The Method To Chuck Schumer’s Media ‘Madness’Business Insider 07.07.14 In the News
Veteran Democratic New York Senator Chuck Schumer has earned a reputation as a lawmaker who loves seeing his name in the headlines and, especially, his face on television.
However, in a half-dozen interviews with Business Insider, former Schumer staffers articulated a far more nuanced media strategy and shared some lessons from the Chuck Schumer School of Public Relations. Two former aides to the senator independently declared there is “a method” to the senator’s “madness.”
“He’s very successful and smart when it comes to identifying issues where the press can play a key role in solving a problem. I think one of the misnomers … is that it’s just about getting press for the sake of getting press. But there’s a method to the madness,” said Phil Singer, who served as Schumer’s communications director both in his senate office and at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
A veep for Hillary Clinton in 2016?The Hill 05.31.14 In the News
Speculation has already begun as to whom Hillary Clinton might pick as a running mate if she becomes the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee in 2016.
Phil Singer, who worked for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, said that executive or legislative accomplishment would be top factors in Clinton’s pick, if she were to run and win the Democratic nomination. Race, gender and region would take a secondary role, he suggested.
Singer noted that Vice President Biden comes from Delaware while his predecessor, Dick Cheney, hails from Wyoming. “Hardly big swing states,” Singer said.
Cuomo’s Camp Prepared to Define Astorino Before He Gets a Chance
Rob Astorino was still more than a month away from announcing his bid to challenge Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo back in January, but a political operative with ties to the governor was already busily researching Mr. Astorino’s past.
The operative who sought the school board records, Dylan Anderson, works for Marathon Strategies, a consulting firm whose owner, Phil Singer, worked on Mr. Cuomo’s 2010 campaign for governor and is now a senior adviser to the state Democratic Party. The school board records, some of them a quarter-century old, had to be retrieved from a vault in the district office of the Mount Pleasant Central School District.
Voters Mixed Over Fraud Charges For NY CongressmanAssociated Press 04.29.14 In the News
A congressional campaign that already was promising to be tightly contested became even more contentious when incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm was charged with evading taxes, news that voters in his Staten Island district met with mixed feelings.
But Grimm has even more of a challenge in running for re-election, Democratic strategist Phil Singer said.
The indictment is “going to chase him every time he goes out on the campaign trail,” Singer said.
New York Observer’s Political Power 80
Here are the people who help run this city.
63. Phil Singer
Founder, Marathon Strategies
A tenacious veteran operative who helped guide Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Mr. Singer was involved in the real estate industry’s multimillion independent expenditure effort last election cycle.
Cuomo staffs up for re-election
The state Democratic Committee and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign announced a series of hires today — including a number of aides close to Cuomo and his run for governor in 2010. … The committee is also bringing back Charlie King, a Cuomo ally and former executive director of the party. Hank Sheinkopf, a well-known Democratic consultant, is joining the committee, as is Phil Singer, a former aide to Sen. Charles Schumer who worked on Cuomo’s 2010 election.
Hillary Clinton’s delay: Freezing the field or human shield?Politico 03.21.14 In the News
The claim has hardened into accepted fact among many Democratic operatives: Hillary Clinton is freezing the Democratic 2016 field as she waits until possibly late this year to decide on another presidential run. It’s virtually impossible for anyone other than Clinton to raise money or build a campaign infrastructure, the thinking goes, with Clinton hovering overhead.
Phil Singer, a Democratic strategist who worked on Clinton’s 2008 campaign, said it’s self-evident that other potential hopefuls are, for the most part, hedging against her candidacy.
“Given the strength of her prospective candidacy, it’s hardly a surprise that other candidates are lukewarm about jumping into the 2016 fray,” he said. “At some point, the party will need some kind of signal about her intentions because they’ll have to field a candidate but that time has not yet arrived.”
Jeane MacIntosh to leave the New York Post
The New York Post is losing one of its most senior reporters.
Capital has learned that Jeane MacIntosh, who’s been at the tabloid just shy of 20 years, is leaving for a job with Marathon Strategies, a communications and crisis-management firm run by veteran political consultant Phil Singer.
Hillary Clinton’s Early Moves Gives Fodder to 2016 FoesBusinessweek 10.24.13 In the News
“Secretary Clinton needs to pick her battles wisely, because being a presumptive nominee puts a pretty large target on your back, and Lord knows there are a lot of people on the right gunning for her,” said Phil Singer, a Democratic consultant at New York City-based Marathon Strategies who was a top aide in Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid.
Despite outreach to Republicans, no thaw for Schumer and McConnellThe Hill In the News
“At the end of the day, Schumer is the consummate legislator and he recognizes the only way to get anything done in the Senate is to do it in a bipartisan fashion,” said Phil Singer, a former senior aide to Schumer.
Singer said, “I draw on the Book of Ecclesiastes: There’s a time for partisanship and there’s a time for cooperation. When somebody is in a campaign setting and playing the role that the DSCC chair is supposed to play, they’re going to carry out the functions associated out with that position.”
“In the current dynamic, Schumer’s not head of the DSCC. He has a role in the leadership and plays a role in helping Harry Reid get things done,” he added.
Unbelievably KerryPolitico 09.09.13 In the News
“In the era of the noise machine going 24 hours a day, government officials have to be particularly careful with their words. Having said that, Kerry is a remarkably effective communicator,” said Democratic strategist Phil Singer, who worked on Kerry’s 2004 campaign, pointing to the detailed case Kerry has made for Obama’s Syria plans.
So despite the heat that Kerry’s taking over the London comments, Singer said, “A comment here or a comment there isn’t going to hurt overall the credibility he enjoys with his counterparts on the world stage.”
Super PAC prepares for Clinton runBuffalo News 08.31.13 In the News
The group is likely a benefit to Clinton in another way too, said New York political consultant Phil Singer.
“The nice thing is that it allows a lot of the infrastructure-building to take place without forcing the candidate to be out there and taking all the hits,” said Singer, who worked for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Then again, Ready for Hillary’s early start cuts both ways.
