Reading Rudy’s Future: It’s a Dry HeatNow that yesterday’s poll numbers on Giuliani in Florida have sunk in, campaign staffers and political analysts (those that can stand to take a break from dissecting Hillary and Obama’s race kerfuffle) are trying to figure out whether this means the end for the former New York mayor. Yesterday, the Times reported that one of their polls showed McCain edging ahead of Giuliani by a small amount in the southern swing state, where Giuliani has been concentrating all of his campaign efforts. Huckabee and Romney were a mere percentage point behind, putting all four within the same margin of error for the poll. Now, with the arrival of the Michigan primary (Giuliani’s first real chance at a strong finish, some are taking a hard look at his future prospects:
• Today Giuliani’s chief strategist Brent Seaborn saw a bright side in not being part of the brutal Huckabee-Romney-McCain battle in early primary states: “I think we’ve been in the fortunate position that a lot of attacks haven’t been directed our way.” Giuliani may remain remarkably unscathed late into the race, which will be a surprise boon for a candidate with many potential negatives.
• But Matthew Continetti in the Weekly Standard points out that Hillary’s recent stumbles against Barack Obama may have taken the wind out of Giuliani’s campaign, which early on was partially based on his unique ability to take down the Clinton machine in a general election.
• And Joel Achenbach adds that when Super Tuesday comes around, previous voting numbers are going to become irrelevant in the face of delegate accumulation. Giuliani has always been aiming for delegates, not total state wins, and this strategy may serve him well on February 5.
• Finally, Talking Points Memo reads the Romney-McCain-Giuliani tea leaves and declares that the question isn’t whether it’s judgment day for Giuliani, but whether it’s high noon for Mitt.
early and often
Gavin Newsom, Taking Over Where Spitzer Left OffWhen Eliot Spitzer announced this morning that he was dropping his driver’s-licenses-for-illegal-immigrants proposal, you would think that Hillary Clinton heaved a sigh of relief. After all, now no one would have an excuse to try and pin down her stance on the issue, like they did so excruciatingly in the October 3 Democratic debate. See, Hillary supported Spitzer, and his “efforts,” she has tried to clarify, but if she were president, she’d make it so that all of that was unnecessary. Of course she caught tremendous flack for being too political and not giving a precise answer about the topic, which amounted to her first serious stumble of the campaign. (Clinton wouldn’t sell out her friend and ally Spitzer by undermining his plan but also couldn’t come out strongly in favor of it, knowing full well it was a giant target for Republican terror rhetoric.) But now it’s over, right? Wrong. Just yesterday, as Spitzer began spreading the news that he was dropping his case, over in San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom was helping to pass very similar legislation. The West Coast city will begin issuing I.D.’s to everyone, including those in the U.S. illegally, so that people can better open bank accounts, get insurance, and access law enforcement. Gavin Newsom, of course, is a pal and California co-chair of Hillary’s campaign. So if Republican critics (and Democrat opponents) want to keep tearing at her for her flimsy position on the issue, well, they have another excuse. Man, Hillary’s the last person in this campaign who we thought would get in trouble because of all her friends.
