Tuesday, January 23, 2007

More Clinton Staff Assignments

(from the NY Times)

More Clinton Staff Assignments
By Patrick Healy

Three hard-working New Yorkers are taking on some weighty assignments for Hillary ‘08.
Joining Mandy Grunwald’s media team is Jimmy Siegel, the former Madison Avenue ad man who made some memorable, humanizing commercials last year for Eliot Spitzer’s successful gubernatorial campaign and for Andrew Cuomo, who was elected attorney general in November.
In a Times profile last fall, Mr. Siegel praised Mrs. Clinton as “smart, hard-working, 100 percent qualified — yet also someone who would benefit from an ad man’s touch. Where advertising could help her is, she could create a little more emotional bond with voters.”
“People say there’s a lot of warmth, sense of humor, and wit there. That humanity has got to come out for her to win.’
In an interview this afternoon, Mr. Siegel said that her warmth came through in his first, 90 minute meeting with her, where the senator was cracking everyone up.
“She has a truly personable nature which maybe isn’t apparent to people who haven’t met her,” he said. “She’s very down to earth and very funny. She’s just quick with a line and makes great, sharp, funny observations.”
Mr. Siegel said he worked on the campaign announcement video on hillaryclinton.com, contributing to the script, which he said was a team effort that included Mrs. Clinton, who had “large input” in the wording.
He said he helped come up with one of the more memorable lines in the video: “So let’s talk. Let’s chat. Let’s start a dialogue about your ideas and mine. Because the conversation in Washington has been just a little one-sided lately, don’t you think? And we can all see how well that works.”
Mr. Siegel said he had an open-ended arrangement with the Clinton campaign and hoped to be with them for the duration, designing commercials and media strategy. He said he was not sure when the first 2008 commercials would air.
Ms. Grunwald, reached this afternoon, declined to comment on Mr. Siegel’s hiring or on the media strategy.
Also taking a new role is Jennifer Hanley, the senator’s New York-based press secretary, who has long shown a fair and steady hand in dealing with the mob that is the New York City press corps. She will be traveling press secretary for the campaign. See you in Des Moines, Jen!
And Blake Zeff, the spokesman for the New York State Democratic Party, will become a spokesman for the campaign. Blake starts around the beginning of February and is moving to Washington, where Senator Clinton has decided to base her presidential campaign headquarters.
Mr. Zeff earned his stripes working for Senator Charles E. Schumer (other Schumer alums now in Hillaryland are Howard Wolfson and Phil Singer), and he sometimes seemed to be channeling Mr. Wolfson’s hard-hitting tactics as he manned the Democrats’ rapid-response attack operation against New York Republicans last year.

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