Norman Mailer still hates Michiko Kakutani, dislikes Janet Maslin, too, and did an interview with Martha Stewart for her TV show. CNN execs went on a corporate retreat to the Bahamas, and "Page Six," presumably on behalf of Fox News, mocks them for it. If you complain at Nobu, Drew Nieporent might blacklist you. Peter Cook, Christie Brinkley's soon-to-be ex-husband, went grocery shopping. (Cindy Adams, meantime, dubs Brinkley Professor Emeritus in How to Handle El Piggo, which she actually means as a compliment.) Retired Ford Models vet Neil Hamil to run Elite Models. There's a reality show being shopped in which ten virgin men compete to lose it to "a celeb."
Add to Barack Obama's list of marquee New York donors — and former Clinton supporters — the name of Orin S. Kramer. Kramer is an enviro-friendly financier and author who has been a stalwart in Clinton money-raising quarters for years. He played a key role in the Al Gore and John Kerry presidential campaigns, serving as New York co-chair for both. A domestic-policy staffer in the Carter White House, Kramer is currently the general partner of Boston Provident, L.P. He's the latest fund-raising coup for the Obama camp, which also picked up support from lefty billionaire George Soros earlier this week. How did Kramer reach the decision to leave team Clinton? "I ran up against my pain threshold," he said. "I have unalloyed respect for Senator Clinton. She is eminently electable, and some of my closest friends are major players in her universe. But despite being a dinosaur, I'm drawn to a different kind of political experience. Whether large numbers of people will see the world that way, we'll see." —Geoffrey Gray
Big Dem donors Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and George Soros have all pledged their support to Barack Obama, though Sant Chatwal and Ed Koch — who we're shocked to learn is still considered a Democrat — are on Hillary's side. Bill Clinton avoided a flirty blonde at a book party; Hillary called Obama to chat about her White House run. Michael Bloomberg doesn't think taxpayers should have to pay for the mayor's living expenses at Gracie Mansion. Shock jocks Opie and Anthony asked Donald Trump to come on their show and discuss the Rosie feud but afterward claimed that he had asked them. Derek Jeter went from Jessica Biel to Gabrielle Union.
• The health of 9/11 first responders finally becomes a major political issue; President Bush will address it in tonight's State of the Union address, and now-official White House contender Hillary Clinton used ground zero to announce her $1.9 billion long-term treatment initiative. [amNY]
• The Sean Bell case began in earnest yesterday, with the 23-member grand jury beginning to parse the evidence in the infamous 50-shot police slaying of an unarmed man. The presentation will take close to a month; detractors say the D.A. is using the occasion for a "minitrial." [NYP]
• A side effect of being rich and famous is that people think they don't need to make good on their debts to you. For instance, New Delhi owes New York City $16.4 million (in real-estate taxes for the properties India owns here). Our courts are tempted to tweak the laws so the city can sue. [DNA World]
• "Come on, guys, we can get more mileage out of this antique-dealer-suing-bum story. Angles, think angles." "How about the bum's son comes to town to reconcile with him?" "Perfect." [NYDN]
• And a mass evacuation of New York City will commence today via the Brooklyn Bridge, under the cover of Coast Guard cutters and military helicopters. Luckily, it's all so that Will Smith can save the earth or become a stockbroker or something. [7Online]
Today's Daily News has blockbuster front-page news: In a poll of New York City residents, more would pick their own senator to be the Democratic presidential nominee than would pick a freshman Illinois senator with far lower name recognition. (Who'd have thunk it?) If there's any interest to the poll, it's in the demographic breakdowns.
