Sunday, January 28, 2007

RUDEy In New Hampshire - Why Doesn't Giuliani's Team Like Bloggers?

GreenMountainPolitics1 is a humble operation.

Our mission is simply to cover (cover simply) the New Hampshire Presidential Primary while making smart people laugh along the way.

We were on the ground in Manchester 1 month before the '06 election and we will stay here, reporting everyday on whatever we damn well please, until the night of the '08 Primary.

It's going to make one kick ass book when we're done. Think Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail without the drugs and a dash more sobriety.

But back to being humble. And we are.

Because we're not even a dot com for goodness sakes. We're on Blogspot.

New Media might be upending everything it touches in the '08 election, but our simple Blog is happy just to let out a mighty "eep!" every once in a long while.

So, we try to tread lightly in the Granite State. We are only guests after all.

And, as I told Senator Sununu at the New Hampshire Republican State Committee Annual Meeting yesterday, "GreenMountainPolitics1 doesn't do character assassination. It's just not that funny."


Sure, we have opinions, play favorites (McCain, Edwards, Huckabee, Dodd) and belittle villains (Governor Big Love).

We're satirists not reporters. While we're independent minded, we do have opinions. We've always been up front about that.

And, as a independent minded satirist who doesn't do character assassination (usually), I was looking forward to covering Rudy Giuliani's speech at the GOP State Committee in Manchester yesterday.

The State Party was even nice enough to give me press credentials for the event.

I spent the 24 hours before the Giuliani speech doing what I what I always do before a big political event here in New Hampshire - studying up on the candidate by bringing together past news stories, blog posts, audio and video files that I might like to use in my own post.

Making smart people laugh is hard work.

And, when I walked out of the Palace Theatre yesterday afternoon, I had a great post on Hiz Honor. We're warming to Rudy (especially his wife, Judith, who looked beautiful and spoke articulately yesterday).

But we're not going to post it. Because Hiz Honor's campaign staff "sucks".

And having "sucky" campaign staff in a small state like New Hampshire is pure political poison.

And yes, one "bad" apple will spoil the whole barrel.

As I mentioned earlier, I was credentialed by the State Party to cover the event as a Blogger. I even got a nice, large cardboard card that I hung around my neck that said PRESS.

I was loaded to Blog.

Which is exactly what I was doing, quietly, out of the way, about 15 feet away from Hiz Honor in an area of the Palace Theatre reserved for, well, reserved for press.

When, all of a sudden, a blond blur of Blackberry, Gucci, Neiman Marcus and Prada bustled over to me and chirped, "What are YOU doing here?"

And then, without letting me even answer the question, Gucci continued, "YOU can't be down here!"

The pure "power" I heard behind the chirp forced me to turn from the conversation I was having with the USA Today and AP photographers about the joys of my CyberShot camera and address Gucci's "a-little-too-overweight-tummy-for-that-shirt" heaving mass of responsibility.

"I'm press," I responded. Nicely. Holding up my press pass.

Gucci's jeweled snout snorted, "Oh? With who?"

"I have a Blog. I'm covering the New Hampshire Primary.."

Gucci didn't let me finish, "Bloggers aren't allowed down here. This area is for press."

I held up my press pass again. Nicely.

Gucci actually started to check her Blackberry as she continued the conversation, "You can't be up here," she repeated herself.

It was then that I knew Hiz Honor was going to be the first candidate whose campaign staff, and not the candidate himself, was going to be the subject of my post.

I smiled in spite of myself. Arrogance is bad enough. Arrogance without cause sends me around the bend.

And, when forced to get down in the muck, I will dance.

"Is this a Giuliani campaign event?" I asked.

Gucci looked up from her Blackberry, confused. "No," she said.

I let her think about it for a second. "Well, the State Party gave me a press pass and this is the press area isn't it?"

Gucci's lips pouted, "I guess."

"Right. So, I'm staying." I went back to my conversation with the greatly amused photographers.

Gucci slunk off. Most likely bemoaning New Hampshire "hicks".

Fair warning to the Giuliani campaign - New Hampshire is a small state where everyone knows everyone else. This is not New York City and we don't expect to be treated like we are in New York City.

A humble Blogger with a simple Blog might not mean much to your earned media strategy.

But when that humble Blogger, slighted by an obnoxious broad on a power trip, tells the story over and over to high applause from his new friends in The Gang of 500 (limited watering holes in Manchester you may suppose) and all the NH Hampshire activists who read his blog every day, the storyline starts to stick.

When smart people laugh, they remember.

And the rumor around the Granite State campfire is that lots of smart people are laughing about the unfounded arrogance of the Giuliani campaign staff.

Mr. Mayor, if your campaign staff is treating credentialed (and polite) members of the BlogSphere like this, how do you think they're treating Mom and Pop main-street?

You might want to sort that out.

And, if Katie Levinson wants to apologize for the way she behaved yesterday, it would be appropriate. Even if all I've got is a simple Blog and have never worked for The Terminator.