Michelle Cottle

Wise Crack
May 21, 2007

Where Senator John McCain is concerned, the political chattering class seems to have lost its sense of humor. During a Monday conference call with journalists, McCain was asked by The New York Sun to comment on the fact that presidential opponent Mitt Romney had been talking smack about the immigration compromise McCain has co-sponsored in the Senate. McCain offered up this rejoinder regarding Romney's stance: "[M]aybe I should wait a couple of weeks and see if it changes, because it's changed in less than a year from his position before.

The XX Factor
May 21, 2007

KATE MICHELMAN is struggling to carry on a phone conversation without crashing her car as she barrels east across New Hampshire on her way to yet another campaign appearance with Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards. This morning, Michelman, who for almost 20 years served as president of NARAL, was in Manchester with Edwards for the official opening of the campaign’s state headquarters.

May 07, 2007

Is it possible that Al Sharpton has finally said something so politically stupid that even he realizes the need to shut the hell up? During a debate on religion this week with professional grump Christopher Hitchens, Sharpton remarked of GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, "As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways, so don't worry about that; that's a temporary situation." Al being Al, the remark was seen by many as a slam on Romney's Mormonism, prompting the governor's campaign to denounce Sharpton for religious bigotry.

Sinking Ship
April 23, 2007

For a variety of reasons, I never cared much for John Kerry as a presidential contender. Even so, by the time November 2004 rolled around, I was willing to give the guy a try if only out of a deep personal conviction that my ancient housecat, Pitty Pat, would make a better commander-in-chief than George W. Bush. (This despite the fact poor Pitty is blind, has a heart condition, and sleeps 20 hours a day.) And so, in those dreary post-election weeks, I took to consoling myself with daydreams of how bumpy the Bushies' second term was sure to be.

Lazy Boy
April 09, 2007

Presidential obsession du jour for anxious GOPers: Does Fred Thompson's announcement that he's in remission from lymphoma mean that America's favorite lawyer-turned-lobbyist-turned-movie-actor-turned-senator-turned-TV-actor is more likely or less likely to join the 2008 hordes? I'm betting on Option A, especially since early reaction to Thompson's revelation ranged from the blasé to the encouraging.

Heart of Darkness; Dick Cheney's mind/body problem.
March 19, 2007

What is wrong with Dick Cheney? Since the earliest days of his vice presidency, people have been asking this question. At first, it was mostly out of partisan pique; but, increasingly, it's in troubled tones, as one of the most powerful men on the planet grows evermore rigid, belligerent, and just plain odd in both his public utterances ("Go fuck yourself," Senator Leahy) and private actions(shoot a man in the face and not bother to call your boss 'til the next day: What's up with that?).

Speed Kills
March 12, 2007

Every now and again, the pharmaceutical industry stumbles upon a product with the power to transfix and transform a segment of society. Birth control pills were a biggie. Ditto cholesterol medication and anti-depressants. But this week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was taking steps to protect consumers from what has the potential to become a culture-transforming pharmaceutical side effect: sleep-driving.

Well Groomed
February 26, 2007

Let me just admit that Mitt Romney gives me the willies. It's not the Mormon thing. Honest. What kind of undergarments a man likes his church elders to wear is between him and his God. Besides, having survived a Southern Baptist upbringing, I don't regard the prospect of a Latter Day Saint president appreciably scarier than one reared in the Armageddon-obsessed evangelism of my youth. Rather, it's Romney's look that disturbs: the teeth, the coif, the general air of gameshow-hostness that fills me with the overwhelming urge to buy a vowel every time the guy enters a room.

February 19, 2007

Elizabeth Dole looks small and tidy tucked into a corner of the CupaCupa coffee shop, situated on the ground floor of the Watergatecomplex where she lives with husband Bob Dole. (Yes, even she callshim by both names.) The North Carolina senator is, as always,perfectly coiffed and perfectly outfitted in a smart black pantsuitwith a white collarless blouse and just the right amount of gold jewelry sprinkled about. Before I even settle into my seat, Dole asks if I'd like anything to drink and offers up a bottle of springwater already on the table.

Your move, Hillary.
February 05, 2007

This is going to be So Much Fun. Say what you will about the downsides of a Hillary Clinton v. Barack Obama smack-down; it has already delivered a shot of adrenaline to the oh-so-jaded journalists who cover--and shape--the presidential election season.Case in point: Last Wednesday, almost by accident, I found myself with a front-row seat for Hillary's press conference about her recent jaunt to Iraq/ Afghanistan/Pakistan with Indiana Senator Evan Bayh and New York Representative John McHugh. The Senate TV studio was a zoo.