Andrew Romano

Stories by Andrew Romano

  • ALTER: Are McCain's War Wounds Really to Blame for His 'Computer Illiteracy'?

    Last Friday, I posted an item called "Obama Plays the Age Card (Again)" that was critical of Chicago's efforts to portray McCain as unfit to occupy the Oval Office simply because he's not yet a fluent computer user. As I wrote at the time, the Obama camp's "Still" ad exaggerated some of McCain's past statements and ignored others in a subtle attempt to paint the Arizona senator as not only "out of touch" but senile. In an update added later that day, I noted that there might be another reason--beside incuriosity--why McCain isn't yet maintaining his own MySpace page: his war wounds. In 2000, the Boston Globe reported that "McCain’s severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes," while Forbes Magazine later added that even though "McCain is an inveterate...
  • The Filter: Sept. 15, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories. BANK MELTDOWN WALLOPS CAMPAIGNS(Mike Allen, Politico)America's banking instability could upend the final 50 days of the...
  • Kliff: A Letter from the Forgotten Campaign

    By Sarah Kliff The blogs lit up over pigs with lipstick. But Joe Biden? As America spent the week deconstructing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the spotlight seemed to skip over the senior senator from Delaware--i.e., the other vice-presidential nominee. One recent poll asked Americans which candidate they would most like to have dinner with; only 7 percent chose Joe as their dinner date. The media wasn't exactly clamoring to get cozy with him either. This week, I spent four days in Biden's traveling press entourage. I was one of  just seven reporters following him--two from print publications and the rest from major television networks. We took to calling ourselves the JV team. One morning a rumor spread among us that the Straight Talk Two (one of McCain’s chartered planes) was overweight and the campaign was asking reporters to volunteer to fly commercial. Meanwhile, Air Biden usually hovered around one-third occupancy. Each of us took up our entire row--and we gave a life-sized...
  • You Want Service Initiatives? We've Got Service Initiatives.

    Sometimes I think all the outrage directed at the MSM is misguided. But sometimes it's warranted. Case in point: last night. On the seventh anniversary of Sept. 11, both Barack Obama and John McCain went on stage at Columbia University here in New York to discuss the theme of national service. It wasn't the sexiest subject, the candidates didn't even appear together and there was little partisan rancor to feed the press's endless appetite for drama. But as the Washington Post's Michael D. Shear and Jonathan Weisman noted this morning in the lede of their report on the event, both candidates did "pledg[e] to inspire a new commitment to public service." More specifically, they "Promis[ed] National-Security Initiatives"--that is, new policy proposals meant to encourage "service through teaching, the military, the Peace Corps and faith-based volunteering." Unfortunately, Shear and Weisman didn't bother to tell their readers anything about said policies. Instead, we got McCain ...
  • Memo to the Candidates: Stop Talking About Earmarks. Please.

    This election could wind up being about a lot of things. The economy. The war in Iraq. Whether Sarah Palin's mooseburgers are better than Barack Obama's chili. But there's at least one thing that it won't be about:Earmarks. Our...
  • The Politics of Stupidity

    Years from now presidential historians will look back on Sept. 9 as the day the 2008 campaign got completely and utterly stupid....
  • The Filter: Sept. 10, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.CAMPAIGNS ADJUST THEIR PACE TO MEET SHORT SEASON(Adam Nagourney, New York Times)Senators John McCain and Barack Obama...
  • Romney: 'I Had a Sense It Wasn't Going to Be Me"

    The media may have thought that Mitt Romney was a finalist for the job of John McCain's running mate. But Romney himself recently told NEWSWEEK that he wasn't so easily fooled. "I had a sense it wasn't going to be me," he said in an interview with Stumper and assorted colleagues last week in St. Paul. For months, speculation to the contrary was intense. On June 30, the Politico's Mike Allen reported that "Romney is at the top of the vice presidential prospect list for John McCain," and 50 days later, on Aug. 20, both Time's Mark Halperin and New York magazine's John Heilemann wondered aloud--or, rather, online--whether McCain's ongoing flirtation with pro-choice pols like Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge was really "a bit of elaborate gamesmanship designed to make Evangelicals more grateful than they otherwise might be for the selection" of Romney, "a running mate who, despite being pro-life, the religious right has some qualms about." But as it turns out, Romney knew he wouldn't get t...
  • The Filter: Sept. 9, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.OBAMA FANS OUT, MCCAIN STAYS PUT(Peter Nicholas, Los Angeles Times)...
  • So Who's Winning This Thing?