• New York City voters who would pick Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nominee: 43 percent
• New York City voters who would pick Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nominee: 24 percent
• We're 48 hours into Hillary's official campaign for the presidency, and already the Times is wondering who'd fill her Senate seat. Names that have come up: Paterson, Meeks, Velasquez, Lowey — and even Suozzi. A News survey, meantime, finds Hillary beating Obama handily — in New York City. (Of course, we're pretty sure Gore and Kerry did likewise to Bush here.) [NYT, NYDN]
• Damon Mootoo, the deaf guy from Guyana who disappeared in Queens last week hours after arriving in the United States, was finally found and returned to his relatives. He said he lived in cars and backyards for four days. [NY1]
• Tired of the busy signals when you try calling for that Per Se reservation exactly two months in advance? You'll be thrilled to learn that a new service charges clients $35 to $45 to nab them rezzies at tough-to-get-into hot spots. [NYP]
• London may be edging out Gotham as the biz capital of the world, due in part to the United States' lawsuit-heavy culture and tough immigration rules, says a new $500,000 report. [NYDN]
• Waitress, the movie made by New York indie-film actress Adrienne Shelly before she was murdered in her apartment last year, was shown to applause and tears at Sundance. [1010WINS]
To the great surprise of no one, Hillary Clinton finally announced this morning that she's running for president in 2008. "I'm in. And I'm in to win," she said in a statement posted to her new campaign Website, oddly echoing the old Lotto slogan. "All you need is a dollar and a dream," retorted fellow presidential aspirant George Pataki, continuing his quixotic campaign.
Hillary Says 'I'm In to Win' 2008 Race [NYT]
Hillary for President [Official site]
Sean Combs threw a hissy fit when he wasn't allowed into CAA's post–Golden Globes party, may have gotten himself banned from Sunset Tower. Lindsay Lohan may have hit the bottle, and then hit rehab, after being rebuffed by James Franco. Paris Hilton's left eyelid is droopy because she once had surgery to raise her lids, and it's getting worse because she continues to wear tinted contact lenses. (We can't believe we just typed that.) British chef Marco Pierre White claims the New York Times once hired a private eye to dig up dirt on him in an unsuccessful attempt to prove he had a booze and drug problem. Hillary Clinton to throw a book party for Chuck Schumer at his favorite Chinese restaurant on Capitol Hill.
• Barack Obama is making overtures to one of Hillary's main African-American supporters in New York — pre-Hevesi State Comptroller Carl McCall, once the state's highest elected black official. McCall says he'll stick with Hillary. [NYP]
• Yesterday's favorite tabloid story — a Madison Avenue antiques dealer is suing a homeless guy for standing in front of his windows — got a sequel today: The latter has a friend and patron in multimillionaire Edward Baron Cohen (no relation to Sasha). Which increases the beyond-awesome likelihood we might actually see that suit play out. [NYDN]
• Several Roman Catholic parishes in the city, including Manhattan's St. Vincent de Paul, are about to close as part of the church's reorganization. The news itself may be less notable than the fact that the Times appears to have an anonymous source in the church. [NYT]
• Newsday minds the gap — with a scarily comprehensive report on that pesky bit of space between the platform and the train. Turns out it's a more serious menace than most think, with 900 incidents reported since 1995 on the LIRR alone. [Newsday]
• And you know who we haven't heard from even once in the whole Jim McGreevey saga? His now-estranged wife, Dina, who's about to rectify things with a deal for a tell-all memoir. The book will, sadly, be called Silent Partner rather than American Beard. [NYP]
Sean Penn wants Bush and Cheney to be impeached, he said while accepting an award at a Creative Coalition dinner. Josh Hartnett may have been texting could-be girlfriend Scarlett Johansson from a movie screening. Sharon Elghanayan, girlfriend of Jon Corzine, wants to marry the New Jersey governor, but he's not biting. Fabiola Beracasa gave her boyfriend and her fellow socialites a little strip show at a Lower East Side club on Saturday. Reese Witherspoon and her kids moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where they attend public school. (The kids, not Reese.) Diane Kruger and boyfriend Joshua Jackson (yes, Pacey from Dawson's Creek) hung out in Dubai. Fat Joe spent $20K over three nights on strippers and booze at Sin City near Yankee Stadium. Canadian heiress Lisa Belberg says she and Harold Ford Jr. are "great friends" not "boyfriend and girlfriend." Mayor Bloomberg, Senators Clinton and Schumer, Eliot Spitzer, and others schmooze the media tonight at the New York Press Club's holiday party. Oprah, Jude Law, Damon Dash, and others are turning their humanitarian efforts to South Africa. Former Miami club king and Madonna pal Chris Paciello is out of jail after eight years and back on the town. Barnard alum Joan Rivers instructed fellow graduates to "go through your husband's wallet and give everything in it" to the school. Nas claims he was drunk on Hennessy during many of his early recording sessions. Lewis Black admired a painting of a naked woman. Mischa Barton drank a beer in Hoboken.
