Interesting behind the scenes info on the Kerry campaign in new Newsweek - Page 3 - U2 Feedback

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Old 11-05-2004, 02:42 PM   #31
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Originally posted by U2democrat
unfortunately every campaign will always have its inner and outer circles that squabble with each other.
Yes, indeed. I think stuff like this is quite humorous but it's important to remember that there are generally not great number of disinterested parties sitting around and giving out quotes. People tend to give quotes and reveal stories out of naked self-interest.

For example, it's in the interest of people loyal to Joe Trippi to paint someone other than Trippi as responsible for Dean's meltdown. It doesn't make what's printed in this article wrong, exactly, but obviously it's only one side of the story. Similarly, if you're loyal to Carville, it's in your interest to make sure Carville gets painted as some sort of wise man that was ignored.

Whenever a ship goes down, as Kerry's has, the finger-pointing starts. People's careers are at stake, so it's important for them to contribute to stories like this just so that the world knows that it wasn't their fault. So while I agree it's amusing, I take it all with a giant grain of salt. It's just not all that reliable in terms of real information.
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Old 11-05-2004, 02:52 PM   #32
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So while I agree it's amusing, I take it all with a giant grain of salt. It's just not all that reliable in terms of real information.
True to keep in mind. The media does suck at accuracy and fairness.
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Old 11-06-2004, 08:24 AM   #33
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Wow... another merciless jab Theresa Heinz...

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A few years before, at her first family Thanksgiving with her proper Bostonian in-laws, Teresa had recoiled at the Puritan simplicity of the affair. Accustomed to the lavish and formal holiday celebrations of a Pittsburgh heiress, Teresa had made clear that she was put off by shabby gentility. But this night, in their grand house on Louisburg Square, as the waiters bustled about with heaping silver trays, she was in her element. To one of the Kerry cousins it really did seem like Camelot redux, a brief and shining moment—all too brief, as it turned out.
and LOL at Alexandra Kerry... Geez... being the public eye can suck...

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Vanessa was still having trouble saying goodbye to her private life. She traveled under an assumed name and, in the early days of the campaign, sometimes ran from well-wishers at airports. She had dropped out of Harvard Medical School for the year, partly to avoid the stares of her own teachers. Moving from her apartment in late June, she had been accosted by a man who said, "Hey, you look just like that Kerry girl." Lugging a bureau, dressed in a stained T shirt, Vanessa replied, "You know, I get that all the time." "Don't worry about it," said the stranger. "She's not that bad-looking." (Kerry told the story to her father. When he got over laughing, he teased her mercilessly, repeating whenever she was cranky or sulky: "Don't worry about it, you're not that bad-looking.")
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On the campaign bus, there had been constant talk of marital spats between the candidate and his wife for the past several days: Teresa wasn't speaking to her husband, she wanted to go home, she was driving the Secret Service crazy with her chronic lateness, she was having perhaps a glass of wine too many at night. Or so it appeared to the traveling press corps and not a few of Kerry's own entourage. (Teresa's friends scoffed at the suggestion that she overimbibed; they described her as a European bon vivant who enjoyed a glass of wine or two.) That morning at the Grand Canyon, the press corps was atwitter over the rumor published in the Drudge Report that the night before in Flagstaff, Ariz., Teresa had requested separate accommodations from Kerry, on the other side of the Little America Hotel. ("It's wrong, they did not have separate rooms," said Kerry aide Michael Meehan.) On the Grand Canyon hike, Teresa was soon complaining of migraines and telling her husband she couldn't walk anymore.

The happy-family-vacation scenario was disintegrating in plain view. The candidate tried to bravely soldier on, pulling along his sullen wife and children to show them the magnificent condors flying overhead. It was a losing battle; he was the only one who looked interested.
LOL... one thing for sure.... Kerry sucked at the "staged" moments ranging from the hunting trips to the football on the tarmac stuff...
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Old 11-06-2004, 08:32 AM   #34
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WTF!?!??!

That famous moment concerning "authority" and the problems of the media...

