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Posts Tagged ‘Kurt Bardella’

The FishbowlDC Interview With Fake Jim VandeHei

It’s not easy getting Fake Jim VandeHei to meet deadlines. But we think it was worth the wait to get the fictitious Twitter character of Politico‘s Executive Editor Jim VandeHei to do our FishbowlDC Interview. He (or she) goes by “Henry Jackson” over email, but that’s all we know. Many suspect he’s a former Politico employee but no one we’ve spoken with knows for certain. His Twitter bio reads: “Fuck You, Drudge me.” Some Politico reporters like him, some think he’s not worth reading and idiotic. Much like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), FJ has press hound qualities and has been featured by Vanity Fair, NYT and ABC. We asked the real VandeHei what he thinks of his fake counterpart. He had no comment. Enjoy!

If you were a carbonated beverage, which would you be? Club soda, because I’m only really tolerable with alcohol.

How often do you Google yourself? We have an intern for that.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? Once, during a particularly intense editorial dispute, I told Tim Grieve he was “thoughtful and rigorous.” I apologized immediately, but I still feel bad about it.

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? I don’t know any of those.

Do you have a favorite word? Drudgegasm

What word or phrase do you overuse? “You’re a worthless piece of sh*t with no future in this business.”

Who would you rather have dinner with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews or FNC’s Chris Wallace? No.

You are ordered to go on a road trip to an undisclosed location. You can go with White House Spokesman Jay Carney or Bo, the President’s Portuguese Water Dog. No ones feelings will be hurt. Who do you take? That’s easy. The chance to have a prolonged, private conversation with one of the most influential members of Obama’s inner circle is a once in a lifetime opportunity? So Bo for sure.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? It doesn’t really have a name per se, but it’s the sound of an intern crying after I fired her. I recorded it with a lapel microphone. Sometimes I just call myself to hear it ring. Flippin’ hilarious.

It’s 3 a.m. and you get up to use the bathroom or get a drink of water. Do you check your BlackBerry? No.

Find out Fake Jim’s favorite cuss word after the jump…

Read more

Good Morning FishbowlDC Readers



“You know who would be hysterical on this Congressman Weiner business? Congressman Weiner.” — Slate‘s John Dickerson in a Wednesday tweet.

“Amazing that Anthony Weiner has dislodged Sarah Palin from the cable universe. That’s one powerful Weiner.” — WSJ White House Reporter Jonathan Weisman in a Wednesday tweet.

“Couldn’t Weiner put on some gray shorts, get to the same, uh, level, and then take a photo and compare?” — Politico‘s Jennifer Epstein in a Wednesday tweet.

“75% of the things said to me today would be characterized as sexual harassment had ‘Weinergate’ not made it ‘acceptable.’ — Politico‘s Meredith Shiner in a Wednesday tweet.

“Ok, so Rep. Weiner can’t answer with certitude…what about magnitude?” — D.C. Attorney Donald Edmond in a Wednesday tweet.

“Are these your underpants?” — CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview with Weiner.

Anthony Weiner made about six penis jokes while talking to reporters, standing outside the House floor. He has NO RESPECT for the office.” – TWT Opinion Writer Emily Miller in a Wednesday tweet.

“And if this latest photo controversy ends with the CIA showing pictures of Congressman Weiner‘s crotch to members of the Senate’s military and intelligence committees, we quit.” — Wednesday night edition of HuffPost Hill.

“For once, ‘boxers or briefs?’ would be relevant.” — Slate‘s Christopher Beam in a Wednesday tweet.

“Since Rep. Weiner ‘can’t say with certitude’ if that’s his junk or not, does that mean some poor sap might be Weiner’s ‘wiener doppelgänger’” — Derek Hunter, conservative writer and radio host who helped found The Daily Caller, in a Wednesday tweet.

“So will all of this mean that, once the dust settles, Rep. Anthony Weiner is going to become … a sex symbol?!?” — Politico‘s Patrick Gavin in a Wednesday tweet.

