Globe op-ed columnist Joan Vennochi shows the newsroom guys how it’s done. Check this out:
[Last week], top Reilly campaign operatives discussed, via e-mail, how to “map out shadow plans for our friend at Killer Coke.” The “friend” is a reference to Ray Rogers, the labor leader who runs a campaign aimed at exposing Cokes alleged misdeeds around the world.
On Aug. 3, David Guarino, communications director for Reilly for Massachusetts, e-mailed two top Reilly advisers — Will Keyser at Hill Holiday and John Stefanini, a lawyer at Greenberg Traurig:
“Subject: Re: “Killer coke” … [you have GOT to go read the whole thing - no point in my reprinting it verbatim --ed.]
Pressed with specifics about the e-mail exchange, Guarino later responded with this, via e-mail: “Given the seriousness of the charges raised by Mr. Rogers, of course we had discussions which are reflected in the e-mails youve been given. In the end, allies of ours spoke with Mr. Rogers to discuss his charges but the campaign decided to keep him at arms length. Our campaign decided not to get directly involved in Mr. Rogers efforts because we didnt want him to be seen as a tool of a rival campaign … We believe Mr. Rogers offers a legitimate point of view and raises important questions that Mr. Patrick, as a candidate for Governor, should answer.”
The Reilly campaign certainly has an interesting definition of what it means to keep someone “at arms length.” In this campaign, it apparently means setting up a rivals enemy with PR help and media contacts, and then hiding behind him.
Where to begin? First, the Reilly campaign basically lied to reporters when asked whether they had any involvement with the Killer Coke campaign. (Vennochi reports: “Said Guarino: ‘Our campaign has had no involvement with him, thats the truth.’”) Second, Ray Rogers now looks an awful lot closer to acting in “coordination” with the Reilly campaign than first appeared, which is yet another strike against him as far as campaign finance regulation is concerned.
Third, and maybe most significantly, this is yet another huge stumble by the Reilly campaign – and unlike the St. Fleuriasco, this one comes pretty close to the primary. Who is runnning this thing, the Keystone Kops? For one thing, apparently the place leaks like a sieve. For another, this bush-league involvement with the one-man Killer Coke show bespeaks a campaign that, apparently, doesn’t have much else to talk about. Today’s a sad, sad day for the Reilly campaign.
At this time, I find it necessary to borrow an image from our friend Bruce:
Kudos to Joan Vennochi for busting this story wide open.
UPDATE: Bruce does have a remarkable gift for creating eye-catching images.