• Just in time for Bloomberg's $150 million help-the-poor initiative, the Times unloads a "Giving" section. It comes complete with an attempt to launch a word ("philanthropreneurs," and, um, keep trying) and, best of all, a graphic titled "Bono's Beneficent Universe." [NYT]
• A shocking! new! poll! has Hillary Clinton pulling ahead of Giuliani and McCain in a presidential matchup. Buried in the cover story's eighth graph: Her advantage falls within the margin of error, so it's a tie. But you've already bought the Post. [NYP]
• The good news is that you are now able to swipe your cell phone at subway turnstiles. The bad news is that it necessitates "a consortium of credit card and wireless providers." So the future is now — if you're a Cingular customer with a Citi card. [amNY]
• Andrea Peyser, a noted expert on Crips and Bloods, is disappointed that not enough gang members showed up to a Sean Bell protest, because the press release promised gangs. Oh, just read it. [NYP]
• And Brooklyn hip-hop scenesters mourn the closing of Beat Street on Fulton, an iconic vinyl store; everyone cites digital age as the culprit. This is the store where Fannypack formed — is nothing sacred, iTunes? Is nothing sacred? [NYDN]
Lindsay Lohan has bruised thighs because she's been practicing pole dancing. Peter Cook had his game interrupted by a traffic cop in East Hampton. Hillary Clinton had breakfast with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, while John Edwards and Joe Biden looked on. Speaking of Hillary, Alec Baldwin isn't keen on her or Obama for the 2008 presidential nod. Just so you know. Nicole Kidman's new movie supposedly didn't test well, which is trouble for Warner Bros. Maxim and Vanity Fair have a lot of talent overlap, surprisingly. Matt Damon said the biggest flaw with The Good Shepherd is that his character is married to Angelia Jolie and ignores her. Bridget Moynahan flew to Miami to try to salvage her relationship with Tom Brady, but it was too late. Designer Jean Claude Mastroianni sent an e-mail from the grave. Both Gisele and Kate Moss signed contracts to launch fragrances. David Mamet loves Paul Newman, hates Laurence Olivier. Britney Spears was named the Worst Celebrity Dog Owner of 2006. Someone found Cameron Diaz's cell phone, returned it to her. Joe Eszterhas advises screenwriters to steal memorabilia from movie sets for later resale on eBay. Cindy Adams has no gossip, but she does ramble incoherently about Christmas. People used to hit on Access Hollywood hostess Maria Menounos when she worked at Dunkin' Donuts. A Website named the Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time" the worst Yule song of all time.
Today's Post insists — more than anyone else has yet insisted — that Hillary Clinton has really, genuinely, honest-to-goodness decided to run for president. Which means it's time for another 20-Person Poll. New York's interrogating interns hit Madison Avenue this afternoon, and they asked twenty registered Democrats who'd get their vote in a presidential primary. Here in her home state, things are looking good for our junior senator — unless, that is, a certain melting pot from Illinois decides to run.
