One Giuliani Backer Is a Bust

John Edwards, speaking yesterday at the
John Edwards, speaking yesterday at the "Take Back America" conference sponsored by the Campaign for America's Future, contrasted his policies with those of rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. (By Linda Davidson -- The Washington Post)
By Politics
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

When South Carolina's treasurer, Thomas Ravenel, endorsed former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani for president in April, he heaped praise on Giuliani for reducing crime, saying that "the mayor rescued New York City from the cesspool that it was."

So Giuliani must have grimaced yesterday when a grand jury in South Carolina indicted Ravenel on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

In a statement, a Giuliani aide said "our campaign has no information about the accusations pending against Mr. Ravenel. Mr. Ravenel has stepped down from his volunteer responsibilities with the campaign." Ravenel, 44, son of former congressman Arthur Ravenel Jr., is a millionaire real estate developer.

-- Michael D. Shear

Christmas With the Romneys

How do you convince people that a Mormon ex-financial whiz worth $350 million is just a regular guy? For Mitt Romney, the answer has been a deluge of television commercials and Web videos designed to introduce the Republican presidential candidate to Americans who have only a vague sense of who he is.

Now comes the ultimate: a 13-minute mini-documentary chronicling the Romney Christmas of 2006 that the ex-Massachusetts governor's aides circulated widely yesterday and is on the campaign's home page. Narrated by his wife, Ann, the video offers a saccharine-sweet image of Romney, his five grown boys and their 10 grandchildren at their vacation home. There's grandchildren sliding down the stairs on a mattress, Ann talking about her famous sweet potatoes and Mitt shoveling snow. And, of course, the prayer before the big family dinner.

-- Michael D. Shear

Richardson, Edwards Jab Foes

As the 2008 Democratic presidential candidates sought to woo liberal activists at two different conferences yesterday, former senator John Edwards (N.C.) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson both questioned the boldness of the other candidates in the race. At the conference for the liberal group the Campaign for America's Future, Richardson said "there is a fundamental difference in this campaign -- and that's how many troops each of us would leave behind. Other than the customary Marine contingent at the embassy, I would leave zero troops. Not a single one." Most of the other candidates have suggested that at least a small force must remain in Iraq.

Edwards continued a pattern of taking on Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.). At that same conference, he said it is important for candidates to have a "truly" universal health-care plan, contrasting his plan with that of Obama, who, unlike Edwards, would not require all individuals to carry health insurance. Edwards called for Democrats to be aggressive in forcing President Bush to end the war and said "no more pontificating, no more vacillating, no more triangulating." The term "triangulating" became famous in the 1990s to describe President Bill Clinton's positioning in the middle on issues, between the Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill.

At a forum put on by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, an influential labor union, Edwards emphasized the importance of a candidate who can campaign all over the country for Democrats. "We need a president. . . . who can go anywhere in America," he said. Some in the party have suggested Clinton would have difficulty winning or even campaigning for candidates in the South.

-- Perry Bacon Jr.

'Sopranos' Star a Bit Player for Clinton

Actor Vince Curatola, who made a cameo appearance in the video that Hillary Clinton released yesterday spoofing the series finale of "The Sopranos," said his appearance was not a formal endorsement. "If I see her platform leaning more and more toward a national health-care plan, I would be very interested in her for president," said Curatola, the actor who played John "Johnny Sack" Sacrimoni on the hit show.

In the Clinton version -- with Hillary and husband Bill sitting across from each other in the booth -- Curatola plays the menacing figure at the diner, widely speculated in the television version to be a would-be assassin.

Asked whether Hillary Clinton was as good an actor as Edie Falco, who played Carmela in the show, Curatola laughed. "We did multiple takes. She got warmer and better," he told The Post's Mary Ann Akers, a.k.a. "The Sleuth," in an interview.

The former president, he said, wasn't a natural either.

"They weren't too good at hitting their marks, " Curatola said. "They kept saying 'I'm sorry.' Both of them apologized to the crew every time they made a mistake. Reminded me of a day player. They so much want to please."

-- Anne E. Kornblut


© 2007 The Washington Post Company