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If Kerry felt stressed, he tried hard not to show it, but when he stepped in front of the microphones at the end of the trail, he fell flat on his face. A Washington Post reporter did not want to ask the Democratic nominee about Bush's environmental record. He asked instead about a challenge the president had laid down a few days before. If Kerry had to do it all over again, knowing what he knew now, would he still have voted in support of the Iraq war?

"Yes," Kerry responded, then lapsed into Senate speak: "I would have voted for the authority. I believe it was the right authority for the president to have."

Kerry showed no recognition that he had just blundered. (Rule one of campaigning is to never answer a question posed by your opponent.) He spent a pleasant afternoon sitting in the back of the train talking to Vanessa about the meaning of life, challenging his daughter to think more deeply about life's eternal questions. At the other end of the train, in the crowded press car, reporters were struggling to make sense of what the candidate had said, or meant to say. Though they groused about the campaign's tardiness and loved to gossip about Teresa, the reporters on the Kerry tour were at the same time somewhat protective of the candidate and reluctant to pass on rumors. Kerry might not be the warmest or jolliest politician, but he was still their candidate, the man they spent day and night following around the country, and whom some of them might follow right to the most prestigious beat in Washington, the White House. No hint of the Kerry-Heinz domestic discord crept into their stories, and the reporters sometimes gave the candidate the benefit of the doubt when he rambled or talked in circles. Reporters on a campaign plane are usually not competitive loners; over the days and weeks, they bond and at deadline time compare notes, out of a sense of collegiality and mutual self-defense.

At first, the general consensus among the boys and girls on the bus that day was that Kerry's remarks had been too indecipherable to constitute real news. Yes, Senator Kerry had said he would have voted for giving the president the "authority" to go to war, but was that really the same as approving of the decision to go to war? But as East Coast deadlines approached, the editors on the national desks of the big dailies—The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe—pressed: if the reporters wanted to make page one, they had to decide if this was really breaking news.

Competition, the pressure of time and possibly a weariness with Kerry's tiresome fondness for nuance and complexity pushed the reporters off the fence. Two days before, one of Kerry's foreign-policy advisers, Jamie Rubin, a top aide to former secretary of State Madeleine Albright, had told the Post's Jim VandeHei that Kerry would have voted for the war "in all probability" even if no WMD had been found. Rubin later bitterly complained that he had been misquoted—he had added the stipulation that Kerry would have backed the war only with the support of many other nations and if Saddam had failed to comply with U.N. weapons inspectors. But the way the Post played the story—that Kerry did not regret his vote—helped push other editors at other papers to take the same line. As the story was played the next day in the big papers, then in all the media outlets, Kerry was signaling that he was in essential agreement with the president's decision to go to war.

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Old 11-06-2004, 08:39 AM   #35
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I love Peggy Noonan, but the image is hillarious in terms of breaking out of writer's block...

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The convention planners also worried about overdoing 9/11. They had planned to introduce Bush by playing an emotional video for a Michael W. Smith song called "There She Stands," which played on the imagery of the Stars and Stripes over Ground Zero. When McKinnon first saw the video, he started to weep. But some staffers were concerned that the press would accuse the campaign of wrapping Bush in the flag. ("Too patriotic?" McKinnon asked himself. "And the problem with that would be?")

Peggy Noonan, Ronald Reagan's old speechwriter, was drafted to craft a script for a new video. She had writer's block. "I'm just not getting it, guys," she told the BC04 team. "It's just not there." The campaign sent Noonan a bunch of photos and told her to try harder. McKinnon tried to imagine the speechwriter—a "feeler," he called her, "she's very artistic, very poetic... she's a feeler"—using the photos to get over her block. He thought of Noonan "getting naked and rubbing the pictures, lighting incense, channeling." Whatever: it seemed to work. A few days before the speech, Noonan delivered her script. The president's appearance was preceded by a short, moving video and no introduction. Bush just walked out on the convention floor. The faithful went wild.
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Old 11-06-2004, 08:45 AM   #36
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Interesting Bush family dynamics and LOL at the Bush twins...

