Sunday, June 13, 2004

I think this is supposed to a puff piece, but it sounds more like Lurch needs Ritalin

Behind the Scenes, a Restless and Relentless Kerry:
Like a caged hamster, Senator John Kerry is restless on the road. He pokes at the perimeter of the campaign bubble that envelops him, constantly trying to break out for a walk around the block, a restaurant dinner, the latest movie.
Poor baby! Although the hamster analogy is engaging.
Landing one sunny day in St. Louis, Mr. Kerry wandered off the airstrip to stroll through a grass patch, leaving his security detail trying to keep him in sight while scores of staff members, supporters, police officers and journalists waited without explanation for an hour. Another afternoon on another tarmac, he tossed a baseball, then a football, then hopped on a policeman's motorcycle for a spin, all in the space of 30 minutes.
He is a relentless polisher, going over and over even well-worn sections of his stump speech until moments before delivery.

He is a diligent greeter, never speeding through a hotel kitchen without handshakes. He is chronically and unapologetically late — for campaign events, for meetings, even for church. And on Memorial Day, he showed up a half-hour into an hourlong parade in Portsmouth, Va., his only scheduled stop for the day.
There is also the John Kerry who is constantly on a cellphone, seeking counsel from a wide circle or conveying concerns to staff members.
"I've been on planes with four presidential candidates," Mr. Farmer said. Michael S. Dukakis "would always be reading a policy paper," he said, while "Clinton would always be telling stories."

"John Kerry is always on the phone," he said. (The fourth, the former astronaut John Glenn, he added, "was flying the plane.")
But he is deeply involved in tiny details on policy, and spends hours fiddling with speech drafts. (This is an improvement; before a speech at Georgetown University that helped open his campaign in January 2003, Mr. Kerry was so preoccupied with the speech that he had to trim his fund-raising activities for three days.)

"Polishing and polishing and polishing until he's satisfied," is how one senior campaign official described the process.
"He's a weird mix of both the very refined taste of elite schools and all that but also eating Hostess cupcakes and watching dumb comedies on TV," observed Andrei Cherny, who spent more than a year as Mr. Kerry's chief speechwriter and now works for the Democratic National Committee.
It's the twinkie defense! There's more, but I'm afraid of a sugar overdose.