Andrew Romano

Stories by Andrew Romano

  • Food: Saving the New York City Pizza Slice

    Chef Mathieu Palombino is wearing a New Kids on the Block T shirt—and while it may be ironic, it's not inaccurate. Late last year Palombino, 31, opened Motorino in Brooklyn. His training was tony—Laurent Tourondel, David Bouley—but his latest recipe was rather primitive. Flour from Naples. Tomatoes from Naples. Cheese from Naples. And a massive, 850-degree, wood-burning oven built in Texas by, yes, a man from Naples. "My goal was to make traditional Neapolitan pizza," says Palombino. "The most authentic, the best." Local chowhounds quickly declared Motorino a success, but at least one group disagreed: Palombino's Italian-American neighbors. "They're like 60, 70, and they won't eat my pizza," he admits. "They prefer the place over there—the one with $2 slices." The new kid, it seems, was too old school for the block. And as impressive as his pies are, I get why.Consider the New York slice. It's the city's most enduring gastronomical export: a cheap, cheese-slathered sliver of street...
  • NYC on the Small Screen: Why Its Best Portrayal Has Nary a Cosmo, Pink Stiletto or "Central Perk" In Sight

    It’s no secret that America’s attitude toward New York City is somewhat schizophrenic. Nor is it particularly perceptive to note that pop culture has long reflected our mixed feelings about the metropolis. On one hand there’s the Big Apple: a fizzy, fashionable  escape from suburbia. On the other there’s dark and dangerous Gotham: the city as a source of schadenfreude for small-town residents eager to see immoral urbanites suffer for their sins -- preferably with lots of explosions.In moments of relative calm -- like, say, the pleasant, prosperous 1990s, when the TV version of New York was filled with "Friends" who rarely saw the need to, you know, go to work -- the whole love-hate dynamic can be sort of muted. (See also: Sex and the City, Seinfeld.) But real-world meltdowns always seem to revive our glam-or-grit ambivalence toward the city. During the Depression, public enemies like James Cagney rubbed elbows with screwball sophisticates like Cary Grant; the 1970s...
  • Stumper Signs Off--For Now

    Thank you.When Stumper started a little over a year ago, I'd never covered a presidential campaign--or maintained a blog, for that matter. The thought of writing four or five times a day on a single subject seemed somewhat, well, daunting. Now, 13 months, 18 states, 21 debates, 1,672 posts, 35,416 comments and countless Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches later, it's the thought of not writing four of five times a day that's making me uneasy.But alas: the stumping has ended, and so will Stumper.  It's been an incredible year--jamming with Mike Huckabee, pulling an allnighter with John Edwards, following Rudy Giuliani across South Florida, meeting John McCain in a tiny Iowa diner, sitting in section 139 of Mile High Stadium as Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination. But without you guys, the readers, it would've been pointless. So I'd like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude--for the tips, the ideas, the comments, the kudos and, most of...
  • The Best of NEWSWEEK's Top-Secret Election Project, Vols. II, III and IV

    You can read my favorite tidbits from Chapter One here. Now for the highlights from Chapters Two, Three and Four: Bill's Bile: In the days after his wife's back- from-the-brink victory in New Hampshire, Bill Clinton was full of righteous indignation. The former president had amassed an 81-page list of all the unfair and nasty things the Obama campaign had said, or was alleged to have said, about Hillary Clinton. The press was still in love with Obama, or so it seemed to Clinton, who complained to pretty much anyone who would listen. If the press wouldn't go after Obama, then Hillary's campaign would have to do the job, the ex-president urged. On Sunday, Jan. 13, Clinton got worked up in a phone conversation with Donna Brazile, a direct, strong-willed African-American woman who had been Al Gore's campaign manager and advised the Clintons from time to time. "If Barack Obama is nominated, it will be the worst denigration of public service," he told...
  • A 21st Century President?

    On Jan. 3, 2008, I arrived at the apartment of Paul Tewes, Barack Obama's Iowa state director, as the icy streets of downtown Des Moines filled with young Obamaniacs hugging and cheering, "We did it!" Upstairs, scruffy postcollegiate staffers squeezed between couches and credenzas to celebrate the senator's surprise victory in that night's Iowa caucuses. Cans of Bud Light covered every surface. Youth turnout, I was told, was up 135 percent from 2004, and the under-25 set alone gave Obama 17,000 votes--nearly his entire margin of victory. The next morning, a 25-year-old Obama supporter sent me an ecstatic email. "This," he wrote, "is our next president."At the time, there was no way of knowing what would happen eleven months later. But I had my suspicions. It was clear to me that night in Iowa that Obama had begun to build the first 21st century campaign--a campaign with the potential, I imagined, to propel him to a 21st century victory in...
  • Bush on Obama: 'A Triumph of the American Story'

    Speaking just now from the White House's Rose Garden, President George W. Bush invoked the memory--and words--of Martin Luther King, Jr.--in describing Barack Obama's historic achievement. "It will be a stirring sight to see President Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their beautiful girls step through the doors of the White House," he said. "I know millions of Americans will be overcome with pride at this inspiring moment that so many have waited so long." The current era of partisan comity will soon come to end, I'm sure. But that doesn't make it any less refreshing--or any less of an opportunity for Obama, should he choose to seize it. Here's hoping...
  • The Results (So Far): 364 for Obama, 173 for McCain

    Obama, 364: Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Iowa, California, Oregon, Washington, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, Hawaii, Washington, D.C., Indiana, North CarolinaMcCain, 173: Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Wyoming, North Dakota, West Virginia, Kansas, Utah, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Idaho, Arizona, Alaska, Montana, MissouriPopular Vote: 52 percent Obama, 46 percent McCain Senate: Democrats 56, Republicans 40House: Democrats 258, Republicans 177 
  • The Filter: Nov. 5, 2008... President Obama Edition

