GOP: Give Us Moore!
Were the Republicans cranky about Michael Moore’s stealing some of Monday night’s spotlight from John McCain and Rudy Giuliani? Hardly. At a Tuesday-morning breakfast of GOP strategists and lobbyists, the talk was about how to get Moore more camera time during the rest of the convention. “If Michael Moore becomes the face of the Democratic Party, it does nothing but help us,” said one Republican operative. “He riles up the base, and he scares the swing voters. What we oughtta do is get him better seats at the Garden.”
Governor George Pataki insists he’s not thinking about the 2008 presidential race, but his denials seemed a little hard to believe with the sudden reappearance by his side this week of Zenia Mucha, the tough-talking political operative who left Albany in 2001 to become the top flack for Disney’s Michael Eisner. As a longtime aide to Senator Al D’Amato known for colorful rows with the press, Mucha was dispatched to shore up Pataki’s faltering 1994 campaign against Mario Cuomo and was widely credited with engineering his surprise victory. Her ability to keep Pataki—and everyone else—on message is thought to have helped spur his rise from unknown Peekskill state senator to governor and onto George W. Bush’s short list for vice-president in 2000. (Dick Cheney, head of the selection committee, selected himself instead.) When Eisner lured Mucha to the Mouse with an extravagant salary, many of her associates nevertheless were certain she’d return to politics; her reemergence is viewed as a sign the governor is getting serious about 2008. Tight-lipped as ever, Mucha insists she’s merely taking a week off from her day job to “help out.” But friends say she’s planning a return to New York as head of Pataki’s national campaign.
Treating Her Right
The first journalist to get a free facial at the convention’s media center yesterday? Eighty-four-year-old White House correspondent Helen Thomas. The reporter, who fired tough questions from the front row of the White House briefing room for 57 years, also had her makeup done and her hair blown out at the Barneys Loft Spa set up inside the Farley Post Office (paid for by the RNC Host Committee). Staff at the spa, where members of the press can enjoy massages, manicures, waxing, and makeup sessions—as well as shoot pool and drink free beer—said Thomas was the first of many appointments: The salon is booked solid all week. A Daily Show crew taped a leg-waxing segment yesterday; Letterman staffers were due in today; and earlier in the week, off-duty cops and firefighters wandered in for complimentary manicures. Men’s-grooming guru John Allan, whose salon has a station in the spa, said that when reporters learn his services are free, “they’re like kids in a candy store. They start asking about everything they can get.” Bikini waxes are also available, but Thomas stuck to above-the-neck treatments.