February 12, 2004

The Masters' Last Disaster

The Drudge story (you know the one) has Chris Lehane's fingerprints all over it.

I told you that Kerry faced the danger of attacks by "Masters of Disaster" Lehane and Mark Fabiani. You may have thought that the Clark campaign running out of money and folding meant that the danger had passed. Not quite.

So why did Clark-- who, according to Drudge, predicted recently on background that "Kerry will implode over an intern issue"-- endorse Kerry today? Blogger Captain Ed has a theory:

If it seems a little early for Clark to give an endorsement -- after all, he just withdrew from the race yesterday morning -- it makes sense if he's looking for consideration as Kerry's running mate. Given that the bimbo eruption just occurred, if Clark stands by Kerry and winds up being the bridge Kerry needs to get past whatever scandal results from the Drudge story, he'll have earned Kerry's gratitude. Oddly enough, Clark himself figured into Drudge's story as having made an off-the-record comment to reporters predicting an infidelity scandal. If Clark withdrew with the knowledge of this story's imminence, it can only mean that he wanted to be in the best position to gather IOUs from Kerry and the Democratic Party.

UPDATE (12:05 2/13): The AmSpec's Washington Prowler reports that Clark's campaign staffers, Lehane most of all, objected to his intentions to endorse Kerry. Who knows what the Kerry campaign did to win Clark over; Captain Ed's theory, quoted above, is one possibility, but I'm not sure the politically neophyte Clark is that shrewd; he strikes me as someone who'd fall for anything.

The Prowler also suggests that the Drudge rumors "appear to be coming off Capitol Hill," rather than from the Clark campaign. A "staffer for a Democratic Senator from a mid-Atlantic state" says "Reporters have been feeding off this stuff for months up here." My impression is that Drudge got it from his media sources, who've been looking into the story; if reporters have been asking around the Hill, that doesn't necessarily mean they weren't spurred on by Lehane's shopping the story around.

Posted by John Tabin at February 12, 2004 11:46 PM