Hot potato.

Hot potato.

Hot potato.

Notes from the political sidelines.
Aug. 31 2007 5:57 PM

Hot Potato

Republicans can't drop Larry Craig fast enough.

(Continued from Page 15)

Judging from his MySpace page, Tagg is as much a speed reader as Bush, too. Forget Battlefield Earth. Tagg's book list includes Les Miserables and Harry Potter, the Book of Mormon and the Bible. He invited blog readers to send him book suggestions. Tagg is sure to ignore the advice to read "anything by William Bennett," but he must have enjoyed the post that said, "Read anything on Lincoln. Not to overblow things, but in some degree, the way your Dad is being treated by the media is oddly similar."

In a video introduction to his blog, Tagg insists that he is "more uptight" than his brothers—"a classic Type A." Everything is relative. Tagg's favorite characters on The Simpsons are Ned Flanders and Milhouse, whom he considers family because his grandfather served in the Cabinet of "Richard Milhouse Nixon." So what if Tagg misspelled Nixon's middle name, or initially confused "Bob Woodruff" with "Bob Woodward"? His IQ is still 3 points higher than his brothers'.


Besides, Tagg is special in another way: He has an imaginary friend. In one post, he responds to a comment from "Sameera Righton," who asks, "Which one of you five is the most hilarious?" Tagg tells her, "Everyone in my family thinks they are funny, but few of them actually are."

But here's the funny part: "Sameera Righton" is herself a fictional character (nicknamed "Sparrow") from a recently released teen novel by Mitali Perkins called First Daughter, which is about the adopted Pakistani daughter of a Republican frontrunner. To promote the book, Perkins created Sparrowblog, in which the fictional Sameera fawns over the children of real-life presidential candidates.

On the surface, Sameera's life seems loosely based on the real-life story of Bridget McCain, the adopted Bangladeshi daughter of a sometime Republican frontrunner. But as a fictional teenager blogging in cyberspace, Sameera is clearly searching for something less real. The result: She's one of the biggest groupies on the Five Brothers site, and her picture is featured on Tagg's MySpace page, where she praises his "brotherhood blog."

When Tagg sought book ideas, Sameera begged him to read the book about her. She posted several comments pushing a Romney-Rice ticket. She routinely lusts after "the Five Romney Hunks." When the Christmas video came out, she urged Sparrowblog readers to "fast-forward to the end to get a peek into oldest brother Tagg's soft heart."

Sameera warned Tagg not to post photos of his children, because "loonies abound in cyberspace and they use kids' photos for all kinds of creepy purposes." (Note to candidates: To be extra safe, have fictitious children.) Tagg's response: "Sameera, I appreciate your concern for my kids!"

Most uptight Republican politicians would run away from a fictional, underage immigrant throwing herself at their feet in hopes of making a big splash on the Internet. Not Tagg Romney. His attitude is: When you write the Romneys, you're not a fake—you're family. ... 5:17 P.M. ( link)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

So Nice, They Named It Twice: If you think you've had a long week, be glad you're not Rudy Giuliani. On Tuesday, his top Iowa adviser left to become Bush's OMB director. He had to dump his South Carolina campaign chair, who was charged with cocaine possession and distribution. But for Giuliani, those headaches paled alongside the week's most excruciating spectacle: seeing his successor, Michael Bloomberg, grace the cover of Time and leave the GOP to plot an independent bid for President. Even if Bloomberg ultimately decides not to run, Giuliani may already be the Bloomberg campaign's first victim.

For Giuliani, the Bloomberg boomlet is bad news on every level. First, Bloomberg joins Fred Thompson in sucking up much of the oxygen that Giuliani's campaign needs to keep breathing. In most national and statewide polls, Giuliani's lead is slipping or has disappeared altogether. While Bloomberg explores how many billions it might take to buy an election, Giuliani suddenly finds himself in no-man's land, as a frontrunner who can't buy a headline.