Frist, Carville Beat Carmen Electra

Posted February 4, 2008 at 6:58pm

Here’s the verdict on the combo of Democratic strategist James Carville and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.): hotter than Carmen Electra, but not as hot as Justin Timberlake — or a vomiting baby.

[IMGCAP(1)]In case you were in the kitchen getting another beer when their big moment aired, the bipartisan duo starred in a Super Bowl ad for Coke in which they bonded over said fizzy beverage during a kitschy montage of date-movie-worthy scenes filmed around Washington.

The spot is getting good reviews, and by one measure, it was the fourth most popular commercial of the big game. So says TiVo, the video-recording company, which tracked which commercials users watched and re-watched instead of skipped through.

The Carville-Frist cuteness bested scantily clad sexpot (one can’t really call her an actress) Carmen Electra in her ad for Ice Breakers gum, as well as the brewski-swilling cavemen pitching for Bud Light.

But alas, they were no match for heartthrob-singer Justin Timberlake’s Pepsi ad. Frist and Carville can’t be too disappointed at being beaten out by a Grammy-winning pop star hunk. They might be a bit miffed, though, that they were also outdone by a slightly less worthy competitor: a talking baby with a bad case of the spit-ups, in an E-Trade commercial. The baby, HOH feels compelled to note, also had more hair than Carville.

There is more good news for the duo, though. The Carville-Frist spot wasn’t just popular with the masses. It earned some critical acclaim, too. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management graded it an “A.” In one review, Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times called it “classy” and said it “showed you don’t need violence or sex or the sense of humor of a 13-year-old to make a good commercial.”

One notable exception was Alexander Wolfe of InformationWeek, who panned it. “Whaaaaaaaat on Earth is this? One of the most off-putting commercials I’ve ever seen. What demographic is this one aimed at? Dead people? Pass me a Pepsi. Please.”

Ouch. And they say Washington is tough.

Site and Switch. Looks like John Kennedy, the Louisiana Republican who’s hoping to oust Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, inadvertently is helping the competition. Kennedy last week sent out a fundraising e-mail soliciting donations in what looked like a run-of-the-mill candidate pitch.

But those who clicked on the “Visit johnkennedy.com” link in the e-mail were in for a surprise.

The link instead took them to enemy territory, to marylandrieu.com. Kennedy spokesman Jason Hebert says it was a technical error on the part of a campaign staffer and was corrected as soon as the Kennedy camp learned about it. “At least our supporters know who we’re running against,” he said.

Landrieu campaign manager Jay Howser, though, reads a bit into the mistake. “The man who can’t choose what party to be in or what office to run for now seems confused on which candidate to support,” he says.

Kennedy last year switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican to run against Landrieu.

“But we agree on one thing,” Howser continues. “In his e-mail, John Kennedy says he’s looking for an impressive team that knows how to win in Louisiana. Like many other Louisianans, he found it at marylandrieu.com.”

Backing the Right Horse. Sen. Jim DeMint may not be up for re-election until 2010, but the South Carolina Republican already is prepping for a backup career as a sports prognosticator.

DeMint, a longtime sports fan, correctly predicted the outcome of the Super Bowl in the first installment of a new YouTube feature he’s dubbed “Jim DeMint Sports,” which he posted last Friday.

“The Super Bowl may be the most important issue we are facing in Washington today,” said DeMint in a 30-second monologue. “I’m for the underdog. I’d love to see Eli Manning show New York City he’s a great quarterback and surprise the nation and the Giants to win.”

Since his unlikely prediction came true, DeMint’s no doubt feeling pretty good about his winner-picking abilities. The DeMint sports segment will be a semiregular feature on his campaign Web site, his campaign says.

“Sen. DeMint is the first guy I know to predict Carrie Underwood would win American Idol and he’s convinced that Tiger Woods is going to win the Masters,” DeMint state director Luke Byars tells HOH.

And Byars adds that the Senator might go pro himself.

“The real scoop is that the Senator is doing this to prepare some audition tapes for SportsCenter. He’d love to sit next to Stu Scott on a weekly basis.”

Hm, HOH has another idea. Hey Senator, wanna come to the racetrack with us?

Lugar’s Fast Company. Cameron Diaz owns one, and so does Gwyneth Paltrow … and Sen. Dick Lugar does, too. We’re talking about an environmentally conscious hybrid car, of course. An HOH operative spotted the Indiana Republican tooling up to the Capitol on Monday morning behind the wheel of an unlikely vehicle, a silver Toyota Prius.

A spokesman tells HOH that Lugar is big on energy independence and that he can’t wait to trade the already earth-friendly car in for one that’s even greener. “He’d love to get a plug-in hybrid, and he’d like be able to use E-85 gasoline,” the spokesman says, referring to even more advanced technologies and cleaner ethanol fuels.

For now, the Senator gets 50 miles to the gallon on his 3-year-old car, according to the spokesman.

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