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Super Mike, Politico's star

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By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 27, 2010; 9:38 AM

If the cover of the New York Times Magazine is any indication, Mike Allen must be the most important journalist in Washington.

I'm afraid I don't get it.

This is not a knock at the Politico reporter, who has also toiled for my paper, Time and the New York Times. He works round the clock and has a great nose for news. If he doesn't want anyone to know where he lives, that's none of my business.

But his claim to fame, the justification for that lengthy Mark Leibovich profile, is his daily digest called the Playbook. The theory is simple: If anyone who's anyone is reading it, the person who writes it must be what Joe Biden would call a BFD. It provides a bit of connective tissue in a sometimes cold and overworked town.

But if the thing is merely a digest of items from elsewhere, with a few scooplets, birthdays and insider gossip thrown in, is the column really . . . influential?

Here are some excerpts from Monday's Playbook:

"DEM CANDIDATES WILL BE BILLED AS OBAMA 'ALLIES' -- The President, DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, and the DNC grassroots project Organizing for America this week lay out 2010 election plans in detail for the first time. POTUS' remarks go out in a 13-million e-mail blast today. . . .

"GWB MEMOIR DETAILS OUT TODAY: "Decision Points, by George W. Bush, will be published on November 9, 2010, by Crown Publishers. . . . centered on the fourteen most critical and historic decisions in the life and public service of the 43rd President of the United States. . . .

"TV NEWSER, 'CNN's Kyra Phillips and John Roberts Engaged': 'The dating anchors are now engaged to be married and it happened in one of Phillips' favorite spots -- the golf course.' . . .

"Good Monday morning. DRIVING THE DAY -- 'Democrats willing to test GOP in Wall St. showdown,' by AP's Jim Kuhnhen."

And, um, three items summarizing pieces by me.

Now I'm all for aggregation; I do some of that here. Everyone's busy. No one has time to watch and read everything. Boiling things down is a public service (and a way of attracting clicks, sometimes at the expense of those you're condensing, but that's another debate).


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