Preparing for President

January 13, 2014 - 5:17 AM

The feeding frenzy over bridgegate continued more-or-less unabated, notwithstanding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's filibuster-length presser on Thursday. According to one transcript, the event went about two hours and 19,369 words including questions.

As usual, people saw in it what they wanted to see. Christie supporters -- or, in my case, agnostics -- thought he did a very good job. He convinced me he had no prior - or contemporaneous knowledge of the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.

Others, of course, thought Gov. Christie has been irrevocably damaged and his path to the Presidency is as blocked as the exit lanes to Ft. Lee.

I'm not at all sure that is correct but it is a good lesson -- again -- to men and women who want to run for the nomination for President of the different level of attention you are likely to attract.

Running for president his a become a balancing act.

On the one hand, you need to begin putting the pieces together. You need to attract, if not hire, an overall manager-type, communications people, fund raisers, lawyers, organizational and computer geniuses, plan for renting space, looking at filing deadlines and rules for each state in which you expect to compete, and so on.

The shorthand, as taught to me by long-time political guru Joe Gaylord many years ago is you don't want your candidate to find him- or herself in a position of deciding to pull the trigger on a candidacy only to find out that there are some significant pieces of the puzzle missing.

The other side of that is: As soon as the press decides you are running for the nomination, everything you say or do (or don't say or don't do) is seen through the lens of "What does this mean for his Presidential ambitions?"

Christie is just in the scrum of potential Republican candidates, he is, according to conventional wisdom, atop the stack. We'll see polling, probably as early as today, and that might change.

According to the Washington Post's Dan Balz the stack includes (Governors first then Capitol Hill types, but otherwise in no order):

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey
Gov. Rick Perry of Texas
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin
Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana
Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and
Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan
Fmr Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
Fmr Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)

Starting at about this point in every Presidential election cycle, every sitting or former U.S. Senator, Member of the U.S. House, and Governor, while they are brushing their teeth every morning, hums "Hail to the Chief" to see if they can make it fit.

So these 12 names are just the early entrants.

On C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" program yesterday morning, Democrat (and Mullfave) Maria Cardona and I were discussing the issue of Hillary Clinton's Presidential ambitions. I reminded her and host Steve Scully that in 2007 Sen. Clinton was also being declared the next President of the United States "but a funny thing happened on the way to the West Front of the Capitol."

She lost.

But, she is doing the right things this cycle. According to an article in Politico.com by Maggie Haberman:

Early last summer -- Hillary Clinton met with a handful of aides for a detailed presentation on preparing for a 2016 presidential campaign.

Sen. Clinton got a detailed briefing about how much money it would take to run, when it would be needed, and all the other details we discussed above. If she does decide to run, she will have a campaign ready to spring into action.
http://www.mullings.com/dr_01-13-14.htm
But, Haberman wrote: Clinton has as clear a path to the nomination as anyone could. But she also bears the scars from her 2008 battle, as do a number of her aides who remember vividly the toll the enterprise took on Clinton and everyone involved.

I added, after we got off the air, that Mrs. Clinton and I are the same age and the strains and struggles of a national campaign on a 69-year-old (two years hence) are not to be disregarded.

The odds of picking which one of 317 million people in the United States will take the oath of office on January 20, 2017 this far out are very long indeed.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Dan Balz and to the Maggie Haberman pieces and to the Wikipedia entry for Steve Scully. Also, a wonderful Mullfoto of the grand daughters.