NARAL Communications Director Resigns

By Mike Allen and Evelyn Nieves
Sunday, August 14, 2005

A central player has voted with his feet in the drama over NARAL Pro-Choice America's decision to withdraw a television ad about Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. that outraged conservatives had branded as false. Some Democrats said their side should be tougher, and one of them is David E. Seldin, who as NARAL's communications director had defended the ad's linking of Roberts to violent abortion opponents as "100 percent accurate." A day after Thursday night's announcement that the ad was being yanked, Seldin sent an e-mail to friends saying that he was leaving his job immediately.

Seldin, who had held the job for just over two years, wrote in the Friday afternoon e-mail: "I've been thinking for a while that I would most likely leave after the Supreme Court nomination fight was over, and by leaving now I can spend the next two weeks in Cape Cod with my family relaxing, instead of trying to find a place with good cell phone reception."

Seldin, who had pushed internally for a more aggressive approach to shaking up the Roberts debate than was favored by others at NARAL, notified the group Friday afternoon of his plans to leave. The 37-year-old worked in the White House press office under President Bill Clinton and was communications director for Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). Seldin's e-mail included ways to contact him and concluded: "You'll no doubt be hearing from me when I get back to town at the end of the month and start thinking about what I do next."

Schwarzenegger Falls in Polls

In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's poll numbers are tanking. Protests and boos greet his high-profile appearances, and newspapers carry accounts of a tabloid publisher's $20,000 payment to an alleged paramour. Even his vanquished opponent, the recalled Gray Davis, is looking better these days: Sixty-seven percent of voters in a recent online poll said that if they could vote again, Davis would still be governor.

But the beleaguered Republican still retains fans from the days when he was merely a movie star. So it is probably not so far-fetched that the Governator is daring to ask donors to pay $100,000 for the privilege of sitting with him at an Aug. 21 Rolling Stones concert in Boston.

The price may be steep, befitting one of Hollywood's biggest box office draws before he fell to earth, but the stakes are high for the governor as well. He is on a blitz to raise $50 million to promote three initiatives he is counting on in a Nov. 8 special election. The initiatives include a state spending cap and a proposal to change how legislative districts are drawn.

The governor is staking his remaining political capital on the special election and is counting on a blitz of publicity to sway the electorate his way. The Stones concert at Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox, caps a series of fundraising events to help make that happen. Ameriquest, the mortgage lender that is lead sponsor of the Stones' 2005 tour, is also lead sponsor of the Schwarzenegger fundraising tour, having donated more than three dozen center stage and luxury box seats to the governor for the Boston show.

Before the Stones spectacle, Schwarzenegger will host a private reception for 40 guests who donate $10,000 each to his campaign account; the $100,000 guests get to watch the concert in a luxury box with the governor.

Politics Guides Released

The inside-the-Beltway answer to fantasy-football guides has begun arriving in mailboxes and wonk-friendly bookstores. The 2006 editions of those biennial behemoths of electoral data and trivia -- the Almanac of American Politics, from National Journal Group, and Politics in America, from Congressional Quarterly Inc. -- are out just in time for a final trip to the beach.

The Almanac, at 1,907 pages, is $69.95 in softcover, $89.95 in hardcover. CQ's entry -- at a comparatively svelte 1,240 pages -- is $75 in paperback and $115 in hardback.

According to the Almanac, by Michael Barone with Richard E. Cohen, President Bush's best 2004 election performance in a congressional district was in the Texas 11th, where he won 78.3 percent of the vote. The district includes the oil fields of Midland and Odessa and is held by freshman Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R). Bush's worst performance, according to the tome, was 9.2 percent in New York's 15th (Harlem), which is 16 square miles and is held by veteran Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D).

The 13th edition of Politics in America, edited by Jackie Koszczuk and H. Amy Stern, includes handy charts of the narrowest wins by Republicans in districts won by Bush and in districts won by Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), and equivalent lists for Democrats.

Texas-OSU Game Bash

Curtis Jablonka, a former White House and Bush-Cheney '04 official, has lined up a who's who of young Bushies to serve as the host committee for a fundraising concert and drinkfest the night before the Texas and Ohio State football teams meet in Columbus on Sept. 10. "The Buckeye-Longhorn Bash Before the Clash" -- produced by Jablonka's Maverick Events, which has the slogan, "Changing the world one event at a time" -- will feature country singer Pat Green, as well as an '80s band called the Reaganomics and $1 mixed drinks all night. Regular tickets are $60 each, and VIP passes run $100.

Jablonka, 28, an Ohio native, said he expects a sellout crowd of 2,000. Organizers said their goal is to attract a bipartisan crowd and raise $20,000 for breast cancer research at Ohio State. The event has its own Web site, www.BuckeyeLonghorn.com.

Quotable

"Here in Illinois, as the speaker mentioned, one of the key projects that he's been talking to me about for quite a while is what they call the 'Prairie Parkway.' I thought that might be in Texas. But, no, it's right here in Illinois."

-- President Bush, appearing last week with House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) at the signing of a highway bill laden with projects for the districts of key lawmakers.


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