Posts Tagged ‘Wyclef Jean’

Friday Fishwrap: No Name Steve, Rose Garden Meg, Me Too Tom

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Desperados: At some point, almost every political campaign descends into a debate about debates: A trailing candidate publicly calls on her rival to agree to a series of, oh say, 13 or 14 debates over the weekend, because “the voters deserve to understand the important differences between us on key issues.” At which point the front-runner condescendingly demurs, saying what the voters really want is to “hear directly from both of us, without the 30-second sound bites of commercials.” It’s a traditional piece of political kabuki theatre that usually pops up in the final days or weeks of a race, when a contest is all but decided.

So it was a bit surprising Thursday to see the three Republican contenders for governor suddenly don [mixed metaphor alert: we’re very multicultural here at Calbuzz] kimonos and kumadori to begin enacting the debate over debates ritual, 404 freaking days before the primary election.

Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, performing Act I, released a letter brimming with civic sanctity that called on rivals Meg Whitman and Tom Campbell to join him in two debates about the May 19 ballot propositions: “Such debates represent the political process at its best.”

Former everything Campbell nearly broke a leg running onto the stage for Act II, in which he accepted the invitation: “California voters deserve to know where the candidates stand not just on these measures, but what they propose as a realistic solution to our budget crisis if they oppose them – especially Proposition 1A.”.

But former eBay CEO Whitman, bringing conflict and climax to Act III, dismissed Poizner’s invite with a sneer: “We smell desperation,” Whitman mouthpiece Rob Stutzman told Calbuzz. “The cheap and stupid stunts are suggesting that (Poizner) is taking his place in the polls seriously — as also-ran.”

At which point Poizner flack Kevin Spillane played for a curtain call: “So the Whitman campaign is now confirming they believe public debates on issues by gubernatorial candidates are cheap and stupid stunts,” he told us. “That also confirms their view of the California electorate. Apparently voters should just shut up and be grateful Meg Whitman is blessing us with her candidacy for Governor.”

[Can you tell Calbuzz just loves this stuff?]

As a practical matter, the Poizner-Whitman family feud is all about tactics, not substance, as the two of them agree on three of the five budget props; the big difference on the props lies between the two of them and Campbell.

The bottom line: All three of the Reps are desperate, at least mildly, in his or her own way: Poizner, to raise his public profile by aggressively setting the pace of the race, and Campbell, for any kind of attention to overcome his financial handicap against the two Richie Riches. As for Whitman, she’s starting to seem rather desperate to avoid uncontrolled public exposure entirely, not the kind of behavior you normally see in your candidates for governor.

[PS: Since posting we noticed that our colleague Jon Fleischman over at Flashreport has offered to moderate a debate on Prop 1A with Whitman and Poizner against Campbell and Schwarzenegger: nice promotional idea Jon!]

Gavin’s Potemkin Party: S.F. Mayor Gavin Newsom scored plentygavinwave of positive ink for last weekend’s big block party in Sacramento, ostensibly hosted by the California College Democrats, which featured Wyclef Jean and “honored” the Democrat wannabe governor.

But the high cost, high tech, high production value of the event seemed a tad, well, high end, for a bunch of college kids, no matter how entitled:

Scene: Interior cluttered college dorm room where an attractive couple are conversing while listening to their Ipods, texting and sipping vente non-fat caramel macchiatos:

Elliot (Shia La Beouf): Gee, Brianna, I really feel like honoring Gavin Newsom – but what the heck can we do?

Brianna (Mischa Barton): Oh…My…God! We could so put on a show!!

So Calbuzz padded off to learn who actually put the thing together. The press release trumpeting the event was unusual in that it had no contact phone numbers; when we checked the listed web site – www.blockpartyforcaliforniasfuture.com – it was a shell that was registered by TCR Studios of West Sacramento. That turned out to be one of the IT shops used by Jason Kinney of California Strategies, the premiere engulf and devour Capitol consulting firm.

Kinney, who coincidentally rounded up corporate contributions for the bash, and who happens to be a close ally of Gavin Newsom’s, directed our questions to Claremont McKenna College student Nick Warshaw, the president of CCD. Warshaw said he was in on all the decision-making, but acknowledged that Kinney or his people handled the permits, staging, sound, video, bands, security, you know, stuff like that.

Beyond the widespread media bounce, Newsom ended up with the name, address, phone number, email address, and Facebook and Twitter data from about 3,000 young Democrats and others who signed up for free tickets to the Wyclef concert.

So was it a Newsom event, with CCD as the beard, set up so everyone would think the “honored” Newsom is the darling of young people? Or was it a CCD event, organized with a big assist from Newsom allies? Or is that a distinction without a difference?

