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The John Kerry campaign announced another addition to its advisory staff -- Mike McCurry, the former Clinton press secretary whose tenure preceded Joe Lockhart's, another recent addition. In a petty cruelty, Kerry's increasingly overshadowed and overmatched communications director Stephanie Cutter made the announcement:
Sen. John Kerry on Tuesday added Bill Clinton's former press secretary, Mike McCurry, to his campaign, picking up yet another adviser who worked for the two-time Democratic presidential winner. McCurry will travel with Kerry as a non-paid senior adviser for the final weeks of the campaign.
One senior Kerry aide said McCurry will help keep the candidate's comments focused on his daily message. Another said his role will be to make sure the traveling press corps knows what Kerry is doing and why. Either way, the hiring is an acknowledgment that Kerry and his team have failed to communicate a concise, persuasive argument. McCurry starts Wednesday.
It would appear to me that these were the same tasks for which they selected Joe Lockhart, and the same duties that Cutter should have had as communication director. Does Kerry really need that many minders in order to stay on message? Do they plan on tackling him at the knees if he starts to mention Iraq or Viet Nam again? During the Reagan administration, Democrats sneered at Reagan and his "handlers", but they're hiring them by the score in Boston these days.
Of course, when your favorable ratings plummet 18 points in five weeks and land you somewhere below Martha Stewart and Vladimir Putin, you have serious problems. However, communications is hardly the issue, as Kerry himself has demonstrated by holing himself up since the convention and refusing to be interviewed until this week. After chiding George Bush for not holding enough press conferences as President (which must be anathema to the vain Bostonian), Kerry has refused to take a live question from any mainstream reporter, preferring to take questions only from Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and MTV. For someone this reticent, one press secretary really ought to be enough, and even at that it would only have to be a part-time job.
But congratulations to Mr. McCurry anyway on his new position. Let us know when you can induce your new client to come out from behind the sofa.
Addendum: In all fairness, Drudge cut off the list from the Washington Post's Dana Milbank before the end. Kerry did outpoll such luminaries as Pete Rose, Rush Limbaugh, Joseph McCarthy (barely), and O. J. Simpson.Sphere It View blog reactions
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