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Monday, August 27, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"2012 is shaping up as an election in which the winner may earn victory not by virtue of winning the most votes, but on account of the Electoral College. If one candidate enjoys a popular vote edge of 2 percentage points or more, there’s virtually no chance that the other candidate will achieve a majority of the electoral votes. But given how close the election seems this year—average the six national surveys conducted since mid-August, and you get 46.5 percent for Obama and 45.5 percent for Romney—the final results may not be so clean cut. If the Electoral College does come into play, on what will the outcome hinge? As we head toward to Republican convention, here’s a late-summer assessment—not so much a prediction as a viewer’s guide to the fall contest. Let’s begin with the Electoral College foundation on which each candidate will build. A very conservative assessment gives Obama a base of 201 electoral votes, and Romney 181. These numbers exclude one state—Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes—that most observers are putting in Obama’s column, and one state—Missouri (10)—that is likely to go for Romney. Factoring in these probable outcomes, Obama’s base rises to 221 electoral votes, Romney’s to 191. The next tier contains three states that Romney must win and two more that Obama must hold. The Romney 3 are Florida (29), North Carolina (15), and Ohio (18), in each of which Obama’s share of the popular vote in 2008 was well below his national share. No Republican has ever won the presidency without Ohio, and Romney is unlikely to be the first. There’s no road to 270 electoral votes for the Republican ticket that doesn’t run through Florida. And losing North Carolina, which Obama won by only 0.3 percent, would force Romney to flip a major Midwestern state where Obama won by a much greater margin.
Let’s look more closely at Ohio." (TNR)


"Karl Rove on Monday predicted Rep. Todd Akin will lose by the widest margin of any Republican candidate in modern history if he remains in his Missouri Senate race against Sen. Claire McCaskill.'What he said was indefensible and the way he handled it made it worse,' Rove told POLITICO’s Mike Allen at the first POLITICO Playbook Breakfast at the Republican National Convention. 'This is a program that he taped and obviously he saw nothing wrong with it in his tape,' Rove said, pointing out that Akin didn’t respond to the taped interview until two days later. Rove said Akin has no option other than getting out of the race. 'I know Todd. He’s a good man. He has a good heart,' Rove said. 'But he said a real stupid, indefensible thing from which there’s no recovery. And if he really cares about the values of conservatism and pro-life, then he will not go down in defeat with the biggest loss of any Republican candidate for Senate in the modern history.'" (Politico)


"Well, here I am, one week out, and I must admit, my tender nostalgia for the end of summer has turned to an exhausted cry for the respite of the simple, healthy life in Gotham. As of this weekend, I have now seen everyone I have ever wanted to see, at least once. I have consumed every kernel of pearly white corn, every ruby red, bursting tomato, and most taxingly, every last drop of rose. I need to come home to the gentle, peaceful valleys of Manhattan ... Next up, Anne Hearst McInerney and Jay McInerney's Wednesday night dinner. Yes, you have read about them here before, because they are gracious, generous, and exceedingly good at entertaining, and their guests include people as compelling as their fare — Ken Auletta, Ross Bleckner, Roger Waters and so on. This evening, they were welcoming our friend CNN commentator and Democratic spokesman Robert Zimmerman, back from a glam Italian cruise. Jay asked him to begin a non-partisan political discussion, and well ... ain't no such thing. The issue of 'choice' demonstrated there is none — we have all made up our minds, and so we moved on to neutral territory, like food and wine. Le Bernadin's Eric Ripert toasted Jay's wines and cuisine, Jay toasted right back, and we fell in to the happy, full lull that dinners create." (NYSocialDiary)


