Not your grandfather's Democratic press secretaries

By Stephen W. Stromberg
Published August 2, 2004 6:53PM (EDT)

Democrats don't have a reputation for being hard on the press. And all it takes is a brief look back at the Clinton White House -- an era of unprecedented press access to the executive branch, and an era of unprecedented intrusion into the president's private life -- to see why that might be a problem for aspiring politicians. So last week in training sessions at the Democratic National Convention, Democratic press secretaries were told to bully reporters into submission. From Washington Whispers: "Reporters, beware: The Democratic Party is revamping its lovey-dovey approach and telling campaign press secretaries to come down like a ton of bricks if you screw up or slip in a little attitude. 'When it comes to the media,' suggests Democratic strategist James Carville, 'intimidation works.' He offers a tactic: 'Send E-mails to the press. They do respond to pressure.'" To all Democratic press secretaries: If you would like War Room to "respond to pressure," please send an e-mail to

Stephen W. Stromberg

Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.

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