Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mark Towner's Political Spyglass: Where's the Real McCain?

Where's the Real McCain?
By Gloria Borger
Posted 7/15/07

Presidential campaign staff shake-ups are as predictable as sunrise, but leave it to Sen. John McCain to provide one with a flourish. Picture this: The senator, just back from a trip to Iraq, has the political world on edge as he takes to the Senate floor to announce whether he still supports the president. (He does.) Yet just as McCain asks the country to have more patience on the war, his campaign announces that the candidate's own patience—with his stalled presidential bid-has run out. (He's mad.) Two top aides are gone, with more changes to come.

The candidate, says one close aide, "hit the roof" before his trip abroad when he learned the details of an undeniable disaster: He's broke, with less money than GOP presidential contender Ron Paul. Ridiculous.

I knew this was comming: Lusty online ode to Hillary Clinton amuses, enrages viewers

Lusty online ode to Hillary Clinton amuses, enrages viewers

Sheldon Alberts, CanWest News ServicePublished: Saturday, July 14, 2007
Article tools

WASHINGTON -- Singer Taryn Southern has flirted with fame and fortune for years - first on American Idol, then as co-star of a little-known travel series on a U.S. satellite TV network.
But never did the 21-year-old brunette imagine she'd get her big break performing a song in lusty praise of Hillary Clinton.

Just weeks after Barack Obama's presidential aspirations were boosted by a viral video featuring a busty brunette with a crush on the Democratic senator from Illinois, Southern's online ode to Clinton's sexual charms has made her the new pin-up girl of the 2008 presidential campaign.

The racy Hott4Hill video, which mixes corny political humour with lesbian innuendo and patriotic imagery, garnered 350,000 YouTube hits in just 10 days and led to an appearance by Southern on CNN's top political program, The Situation Room.

"I just shot this video last week and now things have gone crazy. I'm shocked it went this far," Southern said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles, where she is filming an independent movie. "I hope Hillary has a good sense of humour."

It's not entirely clear, however, that this presidential contender is laughing.
The former first lady, long the target of rumours about her sexuality, has pointedly refused to comment on the enormous popularity of the "Hillary chick" video, despite recently inviting supporters to upload "creative" online clips explaining why they want her to be president.
Southern, a contestant on American Idol in 2004, wrote and produced Hott4Hill to spoof an online video known simply as "Obama Girl." The Obama video features model/actress Amber Lee Ettinger, in various states of undress, lip syncing a song that expresses love for Obama. It has generated more than two million YouTube hits since its debut in June.
Since the Hott4Hill video debuted earlier this month, it has been praised as cute political parody and denounced as immoral garbage.

It opens with Southern, dressed as a cleavage-revealing school teacher, whispering to Clinton on a cellphone while her grade-school students watch.

The video quickly shifts to scenes of Southern in a French maid outfit, a tank top and short shorts, and a stars-and-stripes bikini.

"I have a crush on a girl named Hill / but she's not with me; she's with a guy named Bill / Hillary, I like your hair / the pantsuits you wear / and the shape of your derriere," Southern sings.

"H-I-L-L-A-R-Y / I know you're not gay, but I'm hoping for bi ... lingual."
Southern insists she had no idea Clinton's sexuality has been questioned, primarily by political opponents and unfriendly biographers.

"You have to keep in mind that when Hillary was first lady, gosh, I was in middle school," the singer said.

Still, Southern was worried about how the homosexual references might be received in her native Kansas and sought approval from her parents in Wichita before posting it online.
"I was a little concerned about what they might say, because here was their little daughter dancing around in a bikini for a lesbian video for Hillary Clinton," she says. "But they got that it was a parody."

Giuliani Has More to Spend Than Romney, Filings Show (Update4)

Giuliani Has More to Spend Than Romney, Filings Show (Update4)
By Jonathan D. Salant and Kristin Jensen
July 13 (Bloomberg) -- Rudy Giuliani entered the second half of 2007 with $3 million more in the bank to spend on getting the Republican presidential nomination than former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, according to reports filed today with the U.S. Federal Election Commission.
Giuliani reported a bank balance of $18.3 million as of June 30, $15 million of it for the primary elections. Romney reported having $12.1 million in the bank, all for the primaries.
A former New York City mayor, Giuliani, 63, raised $17.6 million and spent $11.2 million during the three months ended June 30. He was the only one of the top three Republican presidential hopefuls to improve on his first-quarter fundraising.
He raised $15 million for the primaries and the rest for the general election campaign if he wins the nomination.
His biggest benefactors during the second quarter were the employees of New York-based Ernst & Young LLP, who gave him $148,750. Employees of Dallas-based Highland Capital Management LP, an investment firm, gave $73,500. Members of his law firm, Houston-based Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, and his consulting firm, New York-based Giuliani Partners LLC, gave him $33,705.

Politico: Fred Thompson Going after NYC Firefighters

By: Mark Memmott and Jill Lawrence

Politico: Fred Thompson Going after NYC Firefighters
Jonathan Martin over at Politico writes about Republican Fred Thompson courting New York City firefighters who may have problems with their former mayor, Rudy Giuliani.
Martin notes that Thompson had breakfast in New York this week with former senator Al D'Amato, who has endorsed him, and Steve Cassidy, head of New York City's Uniformed Firefighters Association. The meal was Thursday, the day after the International Association of Fire Fighters released a video highly critical of Giuliani, and was documented by a crew from WCBS-TV. (The UAF and IAFF are affiliated.)
We reported earlier on the IAFF accusations against Giuliani, which stem from equipment failures on 9/11 and a Giuliani decision to speed up the Ground Zero site cleanup before remains of many firefighters were found. Giuliani says he has a long record of support for "New York's bravest."
Posted by Jill Lawrence at 11:56 AM/ET, July 13, 2007 in Presidential race, 2008, Republicans