For Conant, the Spinning Starts Early
By Michael D. Shear
The pre-speech spinning began well before the sun came up, helped along by Republican National Committee press secretary Alex Conant.
From his home in the District's Adams Morgan neighborhood, Conant starting hitting "SEND" at 7:12 a.m., pushing out his daily dose of partisan spin to hundreds of political and media subscribers in a daily ritual that helps fill inboxes around town and provides subscribers with BlackBerry reading over coffee.
"Will it be different this year?" his first e-mail asked, noting that after last year's speech by President Bush, Obama said: "Each year, as we watch the State of the Union, we see half the chamber rise to applaud the President and half the chamber stay in their seats.... Imagine if next year was different."
The e-mail went on to document what Conant says are promises that Obama has broken about Iraq, lobbyists, earmarks and bipartisanship.
His next e-mail, at 8:08:07 a.m., was quickly followed by four more in rapid succession, each highlighting articles about President Obama with a decidedly negative spin.
"CT - Questions raised about Rahm Emanuel's housing arrangement in D.C." Conant passed along from the Chicago Tribune at 8:08 and 17 seconds. "ABC - Staffing Headaches Hindering Treasury at Crucial Time," popped up at 8:08 and 17 seconds.
"Politico - A high expectation, one year later," came in seven seconds later, followed by "McCLATCHY - Big stimulus bill sparks long-term fiscal fears" at 8:08 and 31 seconds and "AP - Obama's deficit goals count on rosy assumptions" at 38 seconds after.
Posted at 11:12 AM ET on Feb 24, 2009
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