“The downside is that it could magnify the attention on her too early,” Singer said.
That seems to be just what Republicans want.
Pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA positions itself to support Hillary ClintonWashington Post 08.29.13 In the News
“They got off to a slow start, but they had a really strong finish, and ultimately they received a lot of credit for the negative messaging that was most effective against Romney,” said Phil Singer, a Democratic strategist who ran the war room for Clinton’s 2008 White House bid. “Priorities has been able to establish credibility.”
Clinton Campaign-in-Waiting in Super-PAC Surpasses RivalsBusinessweek 07.31.13 In the News
“There is an argument for getting started early that says the sooner you can get to work building out a detailed technology infrastructure to communicate with potential supporters, the better,” said Phil Singer, a New York-based Democratic strategist who was deputy communications manager for Ms. Clinton’s 2008 campaign. “On the other hand, the second you become a candidate, you get the kind of scrutiny that goes with being a candidate.”
Mr. Singer said the books and movies about Ms. Clinton that will appear in the coming months are unlikely to change her standing much in the polls. He called her the “political equivalent of Coke or McDonalds,” a tested brand already well-known.
“This is a political name that has been at the forefront of government and politics for 20-plus years,” he said. “She is going to be shaping perceptions of herself, as a number of things are going on around her.”
Could Chuck Schumer Be the Next Ted Kennedy?National Journal 07.26.13 In the News
Schumer has been a pragmatist focused on outreach and moving bills for 20 years; he even united with the Christian Coalition in a drive to block spam. But the pace has quickened and his role has grown as Republicans increasingly turn to him as a partner. Former aide Phil Singer says Schumer’s rise to No. 3 in the Senate leadership and his close, strong relationship with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are factors. “He has greater prestige within the Democratic caucus” and Republicans recognize that working with a Reid ally helps “advance the ball,” Singer says.
Welcome to the Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential speculation sweepstakesWashington Post 06.23.13 In the News
Whether all of the attention is a good thing or bad thing in the long run then depends on what Clinton and her political team — who is in her inner circle remains unclear — can make of it.
“It’s a double-edged sword. Early hype can deter viable challenges, but it also invites the kind of scrutiny that can deflate a bubble very quickly,” said Phil Singer, a senior staffer in Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. “The team needs to manage the buzz carefully.”
Pro-business political action committee’s first picksCrain's NY Business In the News
“We are researching candidates’ records and public statements, combining that with targeting data on who’s voting, overlaid with polling data, and a little dose of political common sense, and supporting candidates who we think are most likely to support the issues that are important to us,” said Harry Giannoulis of the Parkside Group, which will run the polling and field operations.
The organization plans to begin stumping for its candidates in early July. Research will be conducted by Phil Singer of Marathon Strategies. The group also has Ken Strasma, a voter-targeting expert from Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign.
Democrats start transition from President Obama to Hillary ClintonThe Hill 06.20.13 In the News
All the Clinton allies The Hill spoke to repeatedly emphasized her loyalty to Obama, pointing out that she needs some rest after her busy tenure as secretary of State. They stressed that she hasn’t made up her mind about 2016.
At the same time, however, they acknowledge that she is the early favorite for the next Democratic presidential nomination.
“There is a cautious presumption that the nomination is hers for the taking,” said Phil Singer, deputy communications manager for Clinton’s 2008 campaign.
“People are excited about the prospect of a Clinton candidacy, but also cognizant a campaign is a long way off.”
That caution is in place for a reason: There is a danger that Clinton could peak too early. She was the heavy favorite in the 2008 Democratic race before narrowly losing to Obama.
“Bubbles inflated early in the process can deflate,” Singer said.
Obama doubles down on NSA defense as poll numbers slipThe Hill 06.17.13 In the News
Polling has suggested that a majority of voters broadly accept the programs as a way to fight terrorism, though a new poll released Monday by CNN found significant damage to the president’s brand.
Half of those surveyed said they do not believe the president to be trustworthy, the first time a majority has held that opinion. Moreover, the president lost 10 points among independents and 17 points among those under 30, suggesting widespread unease about the programs.
Phil Singer, a veteran of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, said Obama’s task is complicated by other controversies, including the Internal Revenue Service’s admitted targeting of conservative political action groups and the Justice Department’s investigations into reporters.
Business Leaders Pushing Election Of Council Allies
Called Jobs for New York, the PAC represents an aggressive new involvement in New York’s heavily regulated city elections by a major independent expenditure group. The PAC also has the support of several unions whose fortunes are tied to construction, including those representing carpenters and laborers known as mason tenders.
The effort is focused exclusively on Council races, in part because members tend to have great sway over development in their districts, but also because of the uncertainty surrounding the topsy-turvy mayoral campaign.
The organizers have tapped Harry Giannoulis, Maggie Moran and Phil Singer, all veterans of city, state and federal campaigns, to oversee the organization’s activities.
Wealthy candidates find they can’t buy loveWashington Times 05.30.13 In the News
“Whether you have a billion dollars or 20, if the message you’re driving doesn’t resonate with the general electorate, you’re not going to win,” said Phil Singer, a former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee official.
For some who have already achieved success in business, a seat in Congress is just another trophy, said Mr. Singer.
“You can’t discount the role that vanity plays to a given candidate,” he said.
Meanwhile, the big money required to run for office deters some who don’t have that kind of money themselves from running for office.
“A lot of qualified people who aren’t named Bloomberg or Trump are going to say I don’t want to spend half my time groveling for campaign money,” Mr. Singer said.
Hillary Clinton Is Missing From TwitterBuzzFeed 05.28.13 In the News
Phil Singer, a strategist and former spokesperson for the Clinton campaign, said also that given the former secretary’s current popularity, “she won’t have any problems going from zero to 18 million followers when she decides to enter the Twitterverse.”
Singer dismissed the idea that aides like Reines and Abedin should have their own presence on the platform, particularly now, when Clinton is still transitioning away from her role at State. “If her staff develops a huge following capable of distributing information in support of a brand like [Clinton’s],” Singer said, “chances are it’s because they made a mistake.”
