EXCERPT – The Debate – Billionaires and Bagmen
Campaign strategist Howie Ratson: a heavyset, balding, confident and supremely committed man, had managed campaigns and won elections that people said he could never win – often on behalf of candidates who weren’t even close to being considered electable.
As the debate approached, (Billionaires and Bagmen, Ray Bourhis) Ratson came up with a plan to turn the campaign on its head…
“OK,” Ratson said, “Just lay low. Don’t say anything. Don’t try to upstage anyone. If reporters come up to you, tell them you’ll have a statement after the debate. Then after it’s all over, have a little press gathering outside or in a hallway. At that point, you can steal their thunder by making a strong, succinct, down-home statement. Say something like: ‘Hey, I’ve been around public policy issues for a long time. I’ve got damn good political instincts. And I’ll tell you what. I don’t trust this guy Cogan. Not one bit. I have a feeling that we haven’t learned everything there is to know about Mr. Cogan. He’s not the decent sort of man he’s trying to portray. Decent young men don’t betray their country. Mark my words. I’ll stake my entire reputation on it. Then hold up a Fairview cap and wave it around and say: ‘If I’m wrong about Cogan, I’ll call a press conference and eat my hat on camera.’
“Do that and you’ll be on every news clip that comes out of the debate.”
“Let your imagination run wild. Come up with a short list of the worst allegations you can think of that could be made against somebody in connection with an election campaign.”
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