Boxer Prebellion: Calbuzz is impressed boxer1that Sen. Barbara Boxer, anticipating a challenge from former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, has nailed down three Silicon Valley mega-names as backers: Safra Catz, President and CFO of Oracle; John Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems; and John Doerr, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

The trio agreed to serve as co-chairs of the new Technology Leaders for Boxer committee. Lining up Chambers, especially, reminds us of Bill Clinton’s move in 1992, when he snared John Young — Fiorina’s predecessor at HP. When Republican business leaders like Chambers support the Republican candidate, it’s dog bites man; when they back a Democrat, that’s man bites dog.

Leon Air, Newest Carrier in the West: Catch the details of how CIA Chief Leon Panetta gets charter treatment commuting from Monterey to Langley here. (more…)

Friday Fishwrap: Road Trip!

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Not Exactly Huntley-Brinkley: We’ll be reporting live from the Calbuzz Convention Sky Box in Sacramento this weekend, bringing the vast resources of our far-flung crack political team to the task of bringing you the best and worst of the Democratic state confab and schmoozefest.

With Tony Villar taking a duck, just days after John Boy Garamendi quit the field, the first cattle call of the Democratic primary for governor will be the Jerry and Gavin Show. S.F. Mayor Newsom rolls into River City on the momentum of his statewide announcement Twitter, while Ageless Wonder Brown seeks to keep his crown as the champion of new ideas. Plus: Cameos by Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Howard Dean and a cast of thousands.

Will General Jerry and Prince Gavin come to blows over hair products? Who will win the party’s coveted seat as Male Undersecretary Assistant Treasurer? How’s the food at Lucca? Can John Burton get through an entire sentence without an F-bomb? All this and more, in Calbuzz’s special weekend coverage. . .

Utz vs. Early Bird Special: How do you entertain delegates when the guy trying to paint you as a drooling geezer is being honored by California College Democrats at a hot-ticket block party featuring Wyclef Jean – a Grammy-winning rapper that a lot of vintage members of the California Democratic Council never heard of: Wuddee say? There’s a cleft in his jeans? Whaa? Huh?

If you’re Jerry Brown, you throw a “Recession Reception” kegger with chips and salsa at your Dad’s old home – which just happens to be the historic governor’s mansion, through which you’ll be happy to offer guided tours. That’s the General’s play, during Early Bird Special hours, 5:30-7:00 p.m. Saturday. Not sure what music will be playing, but don’t expect “Fast Car” or “Riot.”

For that, you’ll have to stroll over to the College Dem’s block party which doesn’t even get going until 8 p.m. and likely won’t pick up steam until after 10 when Jerry’s Kids will be back in their rooms with their Polident. Out in the hood, SF Mayor Gavin Newsom will be working the crowd and being honored. Beatbox artist Butterscotch from NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” Sacramento’s Utz! and the Shuttlecocks are also scheduled. Plus: Hip-hopper Biz Markie is on for a post-concert “After Party” for special invited guests at Lounge ON20.

Despite all the flash, why is Jerry not too worried about being outflanked by Gavin among young voters? Because, as Brown argued to Calbuzz, those younger voters Newsom is chasing account for no more than 12% of the Democratic primary vote. . .

eMeg leads money primary: Over on the Republican side, Steve Poizner has been winning the battle of earned media in recent weeks, but chief rival Meg Whitman made a little bottom line news of her own this week.

The Whitman camp announced that she’s kicked $4 million of her own dough into her race, and is “on track” to raise at least another $5 million by the June 30 reporting deadline. While her handlers were a little wiggly about exactly what that meant – spokesman Mitch Zak wouldn’t say whether or not she would have $9 million in the bank come July 1 – it’s still an impressive number (especially if they’re actually low-balling at this point to make their eventual fundraising number look bigger).

Zak said that still on the table is the notion of Whitman stepping up to put some bucks opposing Prop. 1A on the May 19 special election ballot, at a time when she and Poizner are competing to be the loudest voice against the measure’s $16 billion extension of tax increases.

The GOP primary has been framed as a battle of two personally wealthy business types squaring off, but so far it looks like there’s only one fighter in that ring.

PS: After we posted we came across this nice piece (here) by Michael Finnegan in the LATimes about troubles Poizner’s having getting his campaign organized. Also, a fairly critical look at Meg’s challenge from the National Review Online (here).

Dr. H’s Old Mailbag: Comes this convention weekend query for esteemed political psychiatrist Dr. P.J. Hackenflack:

Dear Doctor: My husband told me something troubling: that John Burton is in the Guinness Book of Records for using the f-word as every possible part of speech in a single sentence. Is this true?
— Sarah Saddleback, Orange County

Dear Sarah: WTF?