Yesterday and today, Republicans John McCain and Mike Huckabee both stood up for Barack Obama concerning his relationship with controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright. On Morning Joe today, Huckabee candidly said, "Obama handled this about as well as anybody could." He laid out his argument pretty simply:
"You can't hold the candidate responsible for everything that people around him may say or do," Huckabee says. "It's interesting to me that there are some people on the left who are having to be very uncomfortable with what ... Wright said, when they all were all over a Jerry Falwell, or anyone on the right who said things that they found very awkward and uncomfortable, years ago. Many times those were statements lifted out of the context of a larger sermon. Sermons, after all, are rarely written word for word by pastors like Rev. Wright, who are delivering them extemporaneously, and caught up in the emotion of the moment. There are things that sometimes get said, that if you put them on paper and looked at them in print, you'd say 'Well, I didn't mean to say it quite like that.'"
Sarah Jessica Parker is not confident that her unreleased movie, Spinning Into Butter, will ever see the light of day. Barack Obama and his wife are slated to attend the opening of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Oprah on Thursday. Cosmetics heir Olivia Chantecaille got engaged to banker boyfriend Ren Grady. Gossip Girl's Blake Lively took a bunch of friends shopping to Armani Exchange on Fifth Avenue. Shake Shack is opening a location on the Upper West Side! Sting, Diddy, and Josh Hartnett all hung out at Half Nelson producer Charlie Corwin's birthday at Socialista, which is now back open after the hepatitis scare. Michael Musto will appear on the cover of The Village Voice spoofing this magazine's Lindsay Lohan shoot.
Over the weekend Hillary Clinton dispelled any notions that she was ready to concede defeat and slink away into the night by lambasting Barack Obama for his allegedly dishonest critiques of her positions on health care and NAFTA. Mike Huckabee isn’t done either — he skewered his own reluctance to leave the race on Saturday Night Live. Plus, Ralph Nader somehow thinks it’s a good idea to run again. And while the primary landscape is still shifting, many people are already strategizing about the general election.
The Times’ story on John McCain’s alleged affair with a lobbyist during his last presidential run crashed into the political discussion today like a flaming satellite tank filled with toxic innuendo and accusations. People are wondering a few things: What will be the effect on the Republican race and general election? (See our incisive post on what this says about Mike Huckabee having stuck in the race.) Is the Times really sure about their story, considering that the main sources are two unnamed former staffers? And, finally, is there anything they left out — maybe something specific, preferably salacious? As it stands now, the story amounts to a cruel tease — cruel to us, who want the whole truth and nothing but (and have gathered much of it in the 2008 Electopedia, newly updated with entries on the presumptive Republican nominee!), and cruel to McCain, who is no doubt praying for some fireworks in the Democratic debate tonight to push this down in the news cycle.
Hooo boy! The Times really opened up a box of bees when they published their insinuating John McCain story late last night. If you haven't seen it, it concerns McCain's high-horse attitude toward ethics, which may have been compromised in part by a close, perhaps romantic relationship with attractive lobbyist Vicki Iseman during McCain's first run for president eight years ago. The paper (using a half-dozen reporters and thousands of words) described confrontations that staffers had with both McCain and Iseman to stop what appeared to be an inappropriate intimacy. By late last evening, political blogs and news programs were exploding with reactions. McCain's camp was outraged at what they called a "smear." It quickly surfaced that there had been a long period of debate inside the Times as to when to publish the piece, and whether to do it at all. The McCain camp claimed that the paper ran with it after hearing that The New Republic was going to publish a story about the infighting at the paper over its inflammatory contents. Some critics even went so far as to speculate that the liberal Times wanted to wait until the Republicans had a presumptive nominee before blowing a hole in his candidacy. Woweee. Whether any of this affects McCain remains to be seen (we cannot wait for the smackdown that Cindy McCain is bound to lay down today). But the scandal addresses something that's been itching us in the back of our heads for a long time: Why the heck is Mike Huckabee still in this race?
• Bottega Veneta designer Tomas Maier was forced to start his show an hour late in Milan today after Ferragamo's late start backed up the day's schedule. On the upside, Maier's coats were marvels of geometric chic. [WSJ]