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Bush had been a little disappointed that his own daughters did not seem to like politics. When he was 18 he had traveled around Texas with his father as the senior Bush ran for the U.S. Senate (he lost that 1964 race to Democrat Ralph Yarborough). George W. Bush had been emotionally involved in his father's campaigns, recalled Laura. But not the twins. The girls could have been involved with their father's presidential campaign in 2000, when they turned 18, but they chose not to, wishing to preserve their anonymity when they went off to college (the press did give them a zone of privacy, except when they were caught using fake IDs to drink alcohol). Jenna had begged her father not to run for president in 2000. "Oh, I just wish you wouldn't run," she had told him. "It's going to change our life." Bush had replied, "You know, Jenna, your mother and I are living our lives. And that's what we raised you and Barbara to do: live yours."

Sometime during the winter of 2003-04, her last at the University of Texas, Jenna Bush had a bad dream, according to her mother. In the dream she imagined her father losing the election. Jenna had a revelation. She wanted to be with her father and be involved in the campaign. She called her mother and sent her father a message telling him about her desire to help. "It was very moving to George," the First Lady told NEWSWEEK.

The girls had always been a little naive about the press. During Barbara's time at Yale, a publication got wind of her summer internship in New York and was preparing to publish an item. "Can you call them up and tell them not to write that?" Barbara asked a White House press aide. The aide suppressed a sigh and explained reality. The twins had taken their lumps from time to time for their partying, but they were unprepared for the coverage of their attempt to be humorous at the convention. The speech had felt like a bad inside joke; grandmother Barbara Bush looked aghast when the twins tried to crack a joke about what "Gammy" thought of "Sex and the City." The twins simpered and giggled through it, but they were hurt by the reviews. "Lame," wrote a New York Times critic, and that was one of the kinder judgments. (The speech had been largely written by Karen Hughes. It was well known within the Bush campaign that humor was not Hughes's forte. The president teased her, "Karen, you're not the funny one.")

And yet the twins did not sulk, at least for long. They went back out on the campaign trail with their father and had fun. The girls had been on the bus off and on through August. The president clearly enjoyed having them along for the ride; the former fraternity-rush chairman chuckled as his daughters called out derisive signs they saw along the road. Passing a you suck! father and daughters howled with sophomoric glee.

The girls, especially Jenna, had more than a touch of their father's in-your-face showmanship. Jenna got the hang of working an audience. At the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, she paused at what was clearly meant to be an applause line in her speech. When no one clapped, she looked straight at a girl in the front row and said, "Clap!" As the audience dutifully clapped, Jenna turned to Barbara and both girls laughed. Boys kept approaching the girls insisting, "My mom really wants me to take a picture with you two." By the third time around, Jenna simply replied, "Ohhh, really?" As they left an event in Milwaukee, hecklers held up a sign saying send the bush twins to iraq. A male student yelled out, "No way, don't send them to Iraq. Send them to my room!"

Karen Hughes wrote that sucky Bush twins speech!!! LOL...

It must suck being the first daughter. I thought Mandy Moore and Katie Holmes had it bad...
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Old 11-06-2004, 08:49 AM   #37
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The twins were beginning to enjoy the dynastic imperative. At the wedding of their cousin George P. Bush at the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, in August, Jenna and some other cousins stood to propose a toast. They raised a glass to George P. and his future bride—the president and First Lady, "2024 or something," Laura Bush recalled to NEWSWEEK.
Bush dynasty?

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Old 11-06-2004, 08:56 AM   #38
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Evil genius Karl Rove...

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The First Lady was a benign presence in the campaign. She was amused by the omnipotent Rove. "I love Karl," she told a NEWSWEEK reporter. "He's fun to be with. He reminds me of Pig Pen [the "Peanuts" character who walks around in a cloud of dirt]. Like ideas come off of him, the dirt... you know how his hair kind of all stands up at the top." She thought Rove got too much credit and too much blame. "I love to call him for the scoop," she said. "I love to gossip with him. And hear what he has to allow."
I feel bad for Ben Ginsburg to some degree... and LOL at the New York Times reporter, Rutenberg- he is a cold, cold man... LOL...


