So Barack Obama came to Brooklyn last night, and it's a funny thing: Turns out Barack in Brooklyn looks a hell of a lot like Barack anywhere else. They couldn't have done this by the bridge? Or the Cyclone? Or with a hot dog in his hand? Disappointing.
Barack Obama is in Brooklyn for a fund-raiser tonight, and we were curious who — in addition to Caroline Giuliani, of course — might be turning out. So we looked to mybarackobama.com, where we discovered all sorts of affinity groups for supporters of the Illinois senator. There's Burners for Barack (for Burning Man attendees) and Octogenarians for Obama ("We are never too old to back Barack"). There are groups for Final Fantasy fans (they plan to "fight back against the Shinra companies of our world" via Obama) and flight attendants vowing to harness their "unique ability to fly around easily" to spread the word. There are spiritualists and psychic mediums who "emphatically believe" that Barack's the man for the job and Prince Fans for Obama, who believe he "upholds the ideals" of the singer and that "if Prince wasn't apathetic towards voting due to his religion, he would vote for Barack Obama." Ballers for Obama are planning three-on-three basketball tournaments to help raise cash for the campaign, and Canadians like him, even though they can't vote. And then, of course, there's NYC 4 Obama. "We have a lot of really serious supporters here as well," insisted Molly Lombardi, spokesman for that group. —Janelle Nanos
Reading today's coverage of the Republican straw poll at the Iowa State Fair yesterday, we were struck by the utter ridiculousness of the system: Voters have to pay to vote, campaigns often pick up the tab for their supporters, Mitt Romney spent the most money, and the winner was — would you believe? — Mitt Romney. We were also struck by Mike Huckabee, the formerly fat former Arkansas governor who somehow impressed the political commentariat by coming in a distant second to Romney, with a whopping 2,587 votes. Thing is, we realized, Mike Huckabee can never become president. He's clearly 24's traitorous, murderous (and perhaps murdered) President Charles Logan. And that dude's First Lady is crazy.
For a Joke-Telling Candidate, a Second-Place Finish [NYT]
• In the wake of the Great Subway Flood, city-council members are demanding that the MTA spend some $300 million to provide cell service on subway platforms — so that the transit agency can send riders jumbled, unintelligible text messages in the event of delays. [Metro NY]
This week's Village Voice — yeah, we're a day late, but, be honest, it's not like you've read it already — carries a cover story by Voice vet and professional Giuliani antagonist Wayne Barrett titled "Rudy Giuliani's Five Big Lies About 9/11." In it, Barrett examines a speech the former mayor delivered in Maryland two months ago, arguing that he had the most and best terrorism-fighting experience of any candidate for president. But Barrett isn't buying Giuliani's claims; in fact, he says they're a bunch of lies. How so?
We told you yesterday about Fundrace 2008, the fun new feature on the Huffington Post that lets you track people's political contributions by name or by neighborhood. What we didn't expect was that the thing would prove terribly addictive. Here's a sampling of what we found after a full day of playing with it:
• Completely random celeb-name search reveals Mario Batali's $1,000 contribution to John Edwards (as well as the chef's home address), Tommy Hilfiger's $2,300 donation to Barack Obama, and the supposedly apolitical Sandy Weill's $4,600 gift to Hillary Clinton.
Hollywood players like Ben Stiller, Toby Maguire, and Steven Spielberg can't figure out which Democrat to support for president, so they're donating to multiple ones. (Tom Hanks, Will Smith, and Jennifer Aniston, however, are firmly in Camp Obama.) Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel was passed over for appointment as executive director of New York State Council of the Arts, perhaps because she has donated money to Spitzer, who's now trying to look ethically pure. Gwen Stefani loves breast-feeding even though she's been getting bitten. Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz refused to be photographed with their KY Intimacy Kit swag bags at Lollapalooza because they were scared of Joe Simpson. Tracy Morgan wants to get his SCRAM ankle bracelet "blinged out" at Jacob the Jeweler.
And the campaign-financing race just got much more fun. The Huffington Post launched its Fundrace 2008 database today, on which you can look up which presidential candidates are milking your friends and neighbors for money, and exactly how much of it. It also includes the very popular neighborhood feature, where you can see whether that dude who sells dime bags in your entryway is actually a junkie for Joe Biden. After some quick scans, we’re delighted with this year’s results so far. For example, in the opportunely named "Chelsea-Clinton" 10001 Zip Code, John Edwards is a surprise favorite. (Explain that, Jodi Kantor.) And among fancy Upper East Siders with 10021 addresses, Hillary is exactly twice as popular as Rudy — and that’s where he lives. Maybe his neighbors don't like the cigar smoke?
Fundrace 2008 [HuffPo]
• The Post, in another damning Spitzer exclusive (it's almost as if someone well connected in Albany hated the governor!), claims the administration is hiding a trove of private scandal-related e-mails, which Attorney General Cuomo, lacking subpoena power, didn't get. [NYP]
Hillary Clinton, her husband, and her fund-raisers are heading to the fertile grounds of the East End this weekend, where it's expected her campaign will rake in as much as $1 million in just three days. Saturday's the big day, with a pancake breakfast at Alan Patricof's house (for $1,000-plus a head), a Bill-only cocktail luncheon at Dottie Herman's place ($2,000 a head, or $3,000 per couple), and dinner at Ronald Perelman's ($4,600 a head). There are also other lesser events at Friday night and Sunday, some with price tags as low as a mere $250. With numbers like that, you'd think everyone out there loves her. But you'd be wrong: Witness this week's Independent, which bills itself as serving East Hampton, Southampton, Riverhead, Southold, and Shelter Island. The small type reads, "Hillary to Leave Hamptons With Close to a Million, Leaving Local Democrats With Zilch." Which prompts a question: Were Manhattan moneybags like Alan Patricof and Ronald Perelman previously in the habit of giving to Suffolk County Dems? We're skeptical.
Related:Hillary Hampton '07Wham, Bam, Thank You, Ma'am [The Independent]
If it's Tuesday night at seven, then it's time for a weekly organizational meeting of the New York City Chapter of the Committee to Draft Michael Bloomberg. And last night, Karin Gallet, the New York chapter's mastermind and newsletter writer, sipped an Amstel Light as she ran the group's fourth meeting at the Old Town Bar. A grand total of nine people joined her, and she set a stark goal: to collect 15,000 signatures on a "Draft Mike" petition by Christmas. (Only 1,500 per person!) Cue the jaunty, let's-get-to-work montage.