Monday, November 15, 2004

Behind The Presidency That Wasn't

After September 11th, Americans became intensely political; insanely so. It was in our self-interest to do so, of course. We became more curious about the vagaries of the dangerous world in which we now so jarringly now inhabit. Political magazine subscriptions skyrocketed post 9/11, and nonfiction political bestsellers skyrocketed across the charts. Ancillary to the increasing relevance of political reporting, the product became insanely great, and, none more so, The Corsair must say, than Newsweek's coverage of campaign 2004. The Corsair appreciates its fabulosity involved.

Last week's "How Bush Did It" cover story was excellent. Now, according to the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, a new behind the scenes Newsweek piece will archaeologically excavate the ruins of the campaign that wasn't, and, perhaps, never was, with startling details as:

"Teresa Kerry was a major 'distraction' who 'demanded everyone's attention, including her husband's.' During the primaries she told (former Kerry campaign manager Jim Jordan): 'I want you to issue a challenge for me to debate Howard Dean.'"


" ... On a Grand Canyon hike meant to provide footage of a happy family vacation, 'Teresa was soon complaining of migraines' as the candidate kept pulling along 'his sullen wife and children.' Later, Kerry confidant John Sasso told her that she was being too critical of her husband and depressing his spirits."

"By the fall, Kerry was 'unhappy' with senior advisers Robert Shrum and Tad Devine and 'annoyed' with communications director Stephanie Cutter, described as too slow-moving and the target of frequent complaints by the traveling press corps."

And, of all the behind-the-scenes info, this most interesting chestnut:

" ... In early September, CNN commentator James Carville said in a meeting with campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill and the newly hired Lockhart that if Cahill didn't give Lockhart effective control of the operation, the ragin' Cajun would go on 'Meet the Press' the next day 'and tell the truth about how bad it is.' And when Lockhart, the former Clinton White House spokesman, began controlling the campaign's message, longtime Kerry loyalists complained that he and other Clinton veterans were 'burnishing their reputations' by taking credit in the press for the campaign's positive moves. Such criticism about leaks nearly prompted Lockhart to quit within days."

Read Howard Kurtz's full story here.

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