Reporters’ Notebook

A REPORTER WAS COVERING THE RALLIES OUTSIDE Cashman Center before the Democratic presidential candidates debate on Tuesday when his cell phone rang.

He was expecting a call about Dennis Kucinich’s legal challenge to be included in the debate, so he quickly answered.

On the other end of the line was the chipper voice of a telemarketer.

"Hi," she said. "This is Amy from the Hillary Clinton campaign. …"


SEVERAL CELEBRITIES JOINED JOHN EDWARDS on the campaign trail in Nevada last week, including actresses Madeleine Stowe and Jean Smart. James Denton, who stars in "Desperate Housewives" alongside a host of beautiful women, opened with a few jokes when he helped introduce Edwards at a rally in Las Vegas on Friday.

"If I’m not funny or interesting, it’s because the writers are on strike. Don’t blame me," Denton said.

Moments later, he said, "For those of you who heard there was someone here from ‘Desperate Housewives,’ I’d like to say I’m sorry. Especially for the men out there, I apologize from the bottom of my heart."


STRESSED OUT BY TIGHT DEADLINES AND BORED BY REPETITIVE SPEECHES, some local reporters found themselves a little under the weather in the final days leading up to the caucuses. Some even threatened to call in sick on Saturday with a variety of unusual illnesses. They included:

Caucus cough

Whooping caucus

Bruised caucus

Broken caucus



Olympia Ducaucus Disease

Caucus lung

Caucussing up blood



While appearing at a Monday Chinatown rally meant to encourage Asian American and Pacific Islander Democrats to participate in Saturday’s caucus, Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, acknowledged that he doesn’t look the way some would expect a congressman from the Aloha State to look. "How come that short haole (pronounced "how-lee," slang for white person) guy with the beard is there?" he said. "I’m Hawaii’s answer to affirmative action."



ABERCROMBIE CAUSED AN AWKWARD SEVERAL MOMENTS at the rally when during a speech he expressed his support for Barack Obama.

"You got me in trouble," emcee Rosita Lee told him, explaining that in the interest of fairness someone would now have to speak in support of Hillary Clinton. Lee attempted to get Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., and Nevada Democratic Party chairwoman Jill Derby to do so, but both declined.

A long pause and a Berkley speech encouraging caucus participation followed before a woman who identified herself as a member of Asian American Women for Hillary finally rose to speak in support of Clinton. Lee apparently then realized that, in the interest of fairness, somebody should also speak in support of John Edwards. She asked whether anyone at the event could do so. A couple of audience members answered: "They just left!"



WHEN YOU CALL THE LOCAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY OFFICE on Valley View Boulevard at 737-8683, no one answers the phone and it kicks straight to a voice mail account. However, the voice mail account was full last week.

Now the punch line: The voice mail account is identified as "Victory 2004 campaign."

Someone at the party might want to update that.



They can’t cover caucuses without clichés

The Nevada caucuses have focused intense media attention on the state and made us ponder, yet again, one of the great questions: What is it about this place that makes writers ramp up the crap factor in their copy?

Is it the excitement of using corporate expense accounts to go someplace cool? Or that odd casino scent?

Maybe someone will answer that question someday. But in the meantime, enjoy this evidence of the problem with sarcastic parenthetical asides courtesy of Reporters’ Notebook.

From an ABC "Nightline" report: "At Sapphire’s gentleman’s club, there’s not much talk of politics." (Really? Not much talk of politics at a strip club. This guy obviously never visited one with Lance Malone.)

"Ask someone here (at Sapphires) if they’re Democrat or Republican, and the answer inevitably sounds like a come-on. One of the dancers said of her political leanings, ‘I would say nonpartisan. I’m very open.’"

(Our guess is one of those dancers reading the phone book would sound like a come-on to this scribe.)

New York Times editorial writer Gail Collins dusted off the clichés for her op-ed on the caucuses: "The number of people in the state who have ever attended a caucus before is probably smaller than the number of people in the state who make their living as Elvis impersonators. … It would have made as much sense to decide who gets the delegates by a roll of the dice — and think of the great publicity for the state’s premier industry. (Wayne Newton could emcee!)" (Gail Collins obviously prepared to write this column by watching "Honeymoon in Vegas" for its near-documentary portrayal of life in Southern Nevada.)

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