“The one thing Anthony Weiner might be thankful for: SNL is off for the summer.” — MSNBC’s Courtney Hazlett in a Wednesday tweet.

“I can’t imagine a #weinergate scenario that is actually worse than what is happening for Rep. Weiner.” –  The Daily Caller‘s Jonathan Strong in a Wednesday night tweet.

Savannah prepares to say goodbye to Chuck

“Can’t believe it – only two more days w @chucktodd on @dailyrundown. We’ll see you for a packed show at 9a.” — NBC’s Savannah Guthrie in a Thursday morning tweet. She’s leaving “The Daily Rundown” with co-host Chuck Todd to move to the third hour of the “TODAY” show.

Look who’s jealous of Weiner!

“Rep. Weiner has increased his twitter followers by 11k. A pic that ‘started out’ of me in briefs will be tweeted shortly.” — Mediaite‘s Dan Abrams in a Wednesday night tweet.

Incest Desk Alert

Kurt Bardella just sent me a press release: ‘Darrell Issa to Elizabeth Warren: Clear your calendar’” — WSJ‘s Victoria McGrane in a Wednesday tweet. HuffPost Hill writes: “Feel like I fell through a worm hole.” (h/t to HuffPost Hill for this item.) In explanation: Bardella is the former and fired flack to Rep. Issa (R-Calif.).


The Daily Caller Stands Firm on Weiner Poll

Yesterday we brought you news of a Weiner Poll being conducted by The Daily Caller. The poll ran two pictures. One: the bulging male package in gray underpants. Two: Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) cropped at the waist. They asked readers to decide whether the picture tweeted to that 21-year-old female college student in Seattle is Weiner. Weiner, who initially said he was hacked, now calls the incident a “prank.”

A female journo who covers Capitol Hill wrote into FishbowlDC and asked,  “Are they serious? Would they ever get to run something like this of a female politician?”

Daily Caller Spokesman Kurt Bardella had this to say on the matter:  “1) Are you seriously asking us if we’re serious?  2) We would never run a photo-comparison of a female politician’s alleged weiner, whether or not she allegedly twittered it to someone else.  You have our word on that.”

See the poll here.

Irony Alert: Kurt Bardella Won’t Talk About Other Reporters

The Daily Caller‘s new spokesman Kurt Bardella is a busy man these days. First he gets fired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) after sneaking emails from reporters presumed to be from Politico to NYT scribe Mark Leibovich. Then he decides to keep a low profile for awhile and grants an interview to his hometown paper the  San Diego Union Tribune. He also somehow, ironically, gets his op-eds published in Politico, the newspaper that prompted his firing.

Just yesterday the publicist published his first op-ed for The Daily Caller. Observers noted the rarity of newspaper publicists also writing op-eds for their own publications. Bardella told FishbowlDC that this would be sporadic event.  “Obviously, my first priority and focus is on promoting The Daily Caller so I imagine it’ll be something I’ll try and do when time permits,” he told us yesterday.

Obviously. Except now we learn that he has granted an interview for another story about himself. This time to Luke Mullins of Washingtonian. The profile is slated for summer. Bardella insisted the theme was mostly “biographical” in nature. When we pushed on whether the story would touch on his dealings with Politico and bcc-ing those emails to Leibovich, Bardella said sharply, I’m not going to discuss my interactions with another reporter right now.” He said if readers were expecting a juicy tell-all that this will not be that.

We’ve heard the upcoming story will touch on the self-promotional culture of Washington D.C. while telling the story of how Bardella came to Washington and fell into a situation that burned him. The story will hit on Bardella switching sides from congressional flack to newspaper flack.

Somehow we think Bardella will be able to help Mullins on these fronts. Mullins had no comment on his story.

