The Labour leader's 'brush-by' with Barack Obama is designed to help fashion the image of an international statesman in waiting.
Labour leader Ed Miliband got caught out in a regional radio interview when he was unable to identify his party's local council leader.
Labour insist their plans do not amount to 'rent controls', but plans to limit rises in the private sector would still be a radical step.
Damian McBride, who was forced to resign as former prime minister Gordon Brown's adviser in 2009 after being linked to a plot to smear Tory MPs on a gossip website, said:
– Damian McBride
Labour currently has no clear idea who its target audience is, no positive messages to communicate to anyone about why they should vote for the party, no policies which will persuade them, and is being run in a totally dysfunctional way.
The former spin doctor urged Labour to acknowledge its mistakes in government and to better communicate a coherent plan for the country. He wrote:
– Damian McBride
If Labour currently has central, underlying messages that it is trying to communicate to the electorate about itself, its policies, and its leader, the best you could say at present is that it's not quite coming across.
If the message is 'We're not the Tories or the Lib Dems, and you hate them', that may work up to a point, but it won't do much for those people who would happily express their antipathy by voting for Ukip or just staying at home, let alone those who hate Labour as well.
The Labour Party is being run in a "totally dysfunctional" way with policies that amount to "a great steaming pile of fudge", according to a former party spin doctor.
In an apparent attack on Ed Miliband's leadership, Damian McBride warned that the party has a problem in communicating positive messages to voters and that its policies either do not stand up to scrutiny or "go unnoticed in the pub".
In an updated version of his memoirs, serialised in the Daily Mail, Mr McBride said Mr Miliband should position himself as an outsider like Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage rather than an establishment politician directed by PR advisers.
Prime Minister David Cameron is "open to new ways of engaging with public" a Number 10 spokesman said in response to plans from Ed Miliband for a new 'Public Question Time'.
They said: "He already holds regular PM Directs, where he takes questions from members of the public in towns and cities across the country."
They added: "The Prime Minister is open to new ways of engaging with the public."
The Speaker of the House of Commons will look at plans from Ed Miliband for a new 'Public Question Time', although it will be up to MPs to approve the idea.
Mr Miliband wants the public to be allowed into Parliament to ask the Prime Minister questions.
A spokeswoman for Speaker John Bercow said: "The Speaker will look at Mr Miliband's suggestions with interest, when he receives them. Clearly, any changes would be a matter for the House."
She also said it was clear that within Westminster "there is also an appetite for further reforms to how the House of Commons conducts itself".
The Scottish referendum debate shows that people can be re-engaged with politics if they are given "a real choice", Ed Miliband has said,
The Labour leader wants a new 'Public Question Time' that he says would help "let people into politics" - and he says the lively debate on Scottish independence has given a good example of public engagement with politics.
"Go to Scotland and talk to people about what's happening there and the referendum, people are interested," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.
"If you show people there's a real choice and things can be different and you let people into politics, it can happen - we didn't seek that referendum but it has engaged people in politics."
Ed Miliband says there should be a 'Public Question Time' where ordinary people can go to Parliament to put questions to the Prime Minister.
The Labour leader told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show the idea would "let people into our politics" by making politicians answerable to the public.
He said the move would help deal with some of the public's dissatisfaction with the way Prime Minister's Questions is conducted.
"At the moment there's the glass that separate the public in the gallery from the House of Commons but there is a gulf a mile wide from the kind of politics people want and what Prime Minister's Questions offers," he argued.
Ed Miliband is hoping his "brush-by" visit with Barack Obama will show he is ready to lead Britain on the global stage.
Ahead of his visit to the White House, the Labour leader says he is determined to create a "post-Iraq" relationship with the United States.
The White House said Barack Obama and Ed Miliband "affirmed the strong ties that bind the United States and the United Kingdom" during their brief meeting at the White House today.
– White House statement
President Obama joined National Security Advisor Rice’s meeting today with Mr. Ed Miliband, leader of the United Kingdom’s opposition Labour Party.
Mr. Miliband was meeting with Ambassador Rice to discuss issues of shared concern, including the situations in Ukraine, Israel/Gaza, and Iraq.
Ed Miliband has met with US President Barack Obama at the White House, conducting what the Labour leader called "warm and friendly" talks.
I've just had warm and friendly talks with President Obama discussing Ukraine, Gaza, Europe and the economy.
Britain in Europe working in partnership with America is the best way to promote stability and prosperity across the globe.