Monday, November 15, 2004

A Tale of Two Campaigns

I know this is old, but it really is a must read.

Two weeks ago, Newsweek came out with its election issue, and has great articles on both Bush and Kerry from reporters that followed both parties throughout the election.

Here's one hilarious highlight, I like to call "the hairbrush story":

The morning after the Feb. 3 primaries, which vaulted Kerry into a virtually insurmountable lead, the candidate was fuming over his missing hairbrush. He and his aides were riding in a van on the way to a Time magazine cover-photo shoot. Nicholson had left the hairbrush behind. "Sir, I don't have it," he said, after rummaging in the bags. "Marvin, f---!" Kerry said. The press secretary, David Wade, offered his brush. "I'm not using Wade's brush," the long-faced senator pouted. "Marvin, f---, it's my Time photo shoot."

Nicholson was having a bad day. Breakfast had been late and rushed and not quite right for the senator. In the van, Kerry was working his cell phone and heard the beep signaling that the phone was running out of juice. "Marvin, charger," he said without turning around. "Sorry, I don't have it," said Nicholson, who was sitting in the rear of the van. Now Kerry turned around. "I'm running this campaign myself," he said, looking at Nicholson and the other aides. "I get myself breakfast. I get myself hairbrushes. I get myself my cell-phone charger. It's pretty amazing." In silent frustration, Nicholson helplessly punched the car seat.

Here's another regarding the Swift Vets attack and Kerry's response:

But as early as Aug. 5, when the Swifties were just getting traction, Edwards wanted to push back, hard. McCain had just told the Associated Press that the Swift Boat ads were "dishonest and dishonorable... the same kind of deal that was pulled on me." Edwards wanted to begin a speech, "I join with Senator McCain in calling on the president to condemn this dishonest and dishonorable ad." But Kerry headquarters said no. Stephanie Cutter, the boss of the Kerry communications shop, explained that the campaign didn't need to give the Swift Boat vets any more attention than they were already getting.

Edwards played along, but his aides were indignant. They warned the veep candidate that the story was already out of control and about to get worse. Historian Douglas Brinkley, author of a wartime biography of Kerry, cautioned that Kerry's diary included mention of a meeting with some North Vietnamese terrorists in Paris. Edwards was flabbergasted. "Let me get this straight," the senator said. "He met with terrorists? Oh, that's good."


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