Gov. O’Malley agenda could undermine 2016 presidential hopesThe Hill 04.14.13 In the News
It’s clear, said Democratic strategist and former Hillary Clinton campaign adviser Phil Singer, that O’Malley is positioning himself for a potential White House run.
“If you look at some of the things he’s done over the past weeks and months, he’s definitely checking the box on a number of issues, so he might try to run to the left,” he said.
“In primaries, and he knows this, it’s usually most effective to court the fringe of the fringe.”
Is Hillary Clinton Too Conservative To Become President?BuzzFeed 03.21.13 Marathon News
“It’s not so much a function of Hillary feeling like she needs to play catch-up,” said Phil Singer, a consultant and the deputy communications director for Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid. “She’s been in a position that prevented her from speaking out in real time, and now that she’s unshackled by the boundaries of her office, she’ll step up to the mic.”
“I would bet my left arm that she’s going to be playing a significant role in the national conversation now,” Singer said.
Will Martin O’Malley Be the Howard Dean of 2016?National Journal 03.20.13 In the News
O’Malley’s headline-grabbing legislative moves have political implications should he run in 2016. As chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, he was frequently in the spotlight as he stumped for President Obama. O’Malley established a federal PAC before Election Day and it’s been active ever since—it even raised money off of his gay-marriage referendum victory.
“Once the campaign actually engages, in addition to raising as much money as humanly possible right now, a lot of prospective candidates try to get right on the various issues that might motivate constituencies in the nominating process,” said Phil Singer, a Democratic consultant and former spokesman for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Obama’s Liberal Goals Collide With 2014 Campaign MapNational Journal 03.12.13 In the News
“Organizing around an election is much different than organizing around a legislative vote,” said Democratic consultant Phil Singer, who worked for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee when his party took back the chamber in 2006. “If you’re going to get anything done on guns, for example, you’re going to need those red House districts.”
Less than two months after Organizing for Action launched during an inauguration in which Obama delivered a fiery speech about his second-term priorities, his failure to reach a budget deal with Congress to avoid so-called sequester spending cuts is showing limits of his power and forcing him to take a more conciliatory approach to the opposition party.
Where OFA may have the most success: burnishing the president’s image so that he can use his popularity to push his agenda, and tapping its vast voter database to identify supporters who will lobby members of Congress. For example, OFA’s detailed catalogue of information could allow it to send carefully crafted messages to gun-control supporters in Republican-leaning states with gun-friendly elected officials.
“If you engage those people, that’s going to send a message to office holders who might start to realize their state is not scarlet red and more purple than they thought,” Singer said. “For all the new technology, members of Congress are remarkably sensitive to the calls that come over the phone.”
Andrew Cuomo’s late-term abortion pushWashington Post 02.20.13 In the News
Those close to Cuomo suggest his agenda has trended increasingly to the left more because the issues have changed from the fiscal to the social.
“Cuomo has always advocated a very progressive agenda on social issues and a very moderate agenda on fiscal issues,” said Phil Singer, a top aide to Cuomo’s 2010 campaign.
Jocular Joe vs. hard-charging HilNY Daily News 01.27.13 In the News
And why not Joe? He’s been an indispensable, loyal Obama partner. He was critical to plotting the underappreciated economic stimulus and helping to fashion our exits from Iraq and Afghanistan. He saved the day in the “fiscal cliff” soap opera by cutting a deal with congressional Republicans. Or so we were told.
Even Phil Singer, a Clinton loyalist and former consigliere, concedes that Biden has made a good case for being taken seriously.
Hillary Clinton’s last trip to the Hill?Politico 01.23.13 In the News
Most operatives and experts on both sides of the aisle believe the drama and baggage carried through Bill Clinton’s presidency is long behind them. Bill Clinton emerged from his presidency as a powerful global player, and she has put to rest any thoughts that her success was only related to his. She is viewed as smart, disciplined and a hard worker.
“She will be a major player in impacting public policy and American life overall,” said Phil Singer, a top official in her 2008 presidential campaign. “Even if she tries to hide, the spotlight finds her. She will examine which platform affords her the best ability to influence the issues she really cares about. And I have to say, despite all the hype, I think there’s a very real chance she will not run.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves behind enormous 20-year legacy with exit from office following start of President Obama’s second termNY Daily News 01.22.13 In the News
Former campaign aide Phil Singer agreed: “Few people have been able to say they’ve had the ride she’s had.”
The big question now is whether her departure from the Obama administration is her farewell to public service — or if she’ll back in four years on the same stage for her own inauguration as Madame President.
“Barring any kind of physical setback, the world is her oyster,” Singer said. “She’ll be able to pursue whatever she decides she wants to pursue.”
No one doubts that Clinton would be formidable as a presidential candidate in 2016 — but Singer warns it’s no slam dunk.
“If she is weighing a run, you couldn’t be in a better position right now than she’s in,” Singer said.
“She’s enjoying the kinds of numbers most politicians dream of,” he said. But, he added, “2016 is a lifetime away.”
Analysis: Obama’s gun-control plan faces steep challenge in CongressReuters 01.16.13 In the News
The political calculus is such that Obama’s plan “is not just dead in the House, it is on life support in the Senate before it even arrives,” said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean, a former Capitol Hill aide.
But Democratic strategist Phil Singer, also a former Hill aide, said there was a chance that public pressure stemming from outrage over the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings could force Republican leaders to reconsider their opposition to at least some of the measures – or risk being painted as unreasonable and beholden to the gun lobby.
“It will be very difficult and it will require a tremendous amount of work, but I think that there is a decent chance that it could happen,” Singer said. “At this point, it is irresponsible to rule out getting it done. The process has only just begun. I think there is a path forward.”
Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie’s odd-couple friendshipPolitico 01.13.13 In the News
It’s not quite a “bromance,” but it comes close. And it’s a geographical and political oddity, given the ambitions both men are believed to harbor for the future — and the test that the relationship could face this year, as Christie campaigns for reelection.
