Hillary’s Communications Guru Takes the Long Way RoundChances are, many of you know who Clinton’s communications director, Howard Wolfson, is. Probably fewer of you know that he is afraid of flying. But among campaign reporters and workers, it’s no secret. He hasn’t flown on a plane since 1999, when he flew on Air Force One during Hillary’s New York senate campaign. But he’s never really talked about it until now, when he admitted all his neuroses to Observer reporter Jason Horowitz.
“It’s all mishegoss — fear is not rational,” said Mr. Wolfson when asked to explain the root of his now decade-long aversion to air travel. “I could point to a couple of things but at the end of the day it just ascribes a level of rationality to it that doesn’t exist.”
You’ll recall that this primary schedule is one that requires moving from, say, Iowa to New Hampshire or South Carolina to Nevada with great speed. While the rest of the campaign is in the air, Wolfson is driving alone, often up to seventeen hours at a time, in his BMW. One could argue that this is a severe detriment to his usefulness on the trail. One could also argue that since everybody has a phone and a BlackBerry these days, it doesn’t really matter. Regardless, we really like that Horowitz is letting us into the secret world of the Hillary press camp. First Hillary’s hipster, and now this. He’s all up in their bidness! No wonder he’s around when they get important phone calls.
The Spokesman Who Couldn’t Fly [NYO]
Related: Hillary’s Press Guru Is More Hipster Than Thou
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Rudy Giuliani Braves the Delegate Dance of DoomToday the Times plays the delegate game with Rudy Giuliani. “If he carries Florida, he carries New York,” historian and sometime Giuliani adviser Fred Siegel told the paper. That logic has a victory in Florida giving the former mayor the additional 183 delegates from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut (though it blatantly disregards how this race has proven that one primary can have little or no influence on the next). That would give Giuliani 15 percent of the delegates he needs (not counting Florida’s 57). It’s a boost that would not be insignificant, but the paper also reports that even Giuliani’s staunch supporters in the Northeast are worried, and that McCain is edging ahead in New Jersey. (And, hilariously, the Associated Press has taken to calling his Florida campaign a “Hail Mary.”) But as more and more news outlets are revving up their Giuliani Campaign Deathwatches, it’s almost as if they, too, forget the lessons we’ve learned. Sure, all looks bad for him right now, but it did for McCain in late 2007, and it did for Hillary just before New Hampshire. No one can predict what’s going to happen, not even those goddamned delegates.
Even at Home, Backers Worry About Giuliani [NYT]
Earlier: In 2008 Primary Race, Delegates Take the Lead, Heilemann on Michigan’s Republican Goat Rodeo: Is Rudy a Mad Genius After All?
in other news
Katie Couric Thinks Cindy McCain Looks Like ‘a Husky’Harry Shearer has another funny outtake clip of Katie Couric, this time broadcasting from New Hampshire during the primary. Greatest lines include “Giuliani’s dead. I mean, you know what I mean,” “Oh shit oh shit oh shit,” “[Cindy McCain] looks like a husky!” and “I don’t know much about Huckabee.” Click above to view — it’s sort of boring and riveting at the same time. But it raises the question: How does Harry Shearer keep posting these things without backlash from CBS News and Couric herself? Unless Katie secretly likes this stuff slipping out
Katie Couric 1 [My Damn Channel]
Earlier: Katie Couric: ‘This Tart is Ready to Go’
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The Press Feels Bad It Made Hillary SadLast night’s Hillary victory raised a lot of questions, to be sure. Specifically, it put into the limelight the role of women in this primary season — and the way that woman candidates are covered. Check out a sampling of headlines from this morning:
Can Hillary Cry Her Way Back to the White House? [NYT]
Clinton Camp Goes From Glum to Giddy [LA Times]
A Clinton Wake Becomes a Revival [USA Today]
WHO’S CRYIN’ NOW [NYDN]
Almost everyone emphasizes that she was sad, and now she’s happy. As though that’s what matters the most, how Hillary feels. Now, it may be her fault for near-crying in the first place, but all of a sudden, the candidate who was the most robotic is the emotional heart of this race. Look at her face! She’s happy! (And perhaps a little demented!) We did something good to cheer mom up! We’re not sure that the crying was responsible for Clinton’s among women in New Hampshire (how quickly we forget that Obama had America’s real woman-in-chief, Oprah, stumping for him in Iowa). But we do know this: If Hillary wants to keep women caring about how she feels, she’s going to have to rethink those outfits. Because that whole Talbots–Meets–Madame Chiang Kai-shek thing is enough to turn ‘em away like OxyClean on a tough stain.