S.F. supervisors approve ID cards for residents [San Francisco Chronicle]
Isn’t It Ironic? Alanis Embarrassed by Own SongsAlanis Morrisette, in from L.A. for the Adrienne Shelly Foundation benefit, had loose blonde curls and a West Coast attitude toward the writers strike. “I support writers in being compensated well, so I’m all for it,” she said. She’d even support a songwriters strike, if anyone felt like starting one. “I’m on one right now,” she laughed. It’s true, we haven’t heard anything from Alanis in a while, although Jagged Little Pill remains inescapable. How does Alanis cope when that song she supposedly wrote about the guy from Full House comes on in a public place? “Whenever that happens, I look up to see if anyone’s staring at me to see if I should feel awkward,” she said. “After that, I hightail it out of there.” It’s fine when she’s not around, though. “If it’s playing and a family member or loved one hears it, I tell them it’s my way of saying hi to them when I’m not around.” Aw. That’s sweet! So next time we hear her screaming, “Are you thinking of me when you fuck her?” over the speakers at the gym, we’ll know that it’s just Alanis sending her regards. —Amy Preiser
Should Stuyvesant Heights Secede?Bushwick: This blogger hates on gritty Bed-Stuy, claiming that it’s nothing compared to its slicker, ‘shwick-er neighbor. That’s harsh, but maybe he’s right to suggest that pretty Stuy Heights secede from the rest of the hood. [BushwickBK]
Chelsea: Even before 100 Eleventh Avenue developers could obscure Knox Martin’s landmark mural next door, they’ve covered his signature with their ad. It’s a proto-dis! [Chelsea Blog]
Coney Island: An ice-skating rink at the base of the Wonder Wheel? That’s bigger than Wollman? That’s a summertime sailing pond? Yes, yes and yes! [NY1 via Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn]
in other news
Ashley Olsen: Best Show-and-Tell EverWhen most kids bring something in for Show-and-Tell, it’s something from their home. A pet, perhaps, or a rock collection. Something that’s in their house and part of their regular life, that other people might not know about. Also, usually it’s small and portable. So it’s no surprise that when it came to 6-year-old little Isabella (daughter of Lance) Armstrong’s turn to do Show-and-Tell, she decided to bring in Ashley Olsen. Radar reports that the little girl toted in daddy’s new special friend. “Celebrities do this all the time,” Radar’s spy explained — and it’s true! Lance himself was once a Show-and-Tell item for his ex-girlfriend Tory Burch’s young son in New York. Now, to be completely fair, according to Radar, the story might not be completely accurate. It may have been Isabella’s twin sister Grace who brought in the former Full House star. (Wait. They’re twins, and the Olsens are twins. Showtime synergy!). Since Radar doesn’t provide much more information, we’ve imagined what little Isabella’s introduction would be like.
in other news
Katie Couric, ‘This Tart Is Ready to Go’
We can’t tell if this clip of Katie Couric preparing for a Nashville broadcast is real or an awesome, purposeful spoof on Dan Rather’s unfortunate trench-coat video of last year. Either way, it’s a brilliant piece of daytime cinema, in which Katie fumbles with her own coat issues while talking smack about Rather (“Heh, I’m like Dan Rather on You Tube … What? Don’t you think he deserves a little payback?”), snorts, decries “nursing home” lighting, mourns her missing Uggs, and calls the production guys “dude” and “bro.” As in, “I’m serious, you’re moving the camera all around. I’m like, bro, what up.” We’ve never loved her more.
Bloomberg’s Baby Problems: They Just Keep Popping OutFINANCE
• Another woman joined the federal discrimination lawsuit against Bloomberg LP. After her first child in 2005, her pay fell and her colleagues turned into sharks. One supervisor even asked, “What is this, your third baby?” [NYT]
• More of the same on the Street: Bank of America wrote down $3 billion, Bear Stearns $1.2 billion, and British bank HSBC took the cake with $3.4 billion, largely due to U.S. mortgage weaknesses. Meanwhile, Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein laughed in everyone’s face, predicting no more write-downs (not that they lost much in the first place) at the Teflon bank. [NYP, NYT, NYT, DealBreaker]
• Is the credit crunch just like Enron all over again? So says Bethany McLean, the reporter who first broke Ken Lay’s fraud wide open. [Fortune]
Boomers Rock Tribeca!• RSVP to Help benefit. Tribeca Rooftop, 2 Desbrosses St., nr. Hudson St., 7:30 p.m. The red-hot scheduled-guest list includes Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Joe Torre, Elton John, Lewis Black, and Jon Bon Jovi. We respected JBJ before in a somewhat patronizing way, but since we started doing karaoke more, our respect is complete and sincere. “Livin’ on a Prayer” is tough to sing when you don’t have the rest of the frat party backing you up.