Quote:
Ben Ginsberg was the chief lawyer for the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign. But he handled other clients as well, and in July he was approached by a group of Vietnam veterans who wanted some legal advice. They were angry, they said, about historian Douglas Brinkley's Vietnam War biography of Kerry, "Tour of Duty." They said they had served in Swift Boats with Kerry, and that he had exaggerated or even lied about his exploits, while denigrating his old buddies as war criminals. Because of his three Purple Hearts (one undeserved, according to the Swifties), Kerry had been allowed to go home to preen for the cameras, while the rest of them were stuck in the Mekong Delta. Still nursing the resentments of more than three decades, the Swift Boat vets were raising money to run an ad exposing Kerry. They needed a lawyer to help them navigate the campaign-finance laws.

Ginsberg liked the vets. He had been feeling guilty about his generation's sneering contempt for the military as a Vietnam-era college student. He wanted to help out. He did not worry—at the time—that it would be somehow improper for the Bush-Cheney campaign lawyer to be advising a 527 group. He wasn't doing anything that the other side wasn't already doing, he figured. He knew that the lawyers in the Kerry campaign and at the DNC were giving legal counsel to 527s, and nobody seemed to object. Besides, the Swift Boat vets didn't think they'd cause much of a stir. At a picnic on a muggy night in July, they told Ginsberg that they were pretty sure the establishment press would just blow them off.

Later, after the swift boat ads became a sensation that threatened to sink the Kerry campaign, not a few pundits and politicos speculated that Karl Rove had been behind the whole thing. After all, Rove was reputed to be a great lover of political dirty tricks, an expert at running smear campaigns through go-betweens or, in spy jargon, "cutouts." Rove was an old friend of a wealthy Texan named Bob Perry, who had given the Swift Boat vets $200,000 to buy some ads. Rove insisted that he had not spoken to Perry in more than a year and that he had played no role in setting up the Swift Boat vets, but political insiders all winked knowingly at each other.

Rove is a likely and even plausible target for conspiracy theories. But if he was running a covert operation to attack Kerry through the Swift Boat vets, it was a pretty sloppy one. How could he have allowed BC04's own lawyer to represent the vets if he wanted to conceal the hand of the Bush campaign? Ginsberg maintains that he never told Rove he had taken on the Swifties as clients; even so, if Rove had been worried about disguising any link between the Bush campaign and the Swift Boat vets, he would presumably have taken more pains to warn top BC04 staffers to keep their hands off.

Ginsberg realized soon enough that he had an image problem working for the Swift Boat vets at the same time that he was representing BC04. A few days before the Republican convention, he was called by Jim Rutenberg of The New York Times. Rutenberg had been tipped off to Ginsberg's role, presumably by the Democrats. At first Ginsberg tried to argue with the Times reporter that there was nothing improper, no story here, but he had a sinking feeling that he would soon be reading about himself in the papers. He called Rove and the other top BC04 officials and offered to resign from the campaign. They told him to hold off until they saw Rutenberg's article in print.

At about 11 p.m., a very agitated Ginsberg was waiting to read the early online version of the next day's New York Times when Rutenberg called. "God, we just thought of something," said Rutenberg (as Ginsberg recalled the conversation). "This isn't going to have any impact on your role in the campaign, is it? We haven't, like, screwed you over?" Ginsberg responded, "You've got to be kidding me. How f---ing out to lunch are you!" (Rutenberg agreed his conversations with Ginsberg were heated, but insisted to NEWSWEEK that the Times was fair in its reporting on both Republican and Democratic 527s.) Before Ginsberg could hurl the phone against the wall, he hung up. He wrote his letter of resignation at 4 a.m. As he watched the story of his demise that morning on CNN, he noticed old photos of him from the 2000 campaign. He was taken aback at how much grayer his hair had become.
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Old 11-06-2004, 09:03 AM   #39
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If the Kerry campaign had used Thorne (Kerry's first wife) in the first place to answer back against the swift boats, IMO... Kerry would have overcome the attacks more convincingly... Geez, how could they have not used her. The story she gives about Kerry is pretty strong...