Bardella’s Own Publicity Picks Up

Kurt Bardella is moving along swiftly if not oddly at The Daily Caller. The guy who was fired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) some months ago has secured a new job as an online newspaper publicist and has now penned his first opinion piece. As some know, after Politico help him get canned after his alleged sneaking of reporter emails to NYT‘s Mark Leibovich, they, too, welcomed him with open arms into their opinion section fold. Bardella stresses to FishbowlDC that he will still handle publicity for The Daily Caller while writing the occasional op-ed. “Obviously, my first priority and focus is on promoting The Daily Caller so I imagine it’ll be something I’ll try and do when time permits,” he says.

So far so good. His  own publicity is picking up. This morning his first piece got picked up by Gawker and by ABC’s “The Note” and NBC’s “First Read” email roundup.

Bardella’s first op-ed for the publication concerns Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and her impact on the presidential landscape. The publicist/op-ed writer says Bachmann won’t win. But he insists she can have great influence. He writes, “As long as her candidacy doesn’t completely implode, her very presence in the Republican field creates dangers for the more established candidates regardless of whether she wins or loses.”

Read the full story here.

Questionable Aggregating Turns Heads

On Saturday, Politico published a story by Patrick Gavin on Publicity Guru Tammy Haddad‘s famous brunch. Then on Sunday, The Daily Caller, which had no presence at the WHCD, saw fit to reprint the exact same story with an identical headline and Gavin’s byline, making a reader wonder if Gavin had suddenly jumped ship for the newer publication.

He didn’t. The Daily Caller reprinted the story under “fair use” rules with “Politico” next to Gavin’s name. The DC story linked to Politico‘s story saying, “Full story,” except it was the same “full” story minus one blind quip from a reporter at the end.

The Headlines…


The Daily Caller: Sarah Palin turns heads at Tammy Haddad’s brunch
By Patrick Gavin – Politico | Published: 1:46 PM 05/01/2011

See Politico‘s original version. See The Daily Caller‘s reprinting here.

We’ve reached out to The Daily Caller Publicist Kurt Bardella for comment. So far he has nothing to say on the matter.


Daily Caller and ATR Bask in Breitbart

Apparently Ann Coulter isn’t the only one who sends her book covers to Matt Drudge for approval.

Last night, at a party for Andrew Breitbart‘s new book “Righteous Indignation” hosted by The Daily Caller and Americans for Tax Reform, Breitbart admitted to doing the same.

Drudge told Breitbart he looked “like [he] went 10 rounds and won.” He also sought the advice of former Daily Caller columnist S.E. Cupp of, who said, “You look like Rip Torn when he got caught with his D.U.I.”

In brief speeches at the soiree, ATR’s Chris Butler said the book was “wonderful” and that he’d “devoured it,” while Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson called the night an “opportunity to bask in the glory of Andrew Breitbart.”

Breitbart then took the mic. Some of the best quotes:

  • After cursing a few times: “My enemies are those who wouldn’t allow these expletives at a conservative party.” Carlson shouted “Fuck yeah!”
  • “I know you’re supposed to be polite in this town.”
  • MSNBC’s Martin Bashir “planted the seed of suicide in Michael Jackson‘s head.”

The party, at ATR’s downtown office, featured an open bar and free copies of Breitbart’s book, which he signed: “Fight the man!”

Among the hundreds of guests: Politico‘s Mike Allen, HuffPost‘s Jon Ward, Weekly Standard‘s Stephen F. Hayes, Republican pollster and CNN contributor Kellyanne Conway, NMS’ and formerly Washington Examiner‘s J.P. Freire, Cullen Murphy of the Atlantic, Human EventsJason Mattera, Tony Blankley, CNN contributor Amy Holmes, recent Daily Caller hires Ginny Thomas and Publicist Kurt Bardella, ATR’s Grover Norquist, and Washington Examiner‘s Byron York, Tim Carney, and “Yeas & Nays” columnist Nikki Schwab. Also in attendance were TWT’s Liz Glover and Wonkette‘s Riley Waggaman, who were hoping to speak with Breitbart about the recent Wonkette controversy over a story the site published mocking Trig Palin.

