Jack W. Germond, 76, has covered politics for half a century for The Baltimore Sun and other publications and is, arguably, the country's most astute political reporter. These days he works in a Charles Town, West Virginia, home office with, as he says, "a huge triple window facing the Shenandoah River." In other ways, too, life seems good. He's lost weight (down to 220 pounds -- luckily, still enough to live up to his billing); lives only 10 minutes from a racetrack; and has a new book, Fat Man Fed Up: How American Politics Went Bad. Here, he talks about liberal journalists, October surprises, and why telling Bob Shrum to push off is one of John Kerry's greatest accomplishments.
CORNING, N.Y. -- Samara Barend, a 26-year-old congressional candidate in New York state, is barreling along in a Buick Rendezvous on a recent Friday when “an even bigger SUV,” as her campaign spokesman-cum-driver, Don Weigel, put it, nearly sideswipes her car.
Barend looks shaken, but it's not the first time she's had a mishap on the campaign trail. On the morning of January 22, 2004, Barend was on the same highway -- a four-lane expressway, Route 17, designated the “Future I-86” -- on her way to New York City to meet with Abigail Disney, past president of New York Women's Foundation, when she got into a “horrible accident.”
“I hit a pothole, and my car was completely totaled,” Barend says.
On a blustery march day, Peter Schurman, the executive director of MoveOn.org, stands next to a Win Without War poster at a press conference on Capitol Hill. Schurman is a 34-year-old Yale School of Management graduate with a high forehead, blue eyes, and razor-sharp features who doesn't like to talk about himself. He's not a touchy-feely kind of guy. Yet a middle-aged woman in a gray sweater, Sue Niederer, is hugging him in front of a group of reporters. She has lost her son, Lieutenant Seth Dvorin, in the Iraq War, and she clutches Schurman's coat, twisting the fabric with her fingers. He stands next to her, stiffly, as tears run down her face. Finally, she untangles herself.
“Get them home, and not in a box,” she says. “That's all I care about.”
Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national-security adviser and author of eight books, including The Grand Chessboard, has a hawk-like nose and blue eyes. These days, he works out of a K Street office decorated with a chess board, an Oriental rug, and a spiked club traditionally used by Ukrainian war commanders. He spoke recently with a visitor about his latest book, The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership, and other topics.
John Kerry is elected president and says, "I want a foreign policy that fights terrorism effectively but also preserves our moral authority in the world." What do you say?
Harry Thomason, an Emmy-nominated producer and director, spoke recently about his new movie, The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill Clinton, on a mobile phone while driving along California Highway 1. The film opens in Washington, D.C., on Friday, June 25.
What is the main message of your movie?
The media does not do their job as thoroughly as they did in the past. The lesson for both sides -- not just the liberal one -- is you cannot take things at face value. You need to read a lot of newspapers and watch a lot of news channels and then form your own opinion.
You say the media doesn't do their job. But maybe they were trying too hard when they wrote about Clinton.