The Randall Terry Moment

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 13 2012 12:35 PM

The Randall Terry Moment

Barack Obama had enemies to the right. For a few weeks last year, a ragtag posse of left-wing academics and activists, led (of course) by Ralph Nader, talked about drafting anti-Obama candidates in primary and caucus states, to bring the president into a debate on his record.

The plan fell apart. According to Nader, the group was buffalo'd by the changing primary dates. My theory at the time was that the Occupy movement vacuumed up all the energy that might have gone to a quixotic primary campaign. Regardless: The effect of the left-wing punt, and the total failure of any "Draft Hillary" movement, has given us an unexpected piece of political trivia. The man running second to Obama in the primary is Randall Terry.

I ran into Terry at CPAC. It wasn't a surprise; the "truth truck," a vividly decorated assemblage of anti-Obama, anti-aborion slogans driven by a Terry ally, was parked near the hotel, next to a broken (i.e., not in any need to be fed) meter.


Terry turned out to be a presence at the Marriott Wardman Park's high-priced bar, shaking hands and updating people on his campaign. The bid allowed him to run graphic imagery of aborted fetuses in "campaign ads." One of the ads ran, at a Marriot hotel-bar-like expense, during the Super Bowl.

"We're going to run three ads in Oklahoma," he told me on his way to smoke with some conservatives outside, "starting next week. They're going to hit him on the birth control decision. We're taking his insult to Catholics, and we're picking it up and throwing it back at him." He flipped me the bird, as if I was Barack Obama. "We're doing this."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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