Matchup No. 1: Hillary Clinton vs. Barack Obama
Clinton: 6; Obama: 14
Matchup No. 2: Hillary Clinton vs. Al Gore
Clinton: 10; Gore: 10
Matchup No. 3: Hillary Clinton vs. John Edwards
Clinton: 13; Edwards: 7
Matchup No. 4: Hillary Clinton vs. John Kerry
Clinton: 15; Kerry: 5
'I'm Going to Go for This' [NYP]
• OMG. Hillary Clinton is — you're not gonna believe this — totally running for president. She said so to a "New York lawmaker" on the phone, and he told the Post. Her declaration? "I'm really going to go for this." OMG. [NYP]
• Yesterday in Astor-ia: In finalizing the settlement long settled, Anthony Marshall was cleared of abuse allegations concerning his 104-year-old mother, Brooke Astor. He and his wife still need to return over $11 million in "gifts." Oh, and his lawyer was docked 10 percent of his six-figure fee for chatting to the press. [NYDN]
• Thirty-nine people in New York and New Jersey are now down with E. coli, all traceable to a single Taco Bell in South Plainfield, New Jersey. Some of the joint's employees are sick as well. And the marketers of Fast Food Nation are really wishing this happened two weeks ago. [NYT]
• Crews will take another tug at the ol' Intrepid, currently stuck in cementlike silt on its way to a dry dock where it was supposed to be getting a spruce-up. The path is reportedly clear now that a Navy contractor has ladled out some of the gunk from under the ship's stern (for $3 million). [amNY]
• And in an irresistible police-blotter item, a man is arrested for a series of shop, hotel, and drug-store robberies wherein he'd open his coat to reveal a dynamite-stick belt (actually highway flares). Inventive but unsurprising, considering the perp is an actor with Law & Order on his resume. (Duh-dum.) [WNBC]
In this week's cover story, and on the heels of the weekend's news that Hillary Clinton is moving yet another step closer to maybe, eventually admitting she's running for president, New York's John Heilemann considers the possibility of a Bloomberg White House bid in 2008, reporting that the mayor is seriously considering a run and that political pros thinks he'd be a serious contender. Inspired, Daily Intel took to the streets — well, took to Madison Avenue immediately in front of the office — for our first-ever 20-Person Poll. How would Mayor Mike fare in some hypothetical matchups? According to some random pedestrians, not so badly — as long as Hillary doesn't run.
Matchup No. 1: Michael Bloomberg vs. Hillary Clinton
Clinton: 15; Bloomberg: 5
Matchup No. 2: Michael Bloomberg vs. Barack Obama
Bloomberg: 12; Obama: 8
Matchup No. 3: Michael Bloomberg vs. John McCain
Bloomberg: 13; McCain: 6; No answer: 1
Matchup No. 4: A three-way race between Bloomberg, Clinton, and McCain
Clinton: 14, Bloomberg: 4, McCain: 2
His American Dream [NYM]
• Eliot Spitzer, in his waning days as attorney general, is set to release a "devastating indictment" of Alan Hevesi that will almost surely lead to the comptroller's fast resignation, says the Post. Sources tell the tabloid that the AG report will also serve as the cue for a criminal case. [NYP]
• Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, before departing for Washington, got together with Spitzer for a "two-hour strategy session" to discuss, we don't know, the Giants or something. Pundits tie the bustle to Barack Obama's early presidential "maybe." [NYDN, NYT]
• In a real-estate listing to end all listings, the penthouse triplex of the Pierre Hotel can be yours, ballroom and all. For $70 million. [NYT]
• There's an E. coli outbreak in New Jersey, with about nineteen cases reported. Eleven of the victims had eaten at a Taco Bell in South Plainfield, which has since "voluntarily" closed. That's strange; we didn't know they served spinach. [amNY]
• And, in more before-breakfast news, Health Department inspectors are cracking down on illegal meats. Confiscated recently from various New York stores: armadillo fillets, iguana, cow lungs, "smoked rodent," and — our favorite — "unidentified red meat." [AP via Taipei Times]