“Both governors have a shared fidelity to pragmatism and have built brands premised on doing the right thing and not the political thing. So it’s easy to understand why they work well together,” said Phil Singer, an adviser to Cuomo’s campaign.
It’s a relationship that’s been on public display since Sandy ravaged their states in late October, and that was brought into sharper focus when Christie and Cuomo issued a joint statement denouncing Congress for slow-walking the Sandy aid package on New Year’s Day.
“When American citizens are in need, we come to their aid. That tradition was abandoned in the House last night,” they said in their statement the following day. “The people of our states can no longer afford to wait while politicians in Washington play games.”
Obama’s Lobby-Busting Second TermNational Journal 01.08.13 In the News
Emboldened by reelection and a fiscal-cliff deal, President Obama is picking fights with two of the most powerful special interests in Washington: the pro-gun and pro-Israel lobbies.
Both groups have enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress and wide deference from the White House for years. But Obama’s consideration of sweeping gun-control measures in the wake of the shooting deaths at a Connecticut elementary school, and his Defense secretary nomination of Chuck Hagel, whose support for Israel has been questioned, reflect the ambitions of a second-term president relishing—for as long as it lasts—an approval rating that exceeds 50 percent. If Obama perseveres on both fronts and avoids upcoming crises on spending cuts and the nation’s debt limit, his second term would be off to a rollicking start.
“There’s something liberating about not having to stand for reelection, and I think the president is basically saying that while his first term was governed by politics, his second term will not,” said Democratic strategist Phil Singer, who has advised Senate Democrats and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008. “He’s moving forward with an aggressive agenda that reflects his priorities. He’s smart to lay down his markers now.”
How Much Do Fact-Checkers Matter?Roll Call 12.12.12 In the News
Democratic strategist Phil Singer, who worked on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, said that when fact-checkers stick to the knowable subjects based on numbers and arithmetic, they can have an effect on a political campaign.
But Singer suggested that they lose their credibility when they move beyond that scope and attempt to referee claims based on philosophy or moral values.
“Fact-checkers are at their best when they are vetting a claim that is either true or false. When they address claims whose accuracy lies somewhere in the middle, they lose their significance and become punditry,” Singer said.
New Congress: Fewer moderates make deals harderAssociated Press 11.25.12 In the News
In the Senate, moderate Scott Brown, R-Mass., lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren, who will be one of the most liberal members. Another GOP moderate, Richard Lugar of Indiana, fell in the primary election. Two others, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Olympia Snowe of Maine, are retiring.
Moderate Democratic senators such as Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Jim Webb of Virginia are leaving, as is Democratic-leaning independent Joe Lieberman.
While about half the incoming 12 Senate freshmen of both parties are moderates, new arrivals include tea party Republican Ted Cruz of Texas, conservative Deb Fischer of Nebraska, and liberals such as Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono.
There’s a similar pattern in the House, where 10 of the 24 Democratic Blue Dogs lost, are retiring or, in the case of Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., are moving to the Senate. That will further slash a centrist group that just a few years ago had more than 50 members, though some new freshmen might join.
Among Republicans, moderates like Reps. Judy Biggert of Illinois and New Hampshire’s Charles Bass were defeated while others such as Reps. Jerry Lewis of California and Steven LaTourette of Ohio decided to retire.
“Congress seems to be going in the opposite direction of the country, just as the country is screaming for solutions to gridlock,” said Democratic strategist Phil Singer.
Democrats try to regroup in wake of the debateUSA Today 10.04.12 In the News
Phil Singer, who was spokesman for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, said Obama could use a stronger performance in the next faceoff, but that he didn’t believe top Democrats were truly worried that his Wednesday showing was indicative of what’s to come.
“Remember the rule of 2008, which was ‘no bedwetting.’ … There is no reason to panic over what happened. Romney had a good night, but the reality is campaigns are cycles, and you have good weeks and bad weeks,” he said. Obama is now “perfectly set up to rock and roll in the subsequent debates.”
Could Mitt benefit from Hillary playbook?Chicago Sun-Times 10.01.12 In the News
With Wednesday’s debate looming, I asked Phil Singer, an adviser to Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, how they prepared to face Obama during the primary — and his answer was instructive on how Romney may try to tackle Obama.
In 2008, the thought was: “The best way to beat Obama was on the substance as opposed to the political one-liners; if you make a substantive argument against what he is doing, it is more effective in trying to push him back on his heels,” Singer told me.
At the end of the day, “If substance is his strength, challenge him on his strength,” Singer said.
Obama vs. Obama at debatesPolitico In the News
Guarding against lofty expectations is important for any candidate, but especially for Obama — known for great speeches but flawed debate performances dating back to his shaky showing at the first debate of the 2008 primary cycle in July 2007 at the Citadel in Charleston, S.C.
“Early in 2008, Obama came off as impatient with the debate format because it made for a shallow discussion that favored style over substance,” said Phil Singer, a former Hillary Clinton aide who took part in dozens of debate prep sessions in which current New York City Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson played Obama.
“When he was leading, he viewed the process as an unnecessary exercise that could get him off track,” Singer added. “He’s in a similar place at this point in the race. Romney needs him to trip — not just a little stumble but something really big. The president is very well-equipped to avoid doing that, thanks to living in the fish bowl 24/7 for the last four years.”
Season of the Surrogate: For candidates’ backers, a chance to help — or harmWashington Post 09.11.12 In the News
The surrogate is a unique political creature, a channeler of someone else’s ambitions, someone else’s predilections and dreams; a force capable of reaching voters intellectually, emotionally or both. Ideally, the surrogate can be tamed — handed a sheaf of talking points to be eloquently and efficiently delivered.
But the surrogate can be a wild thing, too — an unpredictable and dangerous beast, a “necessary evil,” as Phil Singer, a senior adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, puts it. With so many outlets clamoring for interviews, choosing the right surrogates has become “one of the real arts of politics today,” says Singer, who now runs Marathon Strategies, a communications firm with offices in New York and Washington.