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories. OBAMA ELECTED PRESIDENT AS RACIAL BARRIER FALLS(Adam Nagourney, New York Times)Barack Hussein Obama was elected the 44th president of the United...
  • McCain Concedes: 'Obama Is My President'

    McCain's concession speech from the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, Ariz. was everything it had to be--a generous, gracious reminder that when the campaign comes to a close what really matters is our shared enterprise as Americans. It was easy to forget in the heat of battle, but no one does bipartisanship better. "Sen. Obama and I...
  • The McCain-Obama Call

    McCain called Obama at 11 p.m. Eastern. What they said, courtesy of Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs: Senator Obama thanked Senator McCain for his graciousness and said he had waged a tough race. Senator Obama told Senator McCain he was consistently someone who has showed class and honor during this campaign as he has during his entire life in public service. Senator Obama said he was eager to sit down and talk about how the two of them can work together--Obama said to move this country forward "I need your help, you're a leader on so many important issues."
  • Ladies and Gentlemen, President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama

    It's a wrap. Whatever your political affiliation, whomever you supported... I think we can all come together at this moment, as Americans, and agree that the election of the son of a black Kenyan father and a white Kansan mother--an African-American--represents a turning point in the long, imperfect narrative of our nation. Tomorrow we can return to bickering; if we didn't, we wouldn't be Americans. But tonight, let's pause and celebrate--and savor the rare feeling of living through history, together. Everything just changed. Here's hoping that President Obama is equal to the moment.
  • The Old Dominion Goes Blue

    With 91 precincts reporting, both FOX News and the Associated Press call Virginia for Barack Obama. How'd he do it? By slicing into the Bush margins downstate and running up big leads in the heavily populated, transplant-rich ring of suburban counties around Washington D.C.--Arlington (67-32), Loudoun (53-47), Fairfax (59-41) and Prince William (55-44). To see how much has changed in four years, just look at the Bush-Kerry splits from the last time around: 46-54 in Fairfax, 56-44 in Loudoun and 53-47 in Prince William. That's the whole story right there. Obama's electoral vote total now stands at 220. When the polls close at 11:00 p.m. Eastern in California, the networks will call the race--and Barack Obama will officially be the president-elect of the United States of America.
  • Whither the Youth Vote?

    Judging by the latest exit polls, young voters (18- to 29-year olds) accounted for roughly the same share of the overall electorate as in 2004--17 percent then vs. 18 percent now. But while the split four years ago was 54-40 for Kerry, it was 68-30 for Obama tonight--a net 24-point swing in Obama's favor. That's by far the biggest support shift within any age group. We'll have to wait until the exits stabilize to get a solid sense of how much the 'utes contributed to the Senator's impending victory. But it seems from these preliminary stats that they played an important (if not necessarily decisive) part.
  • Obama Just Won Ohio. Why That Means It's Over.

    The networks won't call it for awhile. The winner won't reach 270 for another hour or two. But it just became pretty much impossible for John McCain to win the 2008 election....
  • No Blue States for McCain

    It's official.As polls close at 9:00 p.m., the networks call Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin for Barack Obama. This means that John McCain, who has already lost in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania will not--repeat will not--add to George W. Bush's 2004 electoral vote total of 286.To win, the Republican has to hope that Obama either a) doesn't win any Bush states or b) wins Bush states worth less 16 electoral votes. A few examples: Nevada plus Iowa; New Mexico plus Colorado; Virginia or Indiana--and nowhere else. If Obama wins Ohio or Florida, it's over. The Sunshine State, of course, is still too close to call. Obama currently leads 51-48 with 50 percent reporting; he's outperforming Kerry in key Bush districts 9and the key Kerry districts on the southeastern coast have yet to report). What's more, there's an early sign in the Florida exit polls that McCain may be in trouble--if not down south, then out west. After Bush won 56 percent of Florida...
  • The Peach State Stays Red

    With a quarter of precincts reporting, NBC News calls Georgia for John McCain. No surprise there--the Peach State was probably the reachiest of Barack Obama's reaches. The Democrat tried to close 2004's double-digit gap by increasing the black vote as a share of the electorate to 30 percent (up five since 2004), but it wasn't enough in a state where whites--who chose McCain 73-25--made up 65 percent of the voters. Needless to say, Georgia wasn't make or break for Obama. Chicago was expecting to win Iowa, New Mexico Colorado, Virginia, Florida, Ohio and North Carolina before the Peach State (in that order)--and all of those states are still up in the air. 
  • Well, That Was Fast

    The AP calls New Hampshire the second the polls close. Despite showing massive Obama leads in recent days, the Granite State was always considered McCain's second-best pick-up possibility. Without it, the math looks particularly dire for McCain. At this point, he can only afford to lose 16 of Bush's 286 electoral votes from 2004. That means that if he loses Florida or Ohio, he's toast. Same goes for Virginia or Indiana plus either Iowa or Colorado. Not to mention Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Missouri or Georgia.Above all, the speed of the N.H. call does not bode well for the Republican.
  • Watch Georgia...

    According to the CBS exit polls, African American turnout in the Peach State is up five points as a share of the electorate since 2004.Why is that important? Because it means that black voters will comprise 30 percent of the electorate there this year. That's the typically considered the magic number for Obama--the point at which flipping Georgia, which twice voted for George W. Bush by double-digit margins, becomes a definite possibility.Right now, McCain is leading 63-36 with four percent of precincts reporting. Among the outstanding areas, however, is Obama-friendly Atlanta. So stay tuned.