We hope they made it home safely.

UPDATE: Waggaman emailed to clarify that Glover was there representing TWT, not Wonkette, and that her editors had other questions for her to ask Breitbart. He also said he had no plan to ask Breitbart about the Wonkette story. “When I am at an event with Breitbart, my primary objective is to get a silly photo with him, or maybe even let him squeeze my ass,” he wrote.

Daily Caller Hires Bardella as Comm. Director

When one door closes another opens.

Kurt Bardella has been hired to be the communications director for The Daily Caller. This comes on the heels of the former House Republican aide getting fired by House Oversight Government Reform Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) last month after Politico implored him to investigate the aide for sneaking emails, allegedly from Politico reporters, to NYT scribe Mark Leibovich.

In a statement, Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson said: “Kurt’s talent, energy and experience will be an instrumental part of the Daily Caller’s evolution from start-up to news staple. As we turn our focus towards covering the 2012 election cycle, Kurt is the first of many new hires we expect to announce in the near future.”

Bardella moves fast. In that same release, he boasts about The Daily Caller, saying, “In a short amount of time, the Daily Caller has already surpassed the online presence of conservative staples such as the Weekly Standard and National Review. With the 2012 election cycle already taking shape, there are tremendous opportunities for the Daily Caller to continue to expand their brand and I look forward to working with them to do that.”

We trust those op-ed pieces that Bardella has been penning for Politico will finally cease.

Congratulations to Bardella.

Bardella Weighs Future Job Options

That was fast.

Kurt Bardella, the press aide fired by House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) last week, is contemplating various offers from major publicity shops that he has received around town. Politico broke the story of Bardella leaking emails to NYT‘s Mark Leibovich, prompting Editor-in-Chief John Harris to send a letter to Issa to address the matter, which he did by letting the aide go.

In the meantime, Bardella is heading to California for some R & R before he plunges back into the D.C. media scene. He grew up on the relaxing beaches of San Diego.

Politico’s Press Sec. Code of Conduct: Hypocritical?

L to R: Reines, Harris, Bardella

Earlier this week, Politico‘s John Harris told FishbowlDC that Kurt Bardella‘s practice of sharing other reporters’ emails with Mark Leibovich of the New York Times was “intolerable” and “improper.”  Bardella, the 27-year-old press secretary for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), has since been fired.  His dismissal was due in large part to a string of stories, published by Politico, about his sharing of information for Leibovich’s new book.

“I do not know if Politico e-mails were shared. Some of what we learned in the course of reporting raised the possibility that they might have been. If so, this would be intolerable to me, as I assume it would be to any editor whose reporters routinely interact with public officials and the people who represent them,” explained Harris.

Curiously, this ‘press secretary code of conduct’ didn’t seem to apply to Philippe Reines in June 2008 when Politico published and mocked an email sent to the spokesman for then-Senator Hillary Clinton, by a reporter from The Hill newspaper:

We hear The Hill wants to know more about Philippe Reines’ hilarious oped in yesterday’s WSJ, where he drums up more inane ways for the airlines to charge its customers.

Specifically, the pub is interested in the answers to these questions:

-Why did you decide to write this piece?

-Is this the first editorial you’ve had published?

-Do you have any other experience — beyond what you state in your piece about your frequent travel during your boss’ presidential campaign — that would qualify you as an expert in the airline industry?

-It’s unusual for a press secretary to state his or her own policy position on an important issue such as aviation. Are you considering a run for office? If not, are you feeling limelight withdrawal?

Limelight withdrawal?

Recall that HRC’s office – for which Reines is a “senior advisor” –  has been having Hill issues as of late and has since cancelled its subscription. And so Reines didn’t trust himself to answer the email without using foul language, so he asked us to answer for him, along with the help of outside experts.

Politico went on to provide faux answers to The Hill‘s list of questions for Reines.  Sure, the reporter’s email didn’t contain any breaking news or confidential information…but doesn’t it seem just the least bit hypocritical?