Obama Venue Change Means Different Backdrop, Little ElseRoll Call 09.06.12 In the News
Major party presidential nominees traditionally deliver their nomination acceptance speeches in indoor arenas. But Obama broke precedent in 2008, and to great effect. His campaign had intended to replicate the Denver event here in Charlotte, using it not just as a hoped-for stunning political visual to sway voters watching on television, but as a way to obtain information on those attending for get-out-the-vote activities.
But a Democratic strategist said the message of Obama’s speech is more important than the venue and predicted the president’s re-election effort wouldn’t suffer because of this last-minute change.
“Voters care about what words a candidate says, not where he says them. The speech will look and sound the same to people watching on television,” said Phil Singer, who advised now-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during her 2008 presidential bid.
2016 hopefuls find footing, test waters in CharlotteNBC News 09.05.12 In the News
“I think the trick is to not come off as too unseemly. A potential candidate wants to network as much as possible, but they don’t want to step into the current candidate’s spotlight, either,” said Phil Singer, the deputy communications director on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
For lesser-known candidates like O’Malley and Schweitzer, the convention is an opportunity to build relationships with key state activists and potential donors who might assist their fledgling candidacies in a few years.
Both O’Malley, who is more widely perceived to have further national ambition, and Schweitzer, are doing little to tamp down that speculation with their schedules this week. Speaking engagements with Iowa delegates (their state holds the first nominating contest each cycle) are on both agendas, and Schweitzer is also meeting with delegates from New Hampshire, the site of the nation’s first 2016 primary and the second overall nominating contest.
Addressing the Democratic convention, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley says, “Facts are facts: No President since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the Great Depression inherited a worse economy, bigger job losses, or deeper problems from his predecessor. But President Obama is moving America forward, not back.”
“I’m really not thinking about anything but helping the president get re-elected. And that’s what I’m focused on entirely,” O’Malley said at the Iowa breakfast this morning in reference to his recently-formed PAC, a step usually seen as a precursor to running for president.
But O’Malley and Schweitzer are mostly the exception this year than the rule. Many of the potential 2016 candidates are keeping a low profile, gladly taking a back seat to the fanfare on Obama’s behalf this week, although Newark Mayor Cory Booker has also been busy making the rounds, whether aspiring for a state-wide race in New Jersey or perhaps something bigger.
Arguably the most formidable potential candidate in 2016, whose foray into the race would threaten to overshadow any other Democrat, is nowhere to be found this week in Charlotte. Instead, that potential candidate – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – is literally halfway around the world on official business in Southeast Asia.
“If she wanted to do it, I think she’d have a very strong argument to make for why she should be the nominee and go onto the White House,” said Singer. “She’s been pretty unequivocal in saying she doesn’t want to run, so you have to take her at her word at this point.”
To Succeed, Obama Must Dance a Two-StepNational Journal 09.04.12 In the News
For instance, Clinton could highlight how Obama’s policies saved the American auto industry and helped underwater homeowners pay their mortgages, while a President Romney’s belief that government shouldn’t intervene in markets would have left people jobless and out of their homes, said Phil Singer, a former spokesman for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The two-step can be particularly effective with independent voters, who are more easily turned off by broadside partisan attacks.
Clinton, still a power player, to back ObamaAgence France-Presse 09.03.12 In the News
Phil Singer, a senior strategist on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, said the former president brings great value.
“His performance as president gives him instant credibility on the economy,” Singer said.
“Over the 12 years since Clinton has left office, he has carved out an important place for himself in American life and is now universally acclaimed even by those who might once have disliked him.”
Has the Time Come for The One-Day Convention?National Journal In the News
Conventions serve two purposes: to beam the candidates’ messages into millions of homes during prime time and to take care of the formal party business that most Americans pay no attention to. (In fact, much of the procedural work—writing the platform, setting primary rules, and the like—is mostly done before the conventions even begin.) So for the purposes of a one-day convention, it’s really the TV time that’s crucial.
This year, most networks allotted each convention an hour per night over three evenings. Those same three hours could be used on, say, a Sunday night to present an American Idol-style extravaganza that packs what’s now dragged out over three nights into one 8-11 p.m. block of powerhouse political programming.
To hold viewers’ interest for that long, the lineup would have to be more engaging than the speeches that currently fill the one-hour slots. The extended format offers campaign managers the chance to do an extended biopic or the kind of 30-minute infomercial that Barack Obama’s campaign aired on seven networks four years ago. “Somebody’s gotta find the fine line between propaganda and interesting,” said Democratic strategist Phil Singer, a top aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Singer suggested segments featuring party-switchers and compelling personal stories that highlight a candidate’s personality or record. Engaging the public with more unscripted events such as a live town hall would carry considerable political risk but offer a requisite reward, he said.
Obama’s team seeks to counter GOP messageAssociated Press 08.24.12 In the News
In years past, the party’s nominee would typically take time off during their opponent’s nominating convention but given the competitive race, both campaigns are expected to court voters throughout the conventions. Romney’s campaign said they expected the former Massachusetts governor to hold events during the Democratic party’s convention.
Phil Singer, who helped coordinate Democrats’ message during the 2004 Republican convention, said it’s always difficult to “crash the other side’s party” because the convention carries with it a captive media audience, primetime programming and tens of millions of dollars behind the high-profile speeches.
But Singer said “in a media environment that’s on steroids as this one is, any time you’re not feeding the shark, the shark is feeding on you.”
Obama and Romney enter the final 100 daysWashington Post 07.29.12 In the News
What do the next 99 days hold, then? Almost certainly what the last 99 days — and the 99 days before that — have. Obama’s fate will be tied closely to the public perception of the economy, even as his campaign tries to disqualify Romney. Romney will continue to present himself as the alternative to the current occupant of the White House, doing just enough to preserve his credibility and viability in that role.
“The big question is how the positioning will evolve for each campaign,” said Democratic strategist Phil Singer. “Will Obama add a more positive streak? Will Romney flesh out his economic argument beyond simply calling the president’s record bad?”