• The 2008 battle lines are just being drawn, and already they look ugly. Richard Collins, a principal donor to Rudy Giuliani's political action committee, also turns out to be the main man behind Stop Her Now: a PAC devoted to tainting the presidential prospects of Guess Who. While not illegal, the situation is ever-so-slightly uncouth, especially as Collins has taken to describing himself as Stop Her Now's "chairman." [NYT]
• Seems Mike Bloomberg may actually be overdoing the anti-cop stance after the Queens 50-bullet shooting. The mayor said that the cops should face a Queens jury — a reference to the Albany trial in the Diallo case; the statement didn't sit too well with the officers' families, since there aren't even any indictments yet. Everyone else kinda loves the Angry Populist Mike, though. [NYP]
• The belt-tightening program for the New York State health industry, created by a Pataki-led panel, has finally released its report, and the plan would shut down five hospitals in NYC, eliminating 7,000 jobs. City Hall calls the proposal "reasonable," and Spitzer isn't commenting. The rest of us will try extra hard to stay healthy. [NYDN]
• Not that anyone expected otherwise, but Coney Island's Astroland Amusement Park has been sold to a huge developer, Thor Equities. The original owners, the Albert family, will keep the octogenarian Cyclone. The rest of the park will close after the 2007 season for "renovations," which we somehow doubt include an expanded Shoot the Freak pavilion. [NYDN, amNY]
• And, it wasn't exactly a crocodile in a sewer, but a two-foot caiman in a cardboard box is close enough. The cops found the "feisty," in their words, reptile abandoned on a Brooklyn street. In a lovely touch of local color, its jaws were kept shut via a double-knotted sneaker shoelace. [AP via IHT]
You think it's cheap to run a sure-to-win cakewalk of a campaign? Hardly. Hillary Clinton managed to spend $36 million on her 30-point victory two weeks ago — about $1.2 million per percentage point. Hillary's never-in-question victory cost her more than twice what New Jersey's Bob Menendez spent to squeak out a win over Tom Kean Jr. and almost twice what Chuck Schumer spent to win an even bigger victory in 2004.
How was all that money spent? Some line items:
• $17 million for advertising, including at least $1.58 million to a Denver-based firm that helped hone her strategy.
• $2.5 million to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
• $1.1 million to pollster Mark Penn.
• $930,000 to media strategist Mandy Grunwald.
• $746,450 on catering, including $2,500 at a hot-dog shop.
• $200,000 to a subsidiary of the Grover Park Group, a political-consulting firm employing two Clinton advisers.
• $51,000 on professional photographers to document the fund-raiser grip-and-grins.
• $37,500 to Maggie Williams, a close friend (a payment Clinton's staffers now call an error).
• $27,000 on valet parking.
• $13,000 on flowers.
And, let's be honest, isn't it the fresh bouquets that make all the difference?
Clinton Won Easily, but Bankroll Shows the Toll [NYT]
The Woman in the Bubble [NYM]
It's good to be Senator Barack Obama right now. The cover of Time is fresh in everyone's memory; his will-he-run-or-won't-he status means the personal attacks haven't started yet; and come next Sunday, Obama's book — The Audacity of Hope — will top the Times Best Sellers List. (Hey, we still believe in an audacity called hope.) The book, published by Crown and released October 17, has already moved 182,000 copies in hardcover and is now in seventh printing. That places it on the list ahead of Bob Woodward, Bill O'Reilly (who'll probably have something to say about that), and John Grisham, in his foray into nonfiction. Even the Times itself cautiously calls it "something of a publishing stunner."
It's even more stunning for a book by a politician. Trent Lott's book, Herding Cats, sold fewer copies than an actual cat-herding manual might (11,000), and Jesse Helms's defiantly titled Here's Where I Stand sold 3,000 (leaving the precise location he's standing a mystery to the wide public). Of course, Senator Obama still has yet to face his most formidable opponent: New York's own Hillary Clinton. And by this we mean, of course, that her Living History has sold 1.2 million copies. What else would we mean?
Obama's New Book Is a Surprise Best Seller [NYT]