Quote:
The pain reached deep into the Kerry family. His first wife, Julia Thorne, had been the forgotten woman of the campaign. Divorced from Kerry since 1988, she lived quietly in Montana, recovered from bouts of depression that had plagued her as the privately unhappy wife of a very public man. Thorne never gave interviews, but she was watching the campaign closely, talking to her daughters, Alexandra and Vanessa, at least once a day. She was very upset, she told Vanessa. She could remember how Kerry had suffered in Vietnam; she had seen the scars on his body, heard him cry out at night in his nightmares. She was so agitated about the unfairness of the Swift Boat assault that she told Vanessa she was ready to break her silence, to speak out and personally answer the Swift Boat charges. She changed her mind only when she was reassured that the campaign was about to start fighting back hard.
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Old 11-06-2004, 09:08 AM   #40
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Is there truth to this assessment? Looks that way considering how Kerry's campaign has been portrayed so far...

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The men and women around the president were brimming with confidence and condescension toward the Kerry team. Most of Bush's top political advisers had been with him since his days as governor of Texas. Rove and Hughes, McKinnon and Dowd had exulted and suffered through the wild ride of election night 2000. They saw themselves as a family, not without stresses and rivalries, but bonded by victory and adversity. They were intensely loyal to the president, who demanded absolute and unquestioning fealty. The Bushites looked on the Kerryites, by contrast, as a band of mercenaries working for a Captain Queeg. Kerry depended on hired guns because he was unable to command the affection and devotion of his subordinates, the Bush aides thought. They believed they were winning the election because they had the better candidate but also because they were better organized and just plain smarter than the opposition.
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Old 11-06-2004, 09:11 AM   #41
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The image of George Bush Sr. ... LOL... CBS

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At a press conference in mid-September with interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, Bush called out, "Is anybody here from CBS?" He sounded more needling than gracious.

His father had been worrying. The elder Bush's ulcers had been acting up. Bush senior had watched the "60 Minutes" "scoop" with rising indignation. He disliked the "60 Minutes II" anchorman, Dan Rather, who had staged a hostile confrontation with the then Vice President Bush in an interview during the 1988 campaign. George H.W. Bush was by and large an optimist and a forgiving man. But he nurtured long grudges against certain reporters, and Rather was one of them. Lately Bush senior had been keeping a sleeve of saltine crackers on his desk to tamp down his bile. He would munch on the crackers as he watched the talking heads and the evening news, his stomach churning.
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Old 11-06-2004, 09:19 AM   #42
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Ah... the Clintonistas arrive... maybe underused b/c of the Hillary rumors?

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The loudest grumbling about the sorry state of the Kerry campaign came from the so-called Clintonistas. The followers and former aides of President Bill Clinton had been the masters of rapid response, the creators of the much-mythologized 1992 war room that never let a news cycle pass without a charge rebutted. The Clinton team was also the only Democratic political faction to actually win any presidential elections over the previous quarter century. Not unreasonably, the Clintonistas felt a certain standing to pronounce judgment and offer critiques.

The loudest, and most colorful, sideline commentator was James Carville, the Ragin' Cajun, who, along with his peppery Republican wife, Mary Matalin, had become a kind of media-political institution in Washington. Carville (affectionately known by his wife as "Ol' Serpent Head") could be heard cheerfully squawking and blathering on CNN's "Crossfire" and at pretty much any cocktail party where prominent journalists and political consultants gathered. For a time Carville uncharacteristically restrained himself with Kerry. The two men talked on the phone, but the earthy Carville and the Brahmin Kerry were not natural soul mates. In the spring, Carville had urged Kerry to bring on his buddy and "Crossfire" cohost Paul Begala to help with strategy and campaign communications. An amiable, fast-talking Texan, Begala had helped out Kerry for a couple of weeks, but the two did not click. Kerry signaled to Cahill that Begala was not the campaign sidekick he was looking for (inviting the question of whether Kerry, the loner, really wanted such a companion in the first place). Cahill did not directly tell Begala it was a no-go, but she stopped returning his phone calls. Left hanging, Begala felt wounded. Carville hurt for his pal, and began having a harder time holding his tongue about the failings of the Kerry campaign.

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Old 11-06-2004, 09:23 AM   #43
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Teresa, Teresa... IMO you should have put yourself out there less if you wanted to live in the White House.

