Huck's Campaign Dogs Take a Lickin'
It was a scary story out of Iowa when the wires reported that Mike Huckabee's son and some friends were in a car wreck while returning home to Arkansas after the caucus the Republican presidential hopeful won. But what went unreported was what happened to Huck's three dogs, who had traveled on his campaign bus in Iowa. Well, we've got word that they are OK, too. The littlest, Toby, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, was thrown from his kennel and wandered off after the wreck, but somebody picked him up. Two others, Huck's hunting Lab, Jet, and his wife's Shih Tzu, Sonic, were tossed around but not hurt badly. Yes, Sonic is named for the hamburger joint. Says Huckabee of his dogs, now heading to South Carolina to campaign: "They really keep Janet and me mellowed out. It was killing us not to have them with us" in New Hampshire.
Is Hope Now a Dirty Word?
Stalled GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is chasing rising foe Mike Huckabee in an unusual way: He's calling the most recent Arkansas governor a Bill Clinton copy. And it's not just that he's labeling Huckabee a liberal. Romney also has printed up some fliers that suggest Huckabee and Clinton are clones, both being born in Hope, Ark. "Two Governors from Hope: One Was President, One Wants to Be," says the flier. Well, it's not just the flier. Our Suzi Parker reports that a freelance film crew was recently in Hope making videos to tie Clinton to Huckabee, as well as other footage.
Gary Johnson, museum director at the Hope Visitor Center & Museum, Hope says that when he got to work last Saturday morning, a 10-person crew was shooting outside the facility. A handwritten sign that Johnson said the crew created was in front of the museum. It said "Birthplace of Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee" and in the corner in smaller type "And Hillary, too?" (She was born in Illinois.) The crew shot at the museum, the high school where Huckabee graduated, and the train station. According to Johnson, the group said it was doing freelance work for Romney, though the campaign hasn't confirmed that.
Not surprisingly, Huckabee isn't too keen on the effort to link him with Bubba, telling us: "Political dumpster diving isn't really new, but Romney is now giving a better understanding of how he's spending those millions of his — people in my hometown were laughing about a big film crew coming to Hope to try and find something negative about me. Maybe they will find that I broke lunch line in kindergarten or was forced to sit next to the teacher's desk for talking too much in fourth grade. If Romney had spent as much time telling people who he is today instead of telling them who he thinks I was when I was a child, he might not be watching his numbers plummet."
A Second Life for LBJ, Lady Bird
LBJ might be coming back the only way dead folks can: virtually—through a site like Second Life. We're told that the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum in Austin is examining virtual sites to hook today's techie generation on his days. Second Life allows users to build a virtual community, and the LBJ crew wants to create a world that touches on his major issues like civil rights and the Vietnam War. "Avatars" representing the president and others would be created. "Students," says library Director Betty Sue Flowers, "may be able to take the role of LBJ or a member of the cabinet or Congress, inhabiting realistic avatars as they grapple with presidential challenges."
Obama Goes Big in Minority Web World
Oprah Winfrey isn't Sen. Barack Obama's only secret to winning the Democratic presidential nomination. He has also jumped headfirst into the minority Internet networking world. It started when his team saw lots of traffic to the Obama site from Blackplanet.com, a social network of African-Americans with 16 million members. Kay Madati, the site's marketing boss, said Obama's folks reached out to him to create a profile page. It has worked big time, and Obama has since added profiles on sites targeting Hispanics, Christians, gays, and Asians. Obama's team says the social networking sites are a natural way to woo new voters. "Our approach to social networking outreach has also reflected our desire to make this campaign about not just one group of voters but millions who have not typically had a voice in the White House," says Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
Tony Orlando and John...as in McCain
He's been wanting to tie a yellow ribbon around Sen. John McCain ever since reading the GOP presidential candidate's moving autobiography two years ago. And now, aging pop star Tony Orlando has done it. Well, technically. Orlando, who's been working for veterans ever since his 1973 hit "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree," awarded the former Vietnam War POW his annual Yellow Ribbon Medal of Freedom over the Veterans Day holiday. "I didn't pick him because he was running for office," says Orlando. "I wanted to do it a couple of years ago when I read his book." McCain, who was campaigning at the time, sent a thank-you video to the annual concert in Branson, Mo., where Orlando performs. McCain isn't the only former prisoner of war to get the award. The first recipient, Stephen Long, shared a cell wall with McCain in the "Hanoi Hilton."
Old War Horses Team Up Again
The duo who orchestrated the first Gulf War, former President George H.W. Bush and his national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, is once again on the same page. We're told that the November reopening of major new exhibits at Bush's presidential library and museum, closed in April for the $8.3 million renovation, will coincide with the official dedication of the Brent Scowcroft Institute at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Surprisingly, Bush hasn't seen the new exhibits, some based on his family's 100-plus picture scrapbooks. But he's expected to sneak a peek next week when his granddaughter Jenna makes a stop there to promote her new book, Ana's Story.
Hillary, of Course, Says Wes Clark
So onetime presidential hopeful Wes Clark, the retired Army boss at NATO, has endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton for president. But his praise wasn't just a nod to her during a recent interview. He called her a battler extraordinaire: "Women can fight, and women can also lead. America is ready for the right leader." He gushes about her brains: "She does her homework and has a curiosity and pursues the evidence that leads to a logical decision." And "she is very experienced." There's more: "She is a very resolute person." So he's just buttering her up for a chance to be a possible Clinton veep nominee, right? Here he punts: "There's nothing you can say to a question like that."