the morning line
Suicide, Fire, Not a Hero
• Indie actress, director, and screenwriter Adrienne Shelly, just seen with Matt Dillon in Factotum, was found hanged in her Village apartment. There’s no suicide note, and cops are checking up on unidentified sneaker prints in the apartment, but suicide is cited as the likeliest scenario. [NYP]
• A blaze broke out in a Bronx apartment in the wee hours of the morning, killing a 5-year-old girl and sending three other people to Jacobi Medical Center. The survivors can thank the girl’s 13-year-old brother, who woke everyone up. The cause of the fire is being investigated. [WNBC]
• Major karmic points are apparently not enough for Robert G. Seckers, the mate of a tugboat that aided the Staten Island ferry during the infamous 2003 crash. Seckers wants more tangible compensation for his good deed ($2 million to be exact) under an ancient unwritten law called “pure marine salvage.” “I don’t need to be a hero,” said Seckers in an interview. It appears you just took care of that part, sir. [NYT]
• Hitler Kid, post-collegiate edition: A 23-year-old Greenpoint city employee (probably a hipster who applied for the job ironically) penned an essay in the Haverford alumni mag calling the Polish “vermin” and the nabe “even uglier than the morons who work there.” The piece is clearly Borat-style satire (the author dreams of a Greenpoint of “lawyers and investment bankers”), but — shock — subtleties of dry sarcasm are not a Parks Department specialty. [NYDN]
• Three, two, one, stop. The city is testing out streetlight timers at intersections, visibly counting down fifteen seconds until the light turns red. Now, finally, the pedestrians will have something other than the road to look at! [amNY]
in other news
Latin Music, Tom Ford, and Fast Food• Latin Grammy Awards after-parties. The official shindig, at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, 811 Seventh Ave., nr. 52nd St., features a “Clinique Happy Lounge.” There’s also a party sponsored by Johnny Walker at Sky Studios, 704 Broadway, nr. W. 4th St. Shakira, Ricky Martin, and Andrea Bocelli are among the celebs scheduled to be out and about. You know you’ve made it as an ethnic group when luxury-good manufacturers are clamoring for your after-party market share —congratulations, Latinos!
New York Rap Institution Turns to the Ivy LeagueNew York’s most revered independent rap label is banking on a pair of Ivy League rappers to resurrect it. Rawkus Records — founded in 1995 by Horace Mann grads Brian Brater and Jarrett Myer with $10,000 from Rupert scion and Harvard dropout James Murdoch — introduced Brooklynites Mos Def and Talib Kweli to a mass audience, made it into the big leagues, and then disappeared, dropped by Geffen Records in 2004. But this week saw its first major release since then, with School Was My Hustle, by the two-man act Kidz in the Hall, coming out on Halloween. The duo’s 22-year-old emcee, Penn alum Naledge, admires the label’s history. “You bought their records because of the brand,” he says. “It wouldn’t matter what the artist was; you knew if it was Rawkus, it was top-shelf.” And founder Myer thinks Kidz lives up to the tradition. “Right now,” he says, “investing the right artists can make Rawkus way bigger than it ever was.”
— Amos Barshad
It’s Not Easy Being GreenLower East Side: Developers may mow over the “Children’s Magical Garden” at Norfolk and Stanton Streets. [The Villager]
Park Slope: You can now get ticketed for having a leafy street. [Daily Slope]
Ditmas Park: Lefty java joint Vox Pop to turn chain? [Brooklyn Papers]
Greenwich Village: Why are there so many empty storefronts on Thompson Street? Because the landlord is an ass, naturally. [Curbed]
Prospect Heights: Does a shiny new JCC mark the completion of gentrification? [Brooklynian]
Dyker Heights: By next year, city kids will be teeing off at the first junior golf center in the nation. [NY1]
early and often
Betsy Gotbaum Drove Mrs. Hevesi, Too!Well, okay, the city’s public advocate didn’t actually drive Al’s ailing wife anywhere. But if we accept the phrase as a handy euphemism for using government resources for private ends — e.g., “John Sununu totally drove Mrs. Hevesi to that round of golf” — then Betsy’s chauffeuring the old lady, too. True, it’s only for $1,900 — a far cry from the $80,000 and change Alan reimbursed — but it shows that pols everywhere are getting nervous. Jon Dolan had more at Early & Often.
Is Betsy the New Al? [Early and Often]