James Rubin (b. 1960, New York) is a lobbyist and PR operative who was based in London between 2001 and 2004.
Rubin served under Bill Clinton as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs from 1997 to May 2000. The Secretary of State also appointed him to be the Department's Chief Spokesman. Prior to this, he was a spokesman for the Clinton/Gore '96 Campaign. From May 1993 until 1996, Rubin served as Senior Adviser and Spokesman for U.S. Representative to the United Nations, Madeleine K. Albright. From 1989-1993, he was a Professional Staff Member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Senior Foreign Policy Adviser to Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE). Rubin is a Visiting Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics. He lives in London with his wife, Christiane Amanpour.
In 2001, Alan Parker, the CEO of the Brunswick Group, recruited Rubin to its political affairs unit. Rubin left the Brunswick group in 2004 to become the foreign policy adviser for Senator John Kerry during his presidential campaign.
A partisan on air
On December 22, 2004, James Rubin hosted the BBC World programme Hard Talk, in which he interviewed the anti-war playwright Harold Pinter. During the interview, Rubin, though in the role of anchor for the programme, stated that he was "defending" the American position. Hosting a BBC programme might be considered an inappropriate assignment of a current lobbyist, a former US State Department senior official, and someone associated with AIPAC-affiliated organizations. Other programmes in this series interviewed Saeb Erekat and Shimon Peres.
On 12 September, 2005, the British-based news channel, Sky News, announced that Rubin would join the network as anchor of its new international show – World News Tonight.
Rubin on spin
In 2001 Rubin lectured on "Conflict in the Media: A Spokesman Looks at the Middle East Crisis" organised by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies. The Jaffee Center website states:
- Speaking before a standing-room audience, Mr. Rubin noted that, to be effective, a spokesperson must be able to put out a 'mixed message' to the media, one that covers all aspects of policy. There is no magic to 'spin' he said, rather 'spin' was about substance. In this day and age of instantaneous mass communications it is impossible to get different messages out to different countries at the same time. A mixed message that catered to all was the key to success. Had President Clinton's message after the failure of the Camp David talks been less unequivocally critical of Yasser Arafat, he said, things today might be different.
During the 2004 presidential election, Rubin was a foreign affairs spokesman for John Kerry. Before the elections, Rubin was the spokesman who stated that Kerry would also have invaded Iraq in 2003 and would urge and increase in troop levels. Rubin's statements were not contradicted, and effectively undermined Kerry's campaign by suggesting that there was virtually no difference between the Democrats and Republicans.