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Friday 6 December 2019

Hillary allies seek silver linings in poll meltdown

US Diary

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton

Orla Healy

Hillary Clinton was the biggest loser in last Tuesday's mid-term election wipe-out of the Democratic party. So says Mark Halperin, senior political analyst for Time magazine who, along with John Heilemann, authored the definitive insider account of the last two US presidential campaigns, Game Change (2008) and Double Down: Game Change (2012).

While Halperin stops short of saying Hillary will not run in 2016, he predicts the fallout from Tuesday's electoral debacle for the Dems has added new levels of complexity to Hillary's operation.

"The party is now in disarray," Halperin told Bloomberg News on Thursday. "Hillary Clinton and her team are so cautious - they over-think, over-analyse everything. This gives them a lot of new complexity to deal with. I just think whatever plan they had about how to proceed after the mid-term, a potential announcement, considering whether to even run, it is all thrown up in the air, because no one expected this result they got."

That result - which includes eight out of nine key Senate races (including Colorado and Iowa,) for the GOP who also regained control of Congress and expanded their reach in the House of Representatives - isn't preventing Hillary's allies from spinning silver linings. The loud statement made against Obama, they say, will allow Hillary to create the distance she needs from the current administration, while a Republican Senate will solve the problem of how she can position herself to run against Washington.

Nor is the defeat giving pause to those leading Hillary's fund-raising strategy. On Wednesday morning Jeffrey Katzenberg, one of Hollywood's most powerful producers, launched a telephone spree to procure dollar pledges for Priorities USA Action, the super PAC (political action committee) that will manage advertising for a Clinton run.

Speaking to the Washington Post, Katzenberg confirmed he and political adviser Andy Spahn are preparing to travel around the country to secure commitments to donate "if and when" Mrs. Clinton decides to flip the switch on her campaign. Nobody should hold their breath.

Hathaway out to stop the haters

Anne Hathaway may not get the career boost she needs from Christopher Nolan's new sci-fi thriller Interstellar but the actress, who has been out of play since she picked up a 2013 Oscar for Les Mis, has managed to parlay the promotional push for the film into a message that she's no longer willing to serve as open game for the internet bullies who have mercilessly mocked everything from her speaking style (referring, for instance, to acting as "the craft,") to her smile ("too big".)

As Hathaway told talk show host Jimmy Fallon, the haters have done such a good job of humiliating her that she is now completely impervious to embarrassment. Or as she put it: "The thing about me and embarrassment, you have to remember, is that it all happens on a scale. So on a scale of one to 10, one is just like being a person walking down the street, and 10 is, for me, co-hosting the Oscars with James Franco. Which, by the way, is only tied with being honoured to accept an Oscar whilst wearing a dress that I knew made it look like my nipples were erect." Done. And hopefully dusted.

J-Lo's ex stunned by her biography

Jennifer Lopez wasn't kidding when she claimed her ex-husband, Marc Anthony, was "stunned" after reading an early draft of her just published autobiography True Love.

In the surprisingly confessional book, Lopez writes about falling into a relationship with Anthony just six days after she'd been dumped almost at the altar by Ben Affleck - a break-up she dramatically describes as "my first real heartbreak . . . it felt like my heart had been torn out of my chest." Anthony, it seems, just happened to be in the right place at the right time to "rescue" Lopez from the nightmare realisation that the fairy-tale future she had imagined with Affleck was never going to be.

"Thinking back, maybe deep down I knew that this was a Band-Aid on the cut, that my wound hadn't been stitched or healed," Lopez writes. "But I pushed all that to the back of my mind. Because life takes unpredictable twists and turns, right? And you've just got to go with what you feel is best in the moment."

Remarkably, the first time Lopez let Anthony in on her rebound theory was when she sent him the manuscript of her book earlier this year. "He read it and was like, 'Whoa, I didn't know all of this was going on'," Lopez revealed while promoting the book last week. Even more remarkably, she continued, straight-faced: "And I was like, 'I'm happy that you learned something, that you grew.'"

The couple, who are parents to six-year-old twins Max and Emme, split in 2011 but their divorce was finalised only recently. Anthony, who had no comment on the revelations in the book, appears to have already moved on.

According to new reports, the 46-year-old singer just popped the question to his model girlfriend Shannon de Lima, whom he plans to wed in the Dominican Republic later this month.

Zuckerberg gripe at film portrayal

Mark Zuckerberg might want to lighten up. A little, at least. The 30-year-old boy wonder behind Facebook took time out of his first public Town Hall Q &A on Thursday to complain about how badly his character was portrayed in the award-winning movie The Social Network.

His main gripe: "They just kind of made up a bunch of stuff that I found really hurtful," he told a captivated audience, admitting he was particularly put out by the way "they made up this whole plot line about how I somehow decided to create Facebook to attract girls. The real story is a lot of hard work. If they were really making a movie [about his starting Facebook] . . .it would be of me sitting there coding for two hours straight."

He didn't appear to get the joke when everyone laughed at that visual. Zuckerberg also tried connecting with the crowd by confessing he had never heard of an appletini before he saw the movie and he appeared to take great pride in announcing the cocktail is now a favourite in the office.

But any suggestion that the brainy billionaire (who, among other things, wants to develop drones that will beam the internet down on all of us) might be able to cut loose was swiftly shot down when a woman playfully asked why he wears the same grey T-shirt every day.

"I really want to clear my life to make as few decisions as possible," in order to focus on the work, he explained earnestly. "I'm not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on anything that is silly or frivolous."

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg managed to generate a few laughs when she leaned in on that topic to share: "one of the major things I contributed was I went around telling people Mark actually has more than one of that T-shirt, which people found to be very reassuring."

Sunday Independent

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