US adviser helps candidate win Panama presidency

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FILE- In this April 25, 2014 file photo, Juan Carlos Varela, presidential candidate for the Panamenista Party, waves to supporters during a campaign caravan through Arraijan on the outskirts of Panama City. Varela owes a debt of gratitude to a former adviser to John McCain’s ill-fated 2008 White House run for his come from behind victory in Panama’s presidential election. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco, File)PANAMA CITY (AP) — It was billed as a battle royal between Latin America’s top two spin doctors. In one corner, the campaign guru to such towering leftist leaders as Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. In the other, a strategist likened to Karl Rove who is credited with helping return the Institutional Revolutionary Party to power in Mexico after a 12-year-absence.