You can take it to the bank that Presidential candidates will not be gassing up at Citgo stations this election cycle.
Using campaign money to line Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez's pocket with petrol-dollars does not make a good earned media strategy.
But what if the flow of money was reversed? What if Chavez was using his petrol-dollars to line a Presidential candidate's pocket?
And what if that candidate's campaign operation - Rudy Giuliani's for example - explained Rudy taking the dictator's money by stating:
"Mayor Giuliani believes Hugo Chavez is not a friend of the United States and his influence continues to grow because of our increasing reliance on foreign sources of oil."Hmm, we might start to get the feeling that Rudy's communications operation is being run by a couple of chimps with a banana phone.
"(Chavez's) influence continues to grow because of our increasing reliance on foreign oil"?
We have to ween ourselves off of fossil fuels. No question about that.
But isn't Chavez's influence ALSO growing because the dictator hired Bracewell & Giuliani to look out for his interests in America?
Don't you hire lobbying firms to lobby your interests and "grow" your influence?
Why else would Bracewell & Giuliani pocket $170,000 in fees if it wasn't to "grow" Chavez's influence?
Ms. Levinson has left us feeling confused. Again.
No matter, all Rudy has to do to make things right is give the money back. Heck, he can even donate the money to pro-democracy groups in Latin America.
We can see the bumper stickers now: Grow Democracy - Not Hugo's Influence!
But, if Giuliani stubbornly (and stupidly) refuses to return the money, it will fall to his field organization to stem the bleeding among Republican Primary voters.
Field Organization? Uh-oh.
Better not be stupid Rudy.