    The current Real Clear Politics electoral map; it reflects the latest polls and is not a prediction of the outcome...
  • The Filter: Sept. 8, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.THE SIXTY-DAY WAR(John Heilemann, New York)The implications of McCain’s Hail Mary were puzzling at a glance. Was...
  • The Cheaper Seats

    About the time John McCain was accepting the Republican presidential nomination last night, this photo came across the wires:(PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)In case you haven't fully familiarized yourself with the glamor shot in the upper left-hand corner of this page, that's yours truly in the front row of the Xcel Energy Center's media workspace, second from the left. I'm flanked (from left to right) by my NEWSWEEK colleagues Adam Kushner, Holly Bailey and Carl Sullivan. We had the best press seats in the house.Speaking of the media and seating, I just boarded the 9:18 Northwest flight from Minneapolis to New York-LaGuardia and, lo and behold, spotted Anderson Cooper and Diane Sawyer sitting in the same row up in first class. Stumper, on the other hand, has been relegated to seat 25B. Second row from the back of the aircraft. Middle seat.  One must know one's place. I'll be in transit for much of the rest of the day--and probably sleeping for the rest. Expect lighter-than...
  • Convention Choreography

    For those of you wondering how much of what happens at these conventions is scripted, here's your answer: all of it.She hugs them. They start to walk off.Spotted on the teleprompter last night as Cindy McCain arrived on stage with her sons and daughters to introduce the 2008 Republican presidential nominee.For the record, "give somewhat tedious speech" never appeared on the screen. I guess the RNC allows its speakers to improvise that part.  
  • The Filter: September 5, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.THE PARTY IN POWER, RUNNING AS IF IT WEREN'T(Peter Baker, New York Times)The nominee’s friend described him as a “restless reformer who will...
  • McCain Reclaims His Stage

    ST. PAUL, Minn.--My insta-reaction to John McCain's acceptance speech here in St. Paul tonight: it did what it had to do--nothing more, nothing less. McCain told his tale of tragedy, sacrifice and triumph as a Vietnam POW in humble, human tones that will appeal to those who haven't yet heard it (not everyone is a political junkie, believe it or not). He tied the oft-repeated theme of the convention--"Putting Country First"--to both his biography (the past) and his hopes for the future ("I don’t work for a party. I don’t work for a special interest. I don’t work for myself. I work for you."). He shifted--with a little help from Sarah Palin--from a message of readiness to a message of reform, outlining a handful of relevant policy proposals (school choice, energy independence) while reaching out to Americans who "have been left behind in the changing economy." He barely mentioned Republicans; he didn't mention George W. Bush. And he drew a several broad-stroke contrasts with opponent...
  • McCain's Presidential Moment

    ST. PAUL, Minn.--Historians always say that presidents are defined not by the things they plan to do in office but how they react to the things they never planned for. Here at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, John McCain just had a bit of a presidential moment.Shortly after McCain stepped on stage to deliver his much-anticipated acceptance speech--in fact, right as he was saying, "I accept the nomination"--a pair of antiwar protestors began shouting and waving banners from the balcony right above Section 113, where much of the national press corps is seated. "Tell John McCain we can't win an occupation!" they chanted. "Why did John McCain vote against our vets!" As their words echoed throughout the hall, the entire floor turned toward the troublemakers. McCain, for his part, kept on going--and so did they. When the conventioneers realized that the activists weren't going to stop out of politeness, they took action, overwhelming the catcalls with a confrontational chorus of "USA...