Tuesday Becoming Democrats’ Favorite Day to Make News
President Barack Obama did not simply reappoint Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to his post on a sleepy morning in Cape Cod, Mass., last week. He followed a trend that has become more and more routine this year for Democrats — making news on a Tuesday. In the age of the 24-hour news cycle where stories break and BlackBerrys buzz at all hours of the day, Tuesdays have become routine news days for the White House.“The news can evaporate by Wednesday, but if you do it on Tuesday, you literally are dominating the time Members of Congress are in town,— said Ron Bonjean, a GOP media consultant and former Congressional aide. Obama was inaugurated on Tuesday, Jan. 20, perhaps setting a precedent for headline-making this year by becoming the 44th president and first African-American to hold the office. Just a few weeks later on Feb. 3, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) abruptly withdrew his nomination to be Health and Human Services secretary after facing fierce criticism for his failure to pay $128,000 in taxes. Months later, Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) delivered a Tuesday surprise on April 28, when he shocked colleagues on both sides of the aisle by announcing he was leaving the GOP to run for re-election as a Democrat next year. And Obama appointed Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, May 26, giving the White House nearly a full week to trumpet the nominee while Congress was out of town for the Memorial Day recess. “You certainly wouldn’t want to catch everyone on Monday before they’ve woken up for the week,— said Mike Fulton, a strategist with GolinHarris. “Obviously the Obama administration and the Democratic leadership have agreed that Tuesday is news day, and that’s smart.—Word of Specter’s party switch and Daschle’s withdrawal broke just before Senate Democrats and Republicans met for their weekly policy lunches, when Members are accessible for comment and party leaders hold their regularly scheduled press conferences. Those lunches are almost always held on Tuesdays.“If you make news on Tuesdays, it lasts a couple of days,— Bonjean noted. “Senate policy lunches happen on a Tuesday with news stakeouts because of that fact.—Not all news revolves around the Senate’s weekly press conferences, nor is the practice of making news on Tuesday — purposeful or not — reserved just for Capitol Hill. And not all of it is welcome news.For instance, no one could have predicted Sen. Edward Kennedy’s (D-Mass.) death Tuesday night. Kennedy died after battling brain cancer for more than a year.Yet Democrats have benefited from other breaking events, which happened to fall on Tuesdays. The Minnesota Supreme Court on June 30 ended an eight-month legal battle in declaring that Democrat Al Franken had won that state’s disputed 2008 Senate race. The comedian-turned-politician was promptly sworn into office one week later before a packed house and smiling Democratic Conference on Tuesday, July 7. And in his hometown of Las Vegas on June 16, Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) somberly acknowledged an extramarital affair with a married woman who previously worked as a campaign staffer for him in the 2008 cycle.“Strategically you want to get your news out as soon as possible,— Bonjean said, noting that it’s not always good news that’s made on a Tuesday. Even so, “Tuesday is the new Monday,— Bonjean quipped.