Earlier: This Thing Is Still Wide Open
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As Voting Winds Down, Who Is Still Wound Up?While the press has been running ragged up in New Hampshire, we set journalist Peter Keating to work watching the candidates to see which ones were putting in the most effort. Contrary to what the 24-hour news cycle would have you believe, some of them sleep. Some of them skip events. And some of them, well, aren’t really trying. Later tonight, we’ll bring you the results of all the hard work. For now, Keating’s report from the campaign trail begins in a predictable place:
“Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s Visit Here Today At 4:30pm Has Been Cancelled,” reads a sign hanging in the window at John’s Barber Shop, an old-school establishment nestled among the charming shops on Daniel Street in Portsmouth, N.H. Of course it’s been canceled. Rudy had better things to do this afternoon than to keep grubbing for votes in a state where he’s been vying to keep pace with Duncan Hunter in the polls.
New Hampshire: The Wild Rumpus Has BegunPress reports claim that lines at New Hampshire polling stations are already stretching down the street. Anyone still in line at 8 p.m., when the polls close, will be allowed to vote, state officials said. As you can see from last night, above, things were off to an auspicious start.
Update: Bloody hell. Right now the Drudge Report’s banner headline (with a siren!) is this: “EPIC TURNOUT FOR DEMS – We Are Out of Ballots!”
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‘USA Today’ Notices Something Different About GiulianiIf you watched Meet the Press last weekend, chances are you noticed how demented Rudy Giuliani seemed when he kept talking about the Florida primary. Tim Russert would ask about Giuliani’s flagging numbers in New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina, and Giuliani would just reply something along the lines of: “FLORIDA! FLORIDA! FLORIDA!” Giuliani has always been banking on his lead there to overcome any shortcomings in primaries that come earlier, but last weekend he seemed a little bonkers about it. And USA Today reports today that he’s finally changing his strategy.
Instead of emulating former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope strategy and letting his opponents tire themselves out in contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, the former New York mayor has had to start swinging hard in those states.
That’s because Giuliani is behind in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, polls show. So while Ali’s strategy enabled him to unseat heavyweight champ George Foreman in 1974, it won’t help Giuliani win next year’s Republican presidential nomination.
He’s buying more ads in New Hampshire and hoping to shorten Romney’s thirteen-point lead, but staying quiet about it because he doesn’t want to look vulnerable if he can’t pull it off. This whole story made us realize that we should be reading USA Today more frequently. Not for the political analysis, really, but more for the writing. That Muhammad Ali metaphor was practically Shakespearean!
Giuliani shifts tactics, goes on offensive [USAT]
Update: According to one poll, Giuliani has even lost his lead in Florida.
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Giuliani Goes Double or Nothing in Iowa and New HampshireGiuliani must be seriously freaked about Iowa and New Hampshire. Just as a group called “9/11 Parents & Families of Firefighters” is preparing to pillory his terrorism record with a town-hall meeting today in Hanover, New Hampshire, the Republican candidate has launched his first direct-mail offensive that touts him as “America’s Mayor.” While he’s boasted about his 9/11 record in the past, until now he’s refrained from using his media-given nickname to get attention. But with Romney in the lead in the two key early-primary states, Giuliani is now targeting voters in both with a pamphlet explaining how he “led the largest rescue and recovery operation in US history.”
The Future of the Species Depends on Paris HiltonParis Hilton has landed a starring role in a movie set in the year 2056, “when a plague nearly destroys the human race and survival is dependent upon being able to finance a pricey organ transplant.” Anne Hathaway got into a fight with her boyfriend (who is being sued by Ron Burkle) during a screening of her movie in East Hampton, but she stayed with him at the after-party until the cops shut it down at 1 a.m. Madonna strolled into the Reebok Sports Club on Columbus Avenue without checking in. Tyra Banks and her family ate at Serendipity 3. The two assistants from Jane who were cast in SoapNet’s Fashionista Diaries have been moved to CosmoGirl. Usher’s pregnant girlfriend, whom he was slated to marry on Saturday until a last-minute cancellation, checked into a hospital for “pregnancy complications,” though it may just be a ploy to get him back. Ivana Trump is set to get married for a third time, to Rossano Rubicondi.