Ben Smith's blog
If I was writing for a newspaper this week, I'd probably be sticking this in there -- but in any case: Barack Obama has spent the last few days calling friends, select elected officials, and likely major donors to tell them he's running for president, according to a Democratic source.
He's also begun an Internet advertising campaign to build interest in his candidacy -- another sign that, at this point, his deliberation isn't much more than a pose. Looks like it'll be a fun year.
The most interesting thing about the Democratic Party's decision to host its 2008 convention in Denver is the fact that New York apparently walked away from the contest.
There are at least three New York Democrats (I'm including Bloomberg here) who want to be president -- Mike, Hillary, and Eliot. And none of them fought to have the convention in their hometown, or committed to raise the money. Neither did Chuck Schumer.
For very different reasons, none of them saw that association with explicitly partisan politics, and with the Democratic Party, as a plus for their national reputations. Mike's Mr. Independent; Eliot has a government to run; and Hillary -- going national -- just didn't seem to care much one way or the other. (As someone pointed out to me today, Hillary's fighting for Denver might have been the only way to convince Dean to put it in New York.)
With a bit written on the Board of Elections' chipping away at Eliot Spitzer's mandate by (reasonably) including blank ballots in its final vote count, it's worth noting that Hillary slipped too from the 67% reported election night.
Her final tally: 63.96% of the vote to John Spencer's 29.6%. Actually, this may spin better for Hillary: fewer than 30% of New Yorkers voted for her Republican opponent. Worth a try?
That is, indeed, the subtitle of the book out later this month from Wiley. Insert joke here.
Amid worries over whether he's really running, it probably does make sense to get those Rudy books onto shelves right now.
Jennifer Cunningham, whose ability and role running Local 1199's politics made her one of the most powerful people in New York politics, has left the union for a job as partner in the consulting firm Knickerbocker SKD.
People may be tempted to read this as a setback for 1199, and it probably is to some degree. But the firm already had 1199 as a major client, and the press release suggests that Cunningham will be operating from there in the battle that appears to be brewing between the very, very deep-pocketed union and Eliot Spitzer.
The move also takes her, to some degree, out of the orbit of Andrew Cuomo, in whose successful campaign this year she played a central role. Knickerbocker's principals played a central role on Cuomo's 2002 campaign, but not on his 2006 one.
Way back last summer, Brooklyn DA Joe Hynes helped end Mark Green's campaign for Attorney General by leaking to the Post word of a revived investigation into Green's 2001 campaign. People around Green were convinced that it was a Cuomo hit, recalling that Mario gave Hynes his start in politics.
People around Cuomo responded that Hynes and Cuomo fell out over an ancient slight at the 1994 state Democratic convention, and so there was no reason to think Hynes would do Cuomo a favor.
That latter theory made sense until yesterday, when Cuomo put out a press release announcing that none other than Joe Hynes would be leading a review of his Medicaid unit. (Unclear who's doing whom a favor there -- some of both, it seems, giivng Hynes some publicity and getting the Post off Cuomo's back.)
The Democrat running for that open State Senate seat on Nassau County will be Craig Johnson, the very friendly county legislator. (Very friendly to reporters, at least, in my limited experience.) Notably, the press release announcing this party choice quotes Eliot Spitzer and then, immediately, Tom Suozzi, who has a shot at getting back in his party's good graces with this one.
MyDD's Chris Bowers reads my farewell column in the News, takes Chuck at his word, and sees both some more news and an opportunity to demand that various other Democrats cough up their warchests for the common good.
When Chuck says that 11 of the 12 Democrats up in 2008 have told him they're running again, Bowers says, that means that Biden and Kerry have told him they're running again for Senate, and not for President. (Or, just perhaps -- shock! -- Chuck's assuming they won't win the primary.)
There's a fair amount of concern in Democratic circles that Eliot Spitzer has simply set expectations too high.
He'll be vulnerable, in four years, to critics who point to the things that haven't changed, and note that "everything" was supposed to change. And on Day One! (Dan Janison was first out of the gate on this one.) He'll compromise with the legislature on this or that, and be hit for compromising. In GOP attack-ad fantasy land, the economy will turn down and he'll have to break his No New Taxes pledge (which really didn't make much sense, unless he knows more about the future of the stock market than anyone else).
He's advising officials in Trinidad and Tobago on crime policy, and inevitably taking awkward questions, according to the local press.
Any thoughts, Rock?
I want to say a quick hello to the readers and writers of Room Eight, and test these blogospheric waters before I jump in. I'm hoping my blog here will be a slightly more personal, certainly less regular, version of the kind of New York-centric political blogging I've been doing for the last two years at the Observer and then the Daily News.
As I started to write this, I realized that here, and to a degree at my new day job at Politico, I'll be blogging for the first time without the support and authority, but also without the psychic limitations, that come with working for an established newspaper.