Ad Wars: Empire State Mayor Strikes Back

The Skinny is Keach Hagey's take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.


It's a little sad to say it, but the must-read item in today's newspapers is the full-page ad Rudy Giuliani's campaign took out in the New York Times attacking Hillary Clinton for her skeptical response to Gen. David Petaeus' assessment of the war in Iraq.

(The ad itself, which is only in the print version of the paper, is worth checking out if only for the astonishing way that Giuliani's campaign, even when quoting his opponents, manages to lead with 9/11. The graphic designers accomplish the feat this time by making the dates on which Democrats said things - last Tuesday - typographically larger than the things they said.)

The ad is designed as a response to Monday's full-page Times ad by MoveOn.org calling Petraeus "General Betray Us" - which it quotes and then bashes Hillary for refusing to denounce.

If your head is spinning a bit from the ouroboros of a political Times ad denouncing a politician for refusing to denounce a political Times ad, take a breath now, because it gets weirder.

The actual news story in all this is that Giuliani attacked the Times yesterday for allegedly giving a "discounted" ad rate to MoveOn.org, the Times reports.

Even the Times' own reporter couldn't get the Times ad department to cough up the actual price either MoveOn.org or the Giuliani campaign paid for their space, but a spokeswoman said the department charges advocacy groups $64,575 for full-page, black-and-white ads that run on a standby basis, meaning they might get bumped a day depending on space.

A conservative group that ran a full-page, color ad in the Times on Sept. 11 - and therefore had recent experience with the paper's standby ad price and policy - charged that MoveOn.org must have gotten preferential treatment of knowing exactly when its ad was going to run, as people were talking about it ahead of time. But the Times spokeswoman said only that if the paper finds out an ad is running, it tries to alert its clients that they are being accommodated.

Edwards Cleans House

In another example of newspapers' influence over the presidential campaign, the Wall Street Journal reports that John Edwards is dumping personal investments linked to foreclosure suits filed against three dozen victims of Hurricane Katrina, and has set up a charitable organization to help the homeowners.

Edwards discovered that he was getting rich off of New Orleanians' sorrow from an Aug. 17 Journal story that looked at Edwards' ties to subprime lenders through his $16 million stake in funds managed by Fortress Investment Group, LLC. It was a pretty embarrassing revelation for the self-styled populist who announced his candidacy in the Big Easy, using a collection of storm ravaged houses as a backdrop.

At the time of the Aug. 17 story's publication, Edwards said he was unaware that his money might be commingled with funds that hold major stakes in subprime lenders that are foreclosing on New Orleans residents. He pledged to cleanse his portfolio immediately and use his own money if need be to set up a fund to help the families, saying - pretty hilariously -- "This thing about New Orleans is not just politics to me."

Pretty (Angry) In Pink

Pink is punishment in many of the nation's prisons, and at least one inmate isn't going to take it anymore, USA Today reports.

Sherone Nealous is suing the South Carolina penal system for its policy of forcing inmates to wear pink as punishment for sexual misconduct, saying that the practice is discriminatory and makes those sporting the pastel hue attire more likely to be assaulted by other inmates.

The state's corrections department countered that the pink jumpsuits convey "no suggestions that the inmate wearing the jumpsuit is a willing participant in homosexual activity or otherwise vulnerable to . . . assault."

The department claims it chose the rosy color as an identifying mark for inmates involved in sexual activity because other colors were taken - yellow for segregation units, dark green for those on death row. And also because prisoners don't like wearing pink, which "contributes to its deterrent effect."

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  • Keach Hagey

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