campaign notes

JAMES A. LANDAU Netscape. Just the Net You Need. JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Mon Mar 17 23:52:14 UTC 2008

Items of philological interest in the current Democratic race:,8599,1710721,00.html

one of Obama's most effective lines is about the "craziness" of trying the same old thing in Washington "over and over and over again, and somehow expecting a different result." The first politician I ever heard use that line — weirdly attributed to everyone from Benjamin Franklin to Albert Einstein — was Bill Clinton.


the rest are from

Somewhere, Harold Ickes is smiling

>From the AP:
Twelve automatic delegates bring [Iowa]'s total to 57. Obama has been endorsed by four of those and Clinton three, with the remainder uncommitted.

(It's the first time I've seen the term "automatic delegates" outside quotation marks, a small victory for Clinton in the language wars.)
Indiana's Yepsen

Matt Tully is the political columnist for the Indianapolis Star (where I spent the summer of '99 covering cops), and as this primary becomes a grand national tour (which is pretty ... democratic), he's a byline to look for.

He offers 10 Simple Steps to Win Over Indiana Dems, including this one:

5. Speaking of Hoosiers, be careful with your use of the word. It's quaint, no question, but not everyone considers it a positive. That's particularly true in Northwest Indiana. The Democratic stronghold is full of people, such as my mom, who consider themselves honorary Illinois residents and, in many cases, think "Hoosier" is a synonym for "rube." In the end, if you are on the ballot in Indiana, you will have to use the word. Just don't get carried away.


Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has a reputation for secrecy and discipline, but her campaign's interaction with the media is increasingly defined by a series of sprawling, freewheeling conference calls during which reporters, bloggers and once even an aide to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) get to ask communications director Howard Wolfson just about anything for an hour a day.

The near-daily conference calls are forums for the Clinton campaign to deliver a message to a captive audience, and for reporters to try to drag them off that message. They're increasingly posted to websites, including Politico, offering outsiders a glimpse at the daily interactions of the campaigns and the media.

The Clinton calls — longer and looser than the Obama campaign's version — are also a campaign subculture of their own, a disembodied "Cheers," where everybody knows your voice, if not your face, and a space with its own rituals and its own set of regulars.

There's your barkeep, the even-tempered if hard-edged Wolfson. There's the voice of collegial authority in Fox News' Major Garrett. There's BusinessWeek's combative David Kiley, who regularly gets in early with a lengthy challenge to some campaign argument he sees as "sideways." There's Slate's subtly challenging John Dickerson. There's even a running gag: those wacky Canadians, who, whatever the news of the day, always want to talk about NAFTA.

Most regular of all, there's NBC's Andrea Mitchell, who speaks in the warm tones of private conversation, and who is always first.

"I think the other reporters would love to know your secrets for pushing the correct buttons," Wolfson told Mitchell after she hit the *1 keys fast enough to, once again, ask the first question on one recent call.

"Quick fingers," she replied.

           James A. Landau
           test engineer
           Northrop-Grumman Information Technology
           8025 Black Horse Pike, Suite 300
           West Atlantic City NJ 08232 USA


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