One Wine, One Martini, One Bourbon
Three House Republicans are stealing a page from George Thorogood’s rock anthem “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” to raise money for their campaigns.
Coordinating with alcohol-themed bashes being
held by two of his colleagues who live on the same street, Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) is opening up his town home on Capitol Hill for a wine tasting on the evening of Sept. 17.
A few doors down, Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) is hosting a martini tasting at the same time. Further down D Street, Rep. Clay Shaw (R-Fla.) will be having a bourbon tasting to raise funds for his re-election campaign.
As the joint invitation has circulated around Capitol Hill, wags have noted that the trio of parties are somewhat similar to the old “Around the World” bashes that party- hopping college students have been known to throw in dorm rooms.
And then there’s the obvious comparison to Thorogood’s famed song about an out-of-work dude who’s having trouble paying the rent. Given the state of the economy these days, however, the three Republicans probably want to steer clear of that comparison.
And some of the Thorogood lyrics — such as “Gotta get a drink man I’m gonna get gassed/Gonna get high man I ain’t had enough” — do not exactly mesh with the GOP platform. Besides, “One Chardonnay, One Martini, One Bourbon” just doesn’t have the same ring as the original.
“I don’t know about George Thorogood,” Johnson spokesman Brian Schubert told HOH. “But since Nancy likes her martinis shaken, not stirred, we’re hoping that Sean Connery stops by to say hello.”
Road Trip Envy? Ex-Rep. John Thune (R), who’s mulling a challenge to Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D), appears to be a tiny bit jealous of the attention that Daschle has gotten for his road trip through South Dakota.
Daschle’s annual August journey, which was most recently chronicled in The Washington Post, has given the Senate leader a chance to claim that his visits with average folks across the state show he’s still grounded in South Dakota.
So Democrats are poking fun at the fact that the Republican has just scheduled the “JOHN THUNEder Road Family Fun Day” for Sept. 13 in Sioux Falls. Proceeds from the event, which includes discounted go-kart rides for kids, will go to a local Republican women’s club.
“Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but this is a pretty sad attempt on John Thune’s part to replicate Senator Daschle’s annual driving tour,” said one Democratic strategist.
Ryan Nelson, Thune’s former political director, countered that the event will include some miniature golf — in addition to the go-karts — at the family fun park. He scoffed at the notion that his guy’s trying to match Daschle.
“It looks like Tom Daschle has too much time on his hands when he’s worried about John Thune’s miniature golf score,” joked Nelson.
Nelson also couldn’t pass up a shot at Daschle’s digital diary during his road trip, noting that Thune’s event will be different because “we won’t be doing a blog on this.”
Grinding It Out. CNN’s daily political tip sheet “The Morning Grind” went online this week, heating up an already fierce competition between reporters at the television networks to prove they have a leg up on the competition.
The battle of the network stars has grown nearly as intense as the fight between the Democratic presidential candidates themselves, with network types scratching and clawing to highlight their niches.
“I am the Howard Dean of the tip sheets,” joked CNN Political Editor John Mercurio, a former Roll Call reporter whose niche is that his tip sheet aims to get out of the box before similar publications produced by the news divisions at ABC, CBS and NBC.
Unlike the political candidates, however, Mercurio declined to go negative on the competition — sort of. “I’ll beat up on PBS,” he said, tongue firmly in cheek. “They have no presence.”
The Grind had only been distributed by e-mail to a select group of folks for a few months, but it is now available to the whole wide world at CNN.com. CNN’s PR folks boast that their newsletter, which summarizes the morning newspapers and provides a look ahead at the day’s political events, hits the Web first at 9 a.m. each morning.
“People come in to the office and before they do anything, they’ll get a cup of coffee and read the Morning Grind,” Mercurio said. (Aren’t the corporate bosses at AOL Time Warner missing a great marketing tie-in with Starbucks?)
NBC Political Director Elizabeth Wilner, who crafts “First Read” each morning, noted good-naturedly that CNN’s product hit e-mailboxes at 9:05 a.m. Monday, while NBC’s arrived at 9:06.
“I think it’s a fine competition to have,” said Wilner. “If John’s comes out five minutes before mine some days, it’s all good fun. And I certainly enjoy reading his each morning.”
ABC’s “The Note” comes out about 90 minutes after CNN and NBC and is known for being chock full of inside baseball. ABC Political Director Mark Halperin said, “Content is king. We love our readers and we’re glad they like us and what we’re doing.”
CBS’ “Washington Wrap” tries to appeal to a more general audience and publishes at about 11:30 a.m. “We aim for the lunch bunch,” said CBS Senior Political Editor Dotty Lynch. “That’s a time when the Web gets a lot of traffic.”
Fox News has skipped the tip-sheet game altogether, and one source there suggested the other networks are wasting their time by putting so much energy into Web publications with tiny audiences.
“Reading the daily local newspapers and regurgitating them as your own does not constitute breaking political news,” said the Fox insider. “When we have stuff to say, we put it on the air.”
But Chuck Todd, editor-in-chief of The Hotline, believes the various publications are successful because they are essentially blogs that give the networks a chance to provide some fresh reporting that would normally wind up on the cutting-room floor.
“When is the print world going to do what the networks are doing?” asked Todd. “Roger Simon [of U.S. News & World Report] has been effective with RogerSimon.com. When does DanBalz.com start?” he said of the star scribe at The Washington Post.
Steve Elmendorf, top adviser to Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.), had a diplomatic answer when asked whether he has time to read all of the various publications.
“I read them all as soon as I get them,” he said, clearly not wanting to offend anyone who’s covering the campaign so closely, “and find them indispensible.”
In the Crossfire. Elsewhere at CNN, Sam Feist has been promoted to the newly created position of senior executive producer for political programming.
Feist, who is the senior executive producer of “Crossfire” right now, will have oversight over the shoutfest but pass the day-to-day reigns to Kristy Schantz. She now becomes executive producer of the show.
“In his new role, Sam will also add oversight of all other political programming on CNN/U.S., except for the other D.C.-based talk shows, which remain under the leadership of Sue Bunda and Lucy Spiegel,” CNN boss Teya Ryan said in a memo distributed Monday.
Wishful Thinking? A press release for presidential candidate Dean’s appearance at the University of Maryland in College Park on Monday night suggested that reporters would have to turn on “President’s Drive” in order to get to the media check-in spot.
David Paulson, a volunteer coordinating the event for “Maryland for Dean,” sent out a correction saying the road “described as ‘President’s Dr.’ is in fact ‘Field House Dr.’”
It turns out that a part of the road in question is called “President’s Dr.,” but the section in question does not go by that name. But a slightly overzealous volunteer decided to run with the idea of the former Vermont governor riding in through an aptly named road.
“I relied on someone else’s optimism,” Paulson told HOH with a laugh.
Dean has been speaking to overflow crowds lately, and the Nyumburu Cultural Center holds only 2,500 people. So the campaign was fretting about turning people away.
“We’re scared to death we’re going to have too many,” Paulson said.