100 Days From Election Day: Not What it Used to BeRoll Call 07.27.12 In the News
On Sunday, the Nov. 6 elections will be just 100 days away.
But that milestone has become something of a misnomer in an era when two states conduct elections strictly through the mail, voters increasingly vote absentee and many states allow early in-person voting that continues to grow in popularity.
As a country, we’ll collectively be glued to our television screens (or mobile devices) on the evening of Election Day to find out who won the White House and the battle for Congress. But to a significant degree, the outcome could be decided long before then, particularly in a few of the states that really matter.
Consider: Early voting in Ohio — perhaps the ultimate arbiter of the presidential race — begins 35 days before Election Day and runs through Nov. 2. That means Buckeye State voters can head to the polls on the first Tuesday in October (Oct. 2.). In Iowa, early voting begins even earlier — on Sept. 28. In Arizona, which could see a competitive Senate contest with implications for which party holds the majority in January, early voting begins Oct. 11.
“Historically, campaigns had around 14 hours to get voters to the polls on Election Day. Early and absentee voting expands that window significantly and fundamentally changes the rhythm of a campaign cycle,” said Phil Singer, a Democratic strategist and veteran of Senate and presidential campaigns. “Ads that get cut too early in a campaign don’t necessarily have much impact. But with early and absentee voting, an ad cut five months ahead of Election Day can have a real time impact that it wouldn’t otherwise have if voting were restricted to Election Day.”
Hillary Clinton: President Obama’s foreign policy ‘shield’Politico In the News
“The things that drive the campaign agenda are going to overlap with the things that drive the White House agenda, so it’s hardly a surprise that she would be traveling to the hot spots or engaging in the hot issues of the day,” said Phil Singer, a spokesman and senior adviser for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. “It’s obviously magnified when you’re dealing with a foreign affairs dynamic, and it’s doubly magnified when the person doing it is named Clinton.”
The benefit for Obama’s reelection is obvious, even if indirect, Singer said: “One of the amazing things about Hillary Clinton and all the Clintons is that they have a profound influence on electoral politics even when they are trying not to have a profound influence on electoral politics.”
Everyone’s a Critic: Obama and Romney Campaigns Ignoring Outside AdviceThe Daily 07.03.12 In the News
Public advice for presidential campaigns is hardly a new phenomenon.
“There’s no shortage of arm-chair quarterbacks when it comes to presidential politics,” said Democratic strategist Phil Singer, who worked for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. “Everybody thinks that they know better than the people actually running the campaign, and with very few exceptions, that’s not the case.
But what’s changed is a hyper-charged political-media landscape that, in the era of Twitter and cable news, elevates the friendly fire to a roaring blaze. Look no further than media mogul Rupert Murdoch (who is CEO of The Daily’s parent company) and former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, Romney allies, though hardly campaign pros, who nevertheless grabbed the megaphone this week by fretting on Twitter that the candidate needs some new blood on his campaign.
“Social media has let everybody become a political consultant,” Singer added. “Whereas in the past there was just an undercurrent about what [campaigns] should or shouldn’t be doing, it’s now become a cacophony of advice.”
Obama goes big with focus on smallPolitico 06.25.12 In the News
The emphasis on regional and local issues isn’t limited to the Obama team: Politicians from city council to president enjoy highlighting their accomplishments. Mitt Romney’s version of the same strategy — minus the power of the federal bureaucracy to support his efforts — includes his latest trip to six swing states on a bus adorned with the message “Every Town Counts.” The former Massachusetts governor gave speeches at small businesses and sit-down interviews with local media. A Romney campaign television ad launched Friday paints in broad strokes what his first 100 days would mean for voters in Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.
“This isn’t a cure-all for the big national issues, which obviously play a big role in any given campaign,” said Phil Singer, a spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. “But these niche issues are important for establishing local credibility and making it clear the administration has an idea of what’s going on with people’s lives and facilitating a conversation with voters.”
Breaking ACA into bite-size sound bitesPolitico 06.20.12 In the News
The Obama campaign says it’s only natural for Obama to focus on the parts that are already in effect — like the closing of the Medicare prescription drug donut hole and the provision that lets young adults stay on their parents’ plans up to age 26 — because they represent how the law will affect people.
A campaign official cited other success stories that Obama can point to on the stump, like the ban on lifetime benefit limits and the rebate checks people will get this summer if their insurers spent too much of their premiums on overhead and profits.
And Democrats say it’s a smart strategy. “Health care, when discussed as an overall concept, tends to not be very popular,” said Democratic strategist Phil Singer, who handled press for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. “When you break it down to the particular provisions, the individual elements tend to be more popular than the overall package.”
“It’s hardly surprising, particularly in a reelection campaign, that the president would emphasize those things that resonate favorably with the public,” Singer added.
Obama’s Immigration Move Already Paying DividendsSlate 06.18.12 In the News
The dexterity with which Obama and his team have been able to repeatedly put Republican nominee Mitt Romney in a box, forcing him to awkwardly cater to his party’s rigid, out of the mainstream views on gay rights and immigration rules, is helping to ease fears on the part of some Democrats that the economy would drag their man down in November.
“It was a deft move that enabled him to change the conversation,” says Phil Singer, a Democratic consultant and top adviser to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008. “Obviously, the economic narrative is not friendly terrain.”
‘Moneyball’ Godfather Bill James Tackles Politics In Super PAC AgeHuffington Post 06.15.12 In the News
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has wrung political benefits out of seemingly minor issues throughout his career. Phil Singer, a former Schumer aide, recalled how Schumer campaigned on reducing the cost of breakfast cereal in his 1996 House race, going so far as to demand a Justice Department anti-trust investigation. Schumer still lists his breakfast cereal crusade among his career accomplishments.
“In any given campaign situation, the goal is to reach the people who are most likely to vote, but don’t follow the race on a minute-to-minute basis,” said Singer. “And to connect with that group, the campaign needs to identify issues in their daily lives that will resonate with them even if it may not be part of the national zeitgeist. This is true if you are spending more than your opponent or being outspent by your opponent.”
