he came back for the 112th Griz-Cat football game, and took time to sit down with Montana Public Radio News Director Sally Mauk. Listen to her interview and read more about Messina, his work and his Griz pride:

Montana Public Radio: Feature Interview with Jim Messina (Nov. 16, 2012)

Politico: Jim Messina: President Obama built biggest grassroots campaign (Nov. 20, 2012) 

Sydney Morning Herald: The man behind The Man (Nov. 8, 2012)

The Independent: Jim Messina: The most powerful person in Washington you’ve never heard of (Nov. 3,2012) 

BusinessWeek: Obama's CEO: Jim Messina Has a President to Sell (June 14, 2012)