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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tales from the Debate: After Clinton and Obama do battle, Frank Jackson skips the spin room

Posted By on Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 10:29 AM

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"The reporters want to do what? Talk? Oh, hell no!
10:30 P.M., THE SPIN ROOM: The “spin room,” set up in a basement of the Wolstein Center, is an aptly named place. It’s where TV reporters (known in the industry as The Sculpted Hair Army) interview politicians and “experts” on the debate they just viewed, and, depending on the agenda of the person being interviewed, so many different versions will be spun that it’s sometimes hard to remember if the debate actually happened at all. It’s the type of place that would be perfect for Frank Jackson. But, alas, last night, the Invisible Mayor once again disappeared. ... Jackson -- or as he’s known around these parts, Frank Johnson -- had primo seating for the debate. And he was expected to enter the spin-room fray shortly after. As the debate was wrapping up, volunteers lined up outside the room, each holding placards bearing the name and endorsement of a local politician, like limo drivers at an airport. The idea is that the volunteer will follow the politician around, and hold the sign above his or her head, so that reporters will know who the person is. The Frank Jackson sign-holder was noticeably pleased with her draw. Poor girl. Drawing our mayor is like feeling a giant tug at the end of your fishing rod, only to reel it in and discover an old leather boot. Jackson was the first politician to show up near the spin room. But he looked at the mob of desperate reporters and thought, I’m probably missing a Law & Order marathon on TNT right now. So after signing the t-shirt of a volunteer, Jackson jumped into the nearest elevator. The sign-holder realized what had happened and dejectedly tossed Jackson’s placard on a table and moped away, probably relegated to unclogging Tim Russert’s toilet. Yeah, that’s an unfair assumption, and a bit dramatic — but, hey, this is the spin room, baby. -- Gus Garcia-Roberts

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