Carl Bernstein: We’ve Got the Hillary of ‘92 BackPlummy with his trademark bravado and bonhomie, Carl Bernstein took the stage at the packed 92nd Street Y last night to talk about A Woman in Charge, his bestselling, closely observed Hillary bio. “The theme of the fear of humiliation runs through her life,” he told the crowd, explaining that that’s why she resisted investigations into Whitewater, for example, and never told her closest law colleagues in Arkansas that she failed the D.C. bar exam. What’s more, he said, her current campaign has found both her and Bill slipping back into their old, unpalatable take-no-prisoners mode, rather than that more supple, negotiation-friendly Hillary that bloomed like a quiet flower in the Senate. “We’re seeing a real devolution back to the Hillary Clinton of the ‘92 campaign,” he said. “She’s shown a lot of her worst.”
Al Gore’s Assault on the Upper East Side
Al Gore spoke at the 92nd Street Y last night, and crowds thronged the Upper East Side institution’s Lexington Avenue entrance in advance of the talk. There were a handful of Gore 2008 campaigners, a group of enthusiastic — if basically nonsensical — Lyndon LaRouche supporters, (none of whom came from New York and most of whom were dressed in fat suits and leaves), and a great number of enamored New Yorkers. They stood around, confused and bemused by the LaRouchies, waiting for friends to arrive — mostly, alas, in cars — for the lecture. We asked them about their thoughts on Gore, the election, and their carbon footprints.
Alice Walker Talks About Feminism, But Not About Motherhood
There was an everydaughter-size elephant in the auditorium last night as old friends Gloria Steinem and Alice Walker, in conversation at the 92nd Street Y, talked about almost everything — meditation, California, Rwanda, George Bush (he’s bad!), peaches (mean freedom!), and mothers (complicated!). But they did not talk about Walker’s daughter, Rebecca, the feminist writer — and also Steinem’s goddaughter — who revealed in her recent book, Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence that she is estranged from her Pulitzer-winning parent. (Okay, maybe it wasn’t entirely surprising: In Rebecca’s earlier book, Black, White and Jewish, she wrote about feeling emotionally neglected as a child.) “I am always happy to talk about my mother,” said Walker at the discussion. “My mother was a big woman, a strong woman, a beautiful woman, a woman who could not be beaten.” But there wasn’t a word on being a mother herself — not that there weren’t opportunities.
Kerry at the Y: How Do You Ask a Species to Be the Last Species to Die for a Mistake?What do politicians do between elections? They write (or “write”) books filled with folksy uplift and anecdotes about their imaginary friends or real-life relatives. John Kerry’s new tome, This Moment on Earth: Today’s New Environmentalists and Their Vision for the Future, co-written with his wife, Teresa, belongs to this beatific genre — with one notable exception: It makes a bold retroactive case for its author as a leading environmentalist. Not only is Kerry a bona fide earth defender, it turns out, he’s always been one. “As ranking member and Chairman of the Fish and Marine subcommittee,” the book’s jacket copy explains, “he was able to write or rewrite laws affecting national fisheries, flood insurance, marine mammals, coral reefs, the Gulf of Mexico dead zone.” (Ah, there’s the Kerry we remember!) We caught the senator at the 92nd Street Y last night before his Q&A session with Charlie Rose, and we were pleased to see that the new, environmentalist Kerry is still the same Kerry we’ve long known and, well, not loved, but at least donated to and campaigned for and had our hearts broken by. He’s still smart, still stiff, and still frustratingly incapable of rendering a simple sound bite. After the jump, we try.
Norm!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.”
Jack Welch (Unsurprisingly) Thinks Media Should Stop Focusing on High CEO Pay
Jack Welch thinks people should stop complaining so much about the vast sums CEOs are paid these days. The former GE chief — who faced his own CEO-compensation scandal when the perks of his retirement package came to light — told a star-struck audience at the 92nd Street Y Thursday night that the current poster boy for plunder, former Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli, a longtime GE exec under Welch, shouldn’t be blamed for wanting what his contract said was his. “Bob took a sinking company and put it back together,” he said, his wife the writer Suzy Welch, at his side. “But unfortunately Bob believed through his toes that he deserved to be paid what was in his contract, and when the stock market did not reflect earnings, it turned out to be a lightning rod. He didn’t change with the times.”