Democrats Want Change in Obama’s MessagePolitico 06.12.12 In the News
“No Democratic campaign would be complete without some handwringing over its message from the party’s luminaries,” said Phil Singer, who worked as Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign spokesman. “It’s just happening a little earlier than usual now.”
Is This Obama’s PartyBuzzFeed 05.22.12 In the News
Said Phil Singer, a veteran of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign: “If controlling surrogates were that easy, everyone would do it.”
Wright Is Mr. WrongThe Daily 05.18.12 In the News
“’This will end up hurting Mitt Romney more than it will hurt the president,’ Democratic strategist Phil Singer said. ‘This move has “backfire” written all over it. Keep in mind that in 2008, Obama was still introducing himself to the public. But now that he’s been in office for years, these kinds of attacks won’t resonate because people have gotten to know him.’”
Romney’s Clinton StrategyPolitico 05.17.12 In the News
“Romney’s hope that Democrats and independents who supported Clinton will gravitate to his candidacy ignores the fact that Clinton is appearing at fundraisers for Obama and making a star turn in his TV advertisements, said Phil Singer, a former Hillary Clinton spokesman who served as her attack dog against Obama during the 2008 Democratic primaries. ‘He’s going to have to come up with something better to make a case for his candidacy than trying to drive a wedge between two Democratic luminaries,’ he said. ‘It’s a particularly ineffective tactic when the Bill Clinton-Barack Obama fundraising roadshow is taking place in real time.’”
Will Young Mitt Hurt Candidate Mitt?Politico 05.11.12 In the News
“‘Incidents that dovetail with something in the national consciousness can resonate with the public in a way that a policy flip-flop doesn’t,’ said Democratic strategist Phil Singer, of Marathon Strategies, who was a Hillary Clinton spokesman in 2008. ‘This particular episode is something that most people can relate to in a negative way and it could have significant implications for Mitt Romney as he works to introduce himself as the Republican nominee.’”
Hillary Clinton For Vice President: The Rumor That Just Won’t DieWashington Post 04.19.12 In the News
“‘Clinton is catnip for cable,’ said Phil Singer, who served as a senior aide on the former senator’s 2008 presidential campaign. ‘She’s a political icon with a job that keeps her above the fray and has numbers that most pols would kill for, so it’s not a surprise that people are talking.’”
Fur Flies As Obama and Romney Press Political Dog FightDaily Beast 04.18.12 In the News
“‘He’s literally dogged by this issue,’ said veteran Democratic consultant Phil Singer, discussing a new angle in what’s become a literal dog fight between the presidential candidates: that Mitt Romney shied away from taking a stand on two fairly recent referenda in Massachusetts to ban dog racing.
Singer, who worked as a top communications staffer for John Kerry in 2004 and Hillary Clinton in 2008, said voters concerned with animal welfare seemed poised to emerge as a ‘new voting bloc’ as the candidates have keyed in on dogs as a way of questioning the other’s character. He said that Romney’s silence on the two hotly contested votes to ban dog racing in the state could play into that dynamic, calling the dog fight ‘the kind of story that breaks through with people who don’t always follow minute-to-minute developments but are casually interested and vote.’”
The Year Of The ‘Surrogate’Politico 04.17.12 In the News
“Other strategists counseled that campaigns should be able to cut loose professional pundits and less-polished figures when they throw bombs.
‘Ultimately, it’s not about owning a surrogate as much as it is being forced by the 24-hour news cycle [to weigh in on] the opinion the surrogate expressed,’ said Phil Singer, who ran press for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. ‘Just because somebody’s on TV doesn’t make them your campaign surrogate, and campaigns should always feel comfortable saying as much.’”
Hillary Boomlet Hits New Gear As ‘Texts From Hillary’ ExplodesTalking Points Memo 04.09.12 In the News
“It’s no accident that the notion of Clinton as the peak of steady competence has proven so resonant. Phil Singer, a spokesman for her 2008 presidential campaign, told TPM Clinton’s recent success follows a consistent trend in which she is best regarded when working on policy instead of politics. Before her 2008 run, for example, Clinton was an extremely popular senator both in New York and among her colleagues.
‘When people see her doing her job and not getting involved with the back-and-forth, they’re happy,’ Singer said, acknowledging that it was ‘ironic’ given her highly political roles as First Lady, a tough Senate candidate in 2000 and an even tougher presidential candidate in 2008.”
Direct Message To Politicos: Think Before Clicking ‘Tweet’USA Today 03.29.12 In the News
“Phil Singer, a Democratic strategist and former spokesman for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid, called digital media ‘”gotcha politics” on steroids.’
‘A platform that is supposed to make our politicians more transparent has the potential to make them more opaque,’ he says. Yet digital media also ‘can be a cost-effective way for candidates to spread their message efficiently and cheaply as long as they develop a voice for it and avoid “E-foot in mouth” syndrome.’”
Biden In 2016? Not So CrazyPolitico 03.22.12 In the News
“‘The V.P. should impose a gag order on any 2016 speculation,’ said Phil Singer, a former top aide to Clinton in 2008. ‘His 2016 viability hinges directly on his ability to focus on being a good V.P. and running mate. Angling for 2016 will provoke intense media scrutiny and will likely undo the work he has done.’”
Mitt Romney’s Drudge Report Connection Pays OffHuffington Post 03.02.12 In the News
“Ultimately Drudge’s impact is felt in national political circles,” said Democratic strategist Phil Singer, who, as a communications aide to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, was tasked with the delicate assignment of influencing Drudge’s coverage. “I don’t think it filters down to the ground level like it did in 2000 or 2004. There are just too many competing mediums.”
Listen Up Voters, Congress Is Messaging YouReuters 02.22.12 In the News
“With gridlock expected this year on Capitol Hill – as last year – and a November election looming, the frequency of message voting is expected to rise, congressional aides and Hill experts say. The votes are often closely timed to public opinion polls showing voter sentiments on an issue.
