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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"'The problem is the campaign is now in a spiral and no one knows how to pull out,' said Republican strategist Greg Strimple, who worked on John McCain’s 2008 campaign. 'Romney needs a big idea, then he needs to shift the debate to spending.' But instead of the retooled and refocused campaign aides promised just 48 hours ago, what Romney has now is the biggest distraction to his campaign yet, one that has prompted two Republican Senate candidates - including one in his own home state — to distance themselves from his original comments. 'That’s not the way I view the world,' said Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) of Romney’s observation. 'As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, I know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in.' Even as they lament this latest unforced error from Romney, many in the party believe their candidate faces more fundamental challenges, including a dwindling number of days left before the election to make his case to swing-state voters. Romney has not held a public event since Friday and spent much of Tuesday raising money in Utah and Texas. 'He needs to be talking about the economy and not in Utah,' said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). 'He’s not going to get beat because of money. He ought to be running in Ohio and Florida like he’s running for governor and running in Virginia like he’s running for sheriff.' Some Republicans actually think there’s political promise in having a debate about the larger issue of the growing dependency on government benefits. But few not working for Romney’s campaign believe that a nominee shown to be politically tone deaf can effectively articulate the case." (Politico)

"Last week, I introduced readers to John Brennan, the U.S. president's closest advisor for intelligence and counterterrorism issues. Although Americans know little about Brennan, he plays an essential role in shaping and implementing the expansive, unprecedented targeted killing of suspected terrorists and militants. He is, the New York Times reported, citing administration officials, the 'priest whose blessing has become indispensable' to Obama. After Brennan lost out on the nomination for CIA director, he became the White House's homeland security advisor and deputy national security advisor for counterterrorism. As Michael Hayden -- the holdover CIA director until Leon Panetta was confirmed -- once observed, 'John Brennan's the actual national intelligence director.'  Not only does Brennan oversee Obama's vision of targeted killings, but he is their public face, defending the policies in major speeches, appearing on Sunday morning talk shows, and providing on- and off-the-record interviews to journalists. According to current and former administration officials, Brennan has embraced this role because he believes that the United States must be more transparent about the legal and ethical foundations for targeted killings." (ForeignPolicy)




"In a series of extraordinary accounts, in Politico and elsewhere, anonymous Romney aides have complained bitterly about the state of their organization, often singling out the chief strategist, speechwriter, and ad-maker, Stuart Stevens, for special scorn. Such sniping is far from unheard of—even in winning campaigns—but coming so close to Election Day, many Republicans see it as cause for alarm. So I called the grand old man of Republican campaign managers and consultants, Stuart Spencer, who helped Ronald Reagan become governor of California and then president, to see what he made of the current turmoil surrounding his namesake. Spencer is no stranger to campaign infighting, having righted the 1980 Reagan campaign after it almost floundered in mismanagement. 'To run the perfect campaign, you’ve got to have a key group of about seven people, with different skills and strengths, and keep them all on the same page,' Spencer told me from his home in Palm Desert. 'There can be a lot of argument internally, but when you get to the end of the day, everybody walks out of the room and keeps their mouth shut.' 'Of course,' he added dryly, 'I’ve run about 400 campaigns in my life and I don’t think I achieved that very often.'" (Vanity Fair)



"Last Wednesday night 1stdibs hosted a Preview Party Gala Benefit at their gallery at 200 Lexington (10th floor) for the exhibition of The World of Gloria Vanderbilt: Collages, Dream Boxes, and Recent Paintings. The evening was hosted by Adolfo, Michael Bruno (the founder of 1stdibs); Gloria’s son Anderson Cooper; James Druckman, Wendy Goodman (who collaborated with Gloria on her most recent book); Kathy Griffin (who was unable to attend because of a previous booking), Joyce Carol Oates, and Diane von Furstenberg. Among the guests were all of the above (save Ms. Griifin), Christopher Madkour, Executive Director of the Huntsville Museum of Art which benefited from the gala; Leslie Crosby, Event Chair of the Huntsville Museum; Emily Goldstein and Stan Stokowski (a son of Vanderbilt’s and the late maestro Leopold Stokowski), Michael Dweck, Aurelia Chaplin Thierree (a granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin), Charlotte Moss, Danielle Colding, Audrey and Martin Gruss, Francesca Stanfill." (NYSocialDiary)


"Still, (NYS resident Fred) Mayer was less upset by the contamination than he was about not making money from it. About the time he signed his lease, then-governor David Paterson watched as drilling devastated neighboring Pennsylvania, where thousands of contamination complaints have been filed. In one incident near Pittsburgh, toxic wastewater ended up in the Monongahela River, leaving 850,000 residents without drinkable water. So Paterson banned fracking in New York. As Mayer sees it, his water is already contaminated, and he could use his 17 percent cut of Fortuna's drilling profits. According to Public Policy Polling, about half of southern New Yorkers agree and hope that Governor Andrew Cuomo will lift the ban so they can begin reaping the riches promised by companies like Chesapeake Energy, Range Resources, Cabot Oil & Gas, and Schlumberger. It doesn't seem to matter that in the past decade fracking has left behind a widening trail of health and environmental disasters. Or that research indicates the influx of money and jobs promised by these companies falls far short of their claims. New York landowners still whisper stories of overnight millionaires just over the border. That's because people are desperate to flee the pressure of another disaster, the one created by the housing crash. The difference is that fracking could imperil more than pocketbooks. There's no shortage of scientists and public health officials who warn that large-scale contamination might leave millions of people without usable water." (VillageVoice)


"Petra Ecclestone is pregnant. The 23-year-old heiress to British Formula One racing billionaire Bernie Ecclestone has told friends that she and her entrepreneur husband James Stunt are expecting their first child, according to The Daily. The couple married 13 months ago at a castle near Rome. They’ll have plenty of room for their new addition. Page Six reported that they currently live in a lavish 123-room mansion in Beverly Hills that once belonged to Aaron and Candy Spelling." (PageSix)


"Wyclef Jean is speaking out on those wild rumors that his former manager Lisa Ellis was fired after his wife discovered naked photos Ellis sent to Jean on his BlackBerry. Page Six reported in 2010 that a photo of Ellis nude, with her hands covering her intimate parts, was sent to Jean, though she said at the time the photo was for a book for photographer Marc Baptiste. In his new book, 'Purpose,' Jean writes of the scandal: 'In those years after my father died, like I said, I made many mistakes. The worst of them was to get into a relationship with the woman who was my manager at the time . . . My former manager claimed that the picture was a nude shot taken by a photographer for a book of artistic portraits. I’m pretty sure that book never came out, but I wasn’t going to throw her under the bus publicly, so I didn’t say anything more about it.' Jean also said he didn’t fire Ellis as his manager because his wife, Claudinette, made him. 'I did so because of a few bad business decisions on her part, and I also didn’t agree with her management style. Even if those two issues hadn’t been there, my mixing business with pleasure was miserable. Firing her as my manager was the only thing I could do after crossing those lines, because business could not go on as usual between us any longer.' Ellis didn’t get back to us." (PageSix)

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