"Katie Holmes gets to cash in on her marriage by keeping millions of dollars in jewelry and gifts given to her by her ex-husband Tom Cruise, says a source. Following reports of a stingy payout from Cruise, RadarOnline’s source claims that 'Tom was extremely generous to Katie with lavish gifts during their marriage and she will be keeping millions of dollars of jewelry, Hermes handbags and other luxurious items.' 'Tom gave Katie diamond earrings as a birthday gift one year that easily cost over $500k and he had custom design pieces made for her,' says the source.  'Under terms of the divorce, Katie is keeping all of the jewelry, handbags, accessories, and designer clothing.' The source continues that for the time being, the jewels are being kept in a safe place and will likely be given to their daughter Suri once she is old enough. The 'Dawson’s Creek' actress was reportedly uninterested in Cruise’s millions, wanting to settle her divorce quickly. 'Suri has always been Katie's number one priority and concern. During the divorce settlement talks Katie just wanted to make sure that she and her daughter would be taken care of from a financial standpoint,' the source added.The 'Mission Impossible' actor is allegedly paying Holmes $400,000 a year in child support for the next 12 years, or until Suri turns 18. The total payout works out to $4.8 million, which is less than what Cruise makes in a single film." (PageSix)


"It was a lovely weekend in New York; warm and sunny, little humidity and a very quiet town. There were moments on East End Avenue in the middle of the day when nary a car passed by. That is amazing for New York. On Saturday I went over to the West Side to have a meeting with JH. JH and I see very little of each other although we are in frequent communication. He lives and works on the far West Side and I on the East.Sometimes on weekends we’ll meet up to discuss what we are doing, and Saturday we did it during a walk along Riverside Drive in the 80s. JH lives in that neighborhood and knows I am fascinated by the abundance of late 19th, early 20th century architecture in his neighborhood, as is he. Saturday we walked up to 89th and Riverside where the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Monument is and where across the street is one of the few remaining separate standing houses in Manhattan. Across from the monument is the Isaac L. Rice house at 346 West 89th Street on the corner of Riverside. Built in 1903, Mr. Rice, who had emigrated here from Germany with his parents when he was six years old, was a lawyer and a private investor. He bought the property the same year the monument went up, for $225,000 (or many many millions in today’s currency)." (David Patrick Columbia/NYSocialDiary)


"IT’S EASY TO FORGET that eight months ago BuzzFeed didn’t even have a politics section. The website was known primarily for posting goofy and/or heart-warming lists created expressly for readers to share on social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Among the most popular BuzzFeed articles of 2011 were '20 Alcoholic Beverages Inspired By The Harry Potter Series,' 'Basset Hounds Running,' and 'Scared Bros at a Haunted House.' But Jonah Peretti, the site’s CEO (who, like its chair, Kenneth Lerer, also co-founded The Huffington Post), knew that BuzzFeed would benefit from focusing on politics during an election year. People would be obsessed with the campaign and covering it well would offer a shortcut to respectability, a way to implant the brand in the media elite. And so he hired Politico’s Ben Smith, one of the most talented and admired scoop-mongers in the game. Eight months later, under Smith’s direction, the website’s politics vertical (which is just tech-speak for “section”) draws several million unique visitors a month. Many of its reporters are regulars on cable news, and nearly all of them are central to the political conversation on Twitter. Even The New York Times recognizes BuzzFeed’s power: It will be co-producing videos with the site at both parties’ conventions. 'We’ve been doing thorough reportorial, narrative journalism for many, many decades,' says Jim Roberts, the Times’ assistant managing editor and the person who suggested the partnership. 'The lessons we can learn from BuzzFeed are going to be valuable.' On a recent Tuesday afternoon, Smith strolled across the website’s New York office—STOP TWEETING BORING SHIT, reads a sign on the wall—to chat with McKay Coppins. Coppins was working on an article about The New Yorker’s website, which was reeling from the news that its science writer, Jonah Lehrer, had fabricated quotes. Smith inspected Coppins’s story and noticed that he had buried his only piece of fresh information: An editor at The New Yorker went on record saying that the episode wasn’t going to halt the magazine’s attempt to expand online. Even though it wasn’t a particularly interesting or important bit of news, Smith told Coppins to move it much higher up in the piece, because, as Coppins explained later, 'It’s the tweet'—the tiny morsel that Smith felt had the best chance of getting attention on Twitter.In a sense, all of BuzzFeed Politics’s articles, even the long ones, are spiritually 140 characters or fewer. This is no accident; as Peretti likes to say, 'Twitter is the homepage of politics.'" (TNR)

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