‘What you do is manipulate the legislative process with an eye toward generating content for commercials during the heat of a campaign,’ said Phil Singer, a Democratic strategist.”
Obama Relaxes As GOP Hopefuls Slog Through IowaLos Angeles Times 12.28.11 In the News
“Of course, it’s unclear what the public makes of the presidential family vacation. But some political strategists don’t expect his rating to suffer.
Phil Singer, who was a spokesman for Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid, said: ‘Three years into his presidency, if these vacations haven’t tanked his numbers yet, they’re not going to.’”
Obama Runs Risk Of Overexposure With His Most Recent Media BlitzThe Hill 12.16.11 In the News
“The TV appearances might work after all. Democratic strategist Phil Singer said getting the president on the airwaves frequently is ‘smart strategy.’
‘It makes total sense,’ Singer said. ‘The president’s greatest asset, besides his wife, is himself. He is more popular than his agenda, so it makes perfect sense to let the country fall in love with the guy they saw in 2008 and 2009.’
SourceWatch: Phil SingerSourceWatch 12.02.11 Marathon News
“Phil Singer has been described as one of ‘Capitol Hill’s most experienced press officers,’ having worked for Democratic members of Congress and election campaigns.”
Wal-Mart’s Latest Acquisition: Phil SingerNew York Observer 04.20.11 Marathon News
“Here’s more about Wal-Mart’s newest addition, Phil Singer.
Singer…runs ‘a corporate consulting firm, which has worked with prominent Democrats, including Sen. Chuck Schumer.’
Singer also worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and, most recently, on Andrew Cuomo’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
Singer, who is 35, intense, and a marathon runner…politely referred questions to Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo.
Restivo said, Singer started ‘several months ago’ and ‘is well-respected among the New York City media and he’s helping us on the communication front.’”
Obama Eyes Chicago For Campaign HQPolitico 12.28.10 In the News
“Phil Singer, campaign spokesman for former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, agreed that what staffers do in their time off can be an important factor. In Chicago, campaign staffers are less likely to mingle with Washington political reporters, cutting down on leaks, he said.
‘It makes it a lot harder for loose lips to sink ships,’ said Singer. Looking back on 2008, the fact that Clinton’s campaign was based in Arlington, Virginia, and Obama’s in Chicago was a major advantage for the president, he said.”
Behind the Curtain, Cuomo Runs His P.R. MachineNew York Times 04.12.10 Marathon News
“As he prepares his campaign for governor, Mr. Cuomo is adding firepower to his communications staff, bringing on Phil Singer, a veteran of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign who is known as a devoted and aggressive advocate for the candidates who employ him.”
Cuomo 2010 Hires Singer, Woos BrennanNew York Daily News 04.03.10 Marathon News
“Cuomo’s finance director, Jennifer Bayer Michaels, confirmed the AG’s campaign committee has retained Phil Singer ‘as a consultant to help with communications.’
Singer is a veteran of Sen. Chuck Schumer’s press shop/boot camp. He worked for the senior senator in a variety of capacities, including as DSCC communications director during the 2006 cycle when Schumer spearheaded the Democrats’ successful effort to take back the majority.
Singer was the national spokesman on the Kerry-Edwards campaign and also worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid, for which he ran the war room and was Howard Wolfson’s deputy.
After the campaign he started his own consulting company, Marathon Strategies.”
The Inner Circle Behind A Run For GovernorNew York Times 03.27.10 Marathon News
“Dana Milbank, a columnist for The Washington Post, once described Mr. Singer lecturing David Broder and other veteran reporters on how to do their jobs, reflecting frustration among Clinton advisers over favorable coverage of Barack Obama. Mr. Singer’s intensity is expected to fit well with the elbows-out Cuomo political team.”
Cuomo Hires Singer As ConsultantNew York Post 02.04.10 Marathon News
“As he gears up to run for governor, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has hired longtime Sen. Chuck Schumer adviser and former Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential spokesman Phil Singer as a communications consultant.
The hire was confirmed by Team Cuomo – his neutrally-named Cuomo 2010 committee in a brief statement.
‘The Andrew Cuomo 2010 campaign will be retaining Phil Singer as a consultant to help with communications,’ the statement sent by finance director Jennifer Bayer Michaels said.”
Cuomo Hires Former Hillary Spokesman Phil SingerNew York Observer 02.03.10 Marathon News
“Singer worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, where he distinguished himself throughout primary season by the fierceness of his advocacy on her behalf. … Not that anyone really expected that Cuomo would want to stay where he is, but the move to bring top-tier talent like Singer on board means that he’s not running for re-election as attorney general.”
Dem’s 2010 Strategy To WinReal Clear Politics 01.10.10 In the News
“‘To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the 2010 death of the Democratic Party are greatly exaggerated,’ says Phil Singer, a Democratic political consultant and former spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the 2006 midterm coup.”
Clinton Assembles A Seasoned TeamWashington Post 01.21.07 Marathon News
“Phil Singer: Singer, the deputy communications director, is extremely close to Schumer, for whom he worked at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the 2006 election. He also has experience in past presidential politics as a member of Kerry’s rapid-response operation.”
Phil Singer, Karen Hicks Aboard Team HillaryNational Journal 12.04.06 Marathon News
“Phil Singer, currently the DSCC comm. dir. He was the nat’l spokesman for John Kerry’s presidential campaign and is a former comm. dir for Sen. Chuck Schumer and ex-Sen. Bob Torricelli. He’s well-respected by the New York City, New York state and national press corps. Singer would serve as a senior campaign spokesman, reporting to Howard Wolfson.”
Hillary Hires Phil Singer As Spokesman-in-WaitingPotomac Flacks 12.03.06 Marathon News
“Phil Singer, a veteran of Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign who most recently was spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, will join the Clinton communications team, her senior adviser Howard Wolfson said.
Wolfson cautioned that Clinton may still decide against a run but that Singer would play a senior role if she becomes a candidate, as expected. ‘I called him the day after the election,’ Wolfson acknowledged.”