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Teresa just seemed fed up. According to her carefully cultivated image in the press, Mrs. Heinz Kerry had been initially reluctant to see her husband run for president. "First Lady?" she would coyly ask. "No, thanks!" Then, according to this script, she had felt the call of duty and history and rallied to her husband's cause. The truth, as her family and close friends were well aware, was more like the opposite. She had always coveted the White House, and had hoped that her first husband, Sen. John Heinz, might get her there. She had been an active and aggressive strategist in Kerry's campaign. That is, she had tried to be. But too often, she found, her ideas went unheeded.

[At least Bob Shrum had been polite about it. The ever-courtly Shrum had flattered her and seemed to listen before rejecting her advice, and then did so ever so gently and almost never directly to her face. But Mary Beth Cahill lacked Shrum's tact or subtle gifts. With her unvarnished manner, Cahill appeared annoyed by any meddling from the candidate's wife. Teresa, for her part, decided that Cahill was arrogant, and the two strong-willed women clashed, most openly when Cahill rejected Teresa's nomination for a new press aide in June. Kerry was caught in the middle. If he sided with his staff, as he usually did because he had more regard for their advice, he risked an unpleasant argument with his wife. All through the disastrous "Sea to Shining Sea" tour in July and August, he and his wife had squabbled. Now, as the campaign entered the fall stretch, Teresa was visibly tired of it all. She still badly wanted to beat Bush, she told her close friends and family. But she was looking forward to getting away from politics and spending time with her kids.
Seriously, I feel bad for John Kerry... what a mess.
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Old 11-06-2004, 09:28 AM   #44
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More Clintonista talk and Clinton coming off as the Godfather...

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Carville was working himself up to a confrontation. On the Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend, with the Republicans basking in the success of their convention, he decided to try to force the issue. Along with Clinton's old pollster Stan Greenberg, Carville went to see Mary Beth Cahill and Joe Lockhart at the Kerry campaign headquarters on 15th Street. Greenberg was soft-spoken and generally supportive of the Kerry team, though he did offer a critique demonstrating that Kerry's speeches sounded about five different themes without any organizing principle. Carville, however, was so worked up that he began to cry. He wanted so badly to beat Bush, he said, yet the Kerry campaign was failing miserably. Carville came right out and said that Cahill had to step aside and let Lockhart, the Clintonista newcomer, run the campaign. "You've got to let him do it!" implored Carville, pounding Lockhart's arm until it was bruised. Carville spoke as if Mary Beth weren't in the room. "Nobody can gain power without someone losing power. If somebody doesn't lose power, nobody's gained power," he lectured. The "somebody" sitting a few feet away just remained silent. Carville threatened to go on "Meet the Press" the next day "and tell the truth about how bad it is" if Cahill didn't give effective control to Lockhart.

The most prominent Clintonista also weighed in that Saturday, Sept. 4. Former president Clinton was resting in a hospital bed in New York City, awaiting a heart-bypass operation. But he couldn't resist injecting himself into the Kerry campaign crisis. For 90 minutes that night, as various campaign aides listened in on a conference call, the ex-president lectured the would-be president on what he had to do to get back in the race. Clinton urged Kerry to spend less time talking about Vietnam and more time engaging on Iraq. This was not the first time Clinton had weighed in. Some of the suggestions were a little over the top, the Kerry aides thought. In an earlier phone call, Clinton—ever the political triangulator, looking for ways to pick up swing voters by reaching into the so-called Red States—had urged Kerry to back local bans on gay marriage. Kerry respectfully listened, then told his aides, "I'm not going to ever do that."

On Monday morning, less than 36 hours later, Kerry read a none-too-flattering account of his phone call with Clinton on the front page of The New York Times. The article made both Clinton and Kerry look a little desperate, engaged in a sickbed seance over Kerry's political survival. The imagery was demoralizing: if Kerry was so hapless at running his own campaign, voters were going to start wondering how well he would run the White House. Kerry was furious and chewed out Lockhart, whom he suspected to be the source. Not true, insisted Lockhart, still new on the job but already on the verge of quitting (others suspected Carville of the leak). Kerry was beleaguered. He was wary of the agenda of the Clinton exiles: if he lost in November, the way would be open for Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2008.

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Old 11-06-2004, 03:52 PM   #45
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Just got my issue of Newsweek in the mail today, and will definitely be reading it tonight.
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