Washington Prowler

Storm Center

CNN camera bias. Rough on Palin. Mitt's cadre.

By 9.2.08

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THE CNN ANGLE
CNN staffers on the floor of the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul were buoyant Sunday afternoon after the mid-afternoon announcement that the Republican convention was being revamped and adjusted in tone because of looming Hurricane Gustav.

One cameraman with the all news network moved his camera and positioned it behind the Louisiana delegation's signage, which from the angle included a shot of the RNC podium, when a colleague asked why he'd moved from his original spot, the CNNer said, "A press guy I know from Obama in Denver suggested it might be a good shot."

Within ten minutes three other remote cameras and seven still photographers were taking shots from the same location.

DIRTY TOOLS
As Obama operatives scour records in Alaska for dirt on Gov. Sarah Palin, they are also seeking embarrassing materials about her husband. And it isn't just the Obama campaign. Several left-wing groups with ties to MoveOn.org have used their network to offer as to $5,000 for damaging employment or personal information about him.

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign has asked the DNC to coordinate surrogates that appear on camera to attack Gov. Palin. "Last Friday, the Democrat women they put all looked old and tired, nothing like what folks were seeing from Palin," says an Obama media adviser. "It was like, 'we don't have any good-looking younger representatives to put up?'"

GLOVES OFF
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may be putting on a brave face for the cameras after losing out to Gov. Sarah Palin for the veepship, but his ever-loyal cadre of aides and consultants and conservative media types continue to work for him.

Almost every critical remark made about Palin on a recent briefing call about her selection came from political consultants with ties to Romney. Those comments were planted, says one, because they knew that reporters would be on the call.

PRACTICE AND POLISH
Sen. Barack Obama's pitch perfect response regarding the announcement of an impending birth in the Palin family ("my mother had me when she was 18") was not without a series of edits and rehearsals, according to some Obama insiders.

"For tough questions we know he will get to questions we plant with reporters that we want asked, [senior campaign staff] will rehearse [Obama's] answer with him."

The goal: to get his inflection and tone, as well as the content, just right.

"After he flubbed the hypothetical question about his own daughter's pregnancy, the campaign has worked with him to avoid what appear to be insensitive or unthoughtful answers," says an Obama Senate staffer.

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