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Saturday 21 April 2018

Hillary decides to pause as Jeb Bush revving up

Champions of the plan say it will give Hillary more time to portray herself as a person — as opposed to, you know, a politician — but, in signs of fractures in the team, others worry that a leisurely roll-out could stoke criticism that Camp Clinton assumes her nomination will be a coronation
Champions of the plan say it will give Hillary more time to portray herself as a person — as opposed to, you know, a politician — but, in signs of fractures in the team, others worry that a leisurely roll-out could stoke criticism that Camp Clinton assumes her nomination will be a coronation
Sophie Hunter and Benedict Cumberbatch

US DIARY ORLA HEALY

Hillary wants breathing room. Lots of it. In a sudden shift, Mrs Clinton apparently now wants to delay the formal launch of her campaign by three months - meaning her original May 2015 kick-off would bounce to just after the July 4 holiday.

The reason, according to Clinton aides who floated the notion on Politico late last week, is that Hillary wants more time "to develop her message, policy and organization", without the pesky distraction of leading a public campaign.

"She doesn't feel under any pressure, and they see no primary challenge on the horizon. If you have the luxury of time, you take it," a top Democrat familiar with Clinton's thinking told the Washington DC website. Another adviser was more plain-spoken, pointing out Hillary isn't exactly in a rush. "She doesn't want to feel pressured by the press to do something before she's ready," the adviser said. "She's better off as a non-candidate. Why not wait?"

Champions of the plan say it will give Hillary more time to portray herself as a person - as opposed to, you know, a politician - but, in signs of fractures in the team, others worry that a leisurely roll-out could stoke criticism that Camp Clinton assumes her nomination will be a coronation.

Meanwhile, two-time hopeful Mitt Romney was forced out of the 2016 race on Friday, much to the relief of the centre-right, establishment wing of the Republican Party, who are pushing for Jeb Bush.

But Romney didn't leave the stage without a prize. Instead, the man who was mercilessly mocked in 2012 for his wooden, over-scripted response to everything from his wealth to his religion and his autocratic dismissal of the other 47pc wisely used his 15 minutes as a 2016 wannabe to rehab his image.

As recently as last Wednesday Romney was firing on all cylinders. Speaking in Mississippi, he only paused from taking pops at Hillary (who, he chided, "cluelessly pressed a reset button for Russia, which smiled and then invaded Ukraine,") to make fun of his uptight reputation.

Jokingly shooting down suggestions that he wanted another run at the Oval Office for the cachet and the lucrative speaking fees he would subsequently receive, Romney deadpanned: "As you've no doubt heard, I'm already rich." Recalling pointers he received on the 2012 campaign trail, Romney said that one man told him to "stop shaving and grow stubble to become more sexy," cracking: "As if I needed that!" He also recalled how, after a therapeutic massage, the masseuse noted: "Mr Romney has strong legs. He's a dancer, is he not?"

The music stopped for Romney 3.0 late Thursday, when Jeb Bush announced the jedi move of hiring David Kochel to oversee his exploratory efforts and, it is assumed, ultimately run his campaign. Kochel, one of the most skilled Republican operatives in the business, was the senior strategist on Romney's 2008 and 2012 team. His defection is being viewed as Bush's first primary victory. No wonder Hillary wants more time.

Sophie's smart choice

Sophie Hunter is well spoken for. Following in the footsteps of Amal Clooney, who gave American Vogue the exclusive scoop on her Oscar de la Renta wedding dress in return for a (reportedly generous) helping hand in the selection of her epic wedding-weekend wardrobe, the future Mrs Benedict Cumberbatch has chosen Anna Wintour to mentor her through the minefield of Oscar's red carpet and her upcoming nuptials.

The 36-year-old theatre director and actress, who isn't exactly a slump in the style stakes, revealed her decision last Wednesday, attending the Valentino couture show in Paris with the powerful editor-in-chief.

Much to the jaw-clenching action of overlooked British fashion magazine editors attending the show, Sophie was obviously delighted with her decision. "She can take all of the credit. That's the reason I'm here," bubbled Hunter.

No word on whether the couple, who are expected to marry before the birth of their first child this summer, have included Cumberbaby's first photos as part of the deal.

 

Gobbledy Goop

You might want to skip Gwyneth Paltrow's favourite new cleanse. In her latest newsletter, the GOOP Goddess is advocating a $50 steam-treatment, called the Mugwort V-Steam, to target those precious lady parts.

Paltrow, who road-tested the treatment in Santa Monica's ritzy Tikkun Spa, reports: "You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al. It is an energetic release - not just a steam douche that balances female hormone levels. If you're in LA, you have to do it."

Or not. US doctors, perhaps alarmed by the number of $150 do-it-at-home kits being advertised in the wake of Paltrow's headline-grabbing recommendation, say the treatment is full of hot air. Or as a biting headline in People magazine warns: "Gwyneth Paltrow's No Vagina Expert, Doctors Say."

Kanye busted as big softie

For all his guff, Kanye West has been busted as a big softie thanks to the surprisingly touching video he released for Only One, last week.

Described as "shockingly simple" by Rolling Stone magazine, the footage - shot by director Spike (Being John Malkovich, Her) Jonze - the footage features West walking through the countryside hand-in-hand with his 19-month-old daughter North, who is reportedly by her dad's side in the studio as he puts the final touches to his next album.

North's mother, Kim Kardashian, who is doing the rounds to promote her new Selfie coffee table book, acknowledges that the child has her father wrapped around her little finger. The usually short-tempered rapper apparently just rolled his eyes when North recently grabbed his iPhone "put it in the toilet and flushed it!" Now if the kid could do the same with